Happy Friday Saturday and welcome to today’s Shelf Control feature post. As you know, I usually post these on a Friday. However, I made a mistake in planning as I was out with friends on Friday night. I had most of the post drafted, but I didn’t get home till after midnight. Needless to say, I wrote off trying to finish and share the post!
In today’s belated Shelf Control, I feature a YA fantasy novel I intended to read in September last year, but didn’t get around to it. Before we get into the details, let’s recap what my Shelf Control feature is all about.
Shelf Control is a regular feature – a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!
If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
I don’t read much young adult fantasy, but I really like the premise of the book. There are elements of danger, mystery and intrigue to unravel! The book has it’s own magic system, whixh I’m looking forward to exploring.
Being the length it is, I think this will also make a great book as a palette cleanser. It’s long enough to establish a world and some details to get immersed in, but short enough to avoid being dense.
It’s also good to branch out and read books for a slightly different audience once in a while. Whilst I don’t read a lot of YA, I have enjoyed a number of books that fall into this category before.
That’s all for today’s Shelf Control post. Have you read Everless?Would you recommend it?
Happy Wednesday readers! I’m back with another book review today. I’ve been taking the time to review the Harry Potter books after my re-read of the series in 2021/2022. Today’s review is for the final, and my favourite book of the of series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
If you want to read up on my reviews of the earlier books in the series, you can find links to those posts below.
Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him…
In this final, seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling unveils in spectacular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is by far my favourite book in the series. We get to see al the plot threads that have been unveiled and unraveling for some time finally come together. I also enjoy hope this book follows on nicely from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in that its content is more mature than the previous books. There isn’t a happy ending for everybody! I think the plot, through either the books or films, is well enough known that I’m not really spoiling anything here…
I also enjoy how this final book deviates from the typical structure we have seen throughout the rest of the series. The rest of the books are written with the narrative starting in the summer holidays, progressing through the school terms, and then wrapping up at the end of the school year. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we almost completely break away from that.
There are some twists in the plot that I didn’t necessarily expect the first time I read the books. Naturally, with this being a re-read of the series, nothing surprised me the second time. However, I was able to more appreciate the set up and execution of them. There are some plot threads that begin in the very early books in the series. It will have taken some planning in order to incorporate these elements throughout the series and finally bring them to a close towards the end. I really appreciated those this time around.
Throughout the series, the Harry Potter books have been easy to read. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is no exception to that rule. In this final book, the narrative deals with a lot of plot threads that initially float around before coming together throughout the book. Even though there are quite a lot of unresolved conflicts and such to juggle and wrap up, this isn’t overwhelming. There are gradual revelations and resolutions throughout the book. It’s almost gives a sense of gratification that the ending isn’t being rushed and helps to pace the novel nicely.
As I mentioned briefly above, the structure of this book changes quite significantly to that we have experienced earlier. That has to happen in order for the story to progress as it does. That could be a challenge if you are expecting the same format. However, not only did I find it easy to follow, but I actually preferred that it broke away from that. It was getting slightly repetitive; had it gone on for much longer then I would start to get bored with it. Moving away from the structure means that instead of working towards an epic conclusion at the end, the author was able to intersperse more throughout the novel in a more paced way. Don’t worry, there is still an epic conclusion as well!
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we finally see the battle lines drawn, and we know who sides with who.
In terms of active characters throughout the plot line, this is very similar to the penultimate book of the series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. There are a good number of individuals that stand out in these books and we have grown to love them throughout the series. There aren’t really any surprises as to who stands out from the crowd, and we finally get to see these people shine.
As with all good writers, the author hasn’t pulled her punches in this book. Although I knew what to expect reading this for the second time, reading the events, and the impact on characters lives, still hit me just as hard as it did the first time.
I would recommend the Harry Potter series to pretty much anybody. They are the perfect mix of fantasy and magic that are approachable to anybody, regardless of your experience of the genre. They are books to grow with over time. The early series is relatively juvenile in size and complexity, but not in such a way that it feels oversimplified to an adult reader. This series progresses and we get more complexity and darker themes as the story expands into the later novels.
I grew up reading this series and appreciated these books even when I read them the first time. Going back and picking them up for a second time was just as enjoyable an experience as the first. I’m pretty sure I will go back and read them again at some point later in my life. I have a friend who could read these books on loop and not get bored!
Have you read any books from the Harry Potter series? Let me know in the comments.
I’m back with another book review and I’m picking up where I left off in the Harry Potter series. Today’s review is for the penultimate book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling!
I first read the Harry Potter books as a teenager, into early adulthood. I wanted to see how reading the books again from a more mature perspective affected the overall experience. Obviously, I hoped to enjoy them just as much second time, and I did!
If you want to catch up with my reviews of the earlier books in the series, you can find links to those posts below.
It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys’ house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can’t quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys’ of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks’ time? Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine…
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the book in the series from where I would suggest the series transitions from children’s to young adult. Technically, I think the books are classified as young adult, however, the previous books in the series are definitely readable by children to young teens. The themes in it are generally more mature, and as the storyline takes a more sinister turn, there are characters and events that take place that I wouldn’t recommend to a younger teenager. I read this book at around the mid to late teenage. I wouldn’t have read it any sooner.
In a way, I think the formatting and the length of the previous book in the series helps with the timing of picking this up. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a very large book. Whilst not as dark as this one, the length and the political machinations within require a bit more thought and concentration in the reading of it. As a result, I think naturally readers will progress with the series at a more mature age.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are by far my favourite books in the series. I enjoy how some of the very early plot threads (which are largely unknown at the time) start to come together and make sense at last. Others are resolved or at least explained in full. The magic involved has a degree of complication that the earlier books lack, and I really enjoyed exploring that aspect. It almost feels as if we have graduated with the characters in mastering the basics to be able to take on the more complex.
As with all of the Harry Potter books in the series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince remains easy to read. There are lots of webs and elements of the storyline in which there is complexity, but the writing style is kept simple. This works as it doesn’t detract from the storyline as the main focus.
The pacing of the book is perfect to the events that are taking place. Whereas in previous books, we have had the structure of Harry spending summer with the Dursley’s current followed by the school year. That is switched up a little bit in this book. Instead, we are thrown into the action quite quickly. This previous structure was familiar, but a little bit formulaic and repetitive if I had to make one criticism. I was glad to see things pan out a little differently in this book.
The character pool in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is thinned a little in comparison to the previous book. However, there are a lot more players on the board compared to the opening books in the series. By now, a lot of them are old friends. Readers of fantasy won’t struggle with this at all. I wouldn’t even say I struggled with this as a late teenager. If there was any book I had difficulty with following what was going on, it was the previous book. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince reins it back in to a manageable level.
At this stage of the series, we have a wide range of characters that we love, and those we hate in equal measure. In a book and series like this, you need the broad spectrum of characters; J. K. Rowling does not disappoint in providing these. The events in this book line us up for the final showdown. The lines are drawn. Good and evil will come together to do battle, and by the end of the book, we know who is on which side.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is an exciting read. It was satisfying to see some of the opening plotlines start to come towards a resolution. I also enjoyed the dark side of the narrative and exploring the dark side of magic that we get to in this book, as well as the last.
Have you read any books from the Harry Potter series? Have you re-read it? Let me know in the comments.
Good evening and welcome to my wrap-up post for February 2023! I set myself a lofty goal for February, which equated to attempting to read around 107 pages a day.
This was ambitious and I’m not surprised that I haven’t achieved it. However, I am really happy with the reading progress I’ve made. I’ve picked up the majority of the books I set out to, and I have read books from a diverse range of authors in line with it being Black History Month!
Let’s take a look at the books I picked up throughout the month!
The Chimp Paradox
When I drafted my monthly wrap-up post for January, I was 72% into The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. If you want to know my feelings on the book, then it’s probably best to go and check out that post. In short, I decided to whip through to the end of this book relatively quickly. This last little push on progress didn’t take too long and I swiftly moved on to my February TBR!
The House of Fortune
Next, I picked up the last book I had hoped to read in January. I picked up a copy of The House of Fortune from my local library.
Having read mixed reviews on the book, I didn’t want to commit to buying a copy if I didn’t enjoy it all that much. As it happens, this was a fairly decent read. I didn’t enjoy all of the characters individually, but the overall story comes together really well. I managed to read and return my copy to the library in just over a week. Not bad going really!
For my next read, I decided to change pace and genre completely.
Illuminae is written in a mixed media format. The story is told through messaging exchanges between characters, as well as interviews, logs, and other mixed written accounts. If you are a fan of books written in this style, such as The Appeal by Janice Hallett, then this will definitely suit you. I enjoyed the sci-fi setting in combination with this writing style. The different ways in which events are recounted really fit in with the storyline and the events that take place.
Although Illuminae is one of the longer books on my February TBR, it didn’t take that long to read. It being written in the style it was made it really easy to digest, and, in some cases, the word count per page is a lot less than you’d expect if you were reading traditional prose.
In my next read, I change genre and pace yet again. Going back to a more traditional written format, I picked up a memoir by Michelle Obama – her first book called Becoming.
Becoming was the perfect book to read in fitting with this month’s theme of black history month, and also ticking a box towards my goal of reading more non-fiction. It also turned out to be a brilliant read. Although I’m not overly invested or interested in politics, I felt that Becoming struck the right balance of incorporating the struggles Michelle and Barack experienced in the early chapters of their life, up until their days in the White House. This book is not really political and doesn’t push too much of an agenda.
I expected to enjoy it, but I thought it was going to be more political. I’m glad that it wasn’t as it suited me perfectly.
The Rise of the Dragon
I went back to a favourite world in picking up The Rise of the Dragon by George R.R. Martin. I was very lucky to receive a copy of this book as an early birthday present, and it was only fitting I read it this month. The Rise of the Dragon covers the early history of the Targaryens, but in a way that is approachable to all readers. I have read Fire and Blood, the first detailed book of the Targaryen history. This is written more like a chronicle, with a lot of information, analysis and opinion.
That’s absolutely fine if you enjoy that style and are a big fan of the series. However, if you want an overview of the history and the events that run up to the main series (or the history featured in the TV spin off – House of the Dragon), then The Rise of the Dragon is better suited. It is also full of beautiful and detailed illustrations. I really enjoyed going through these as I was reading the stories and enjoying the varied artistry styles.
My last read of the month is my current read, Africa Risen. This is a short story anthology, featuring speculative fiction written by black authors. This book is my book club read with Ezeekat’s book club. Whilst I haven’t completed the book in time for the end of the month, I can still offer some feedback on what I’ve read so far.
I am enjoying this collection of short stories. There are similar themes throughout these tales which are from a completely different perspective I never thought of before. There are some more obvious themes, including identity, racism, slavery, and mistreatment. But there are plenty others. For example, water features repeatedly in the stories in a completely different way to western novels. Whereas in the latter, it is a very basic, mundane and uninteresting element, that is not the case in the stories. Water is revered as life-giving, revitalising, and something special.
To a society that has an abundance of it, there is definitely a completely different attitude to it. And that’s something I’ve never thought of before, even though it is obvious in hindsight.
As of this monthly wrap-up post, I am 68% through Africa Risen. I’m hoping to finish this book very soon; my intention is to finish it within the next day or two, so then I can move onto my March TBR!
None to report this month!
I had hoped to pick up another couple of books throughout the month.
The first of these two as a relatively short book at just under 300 pages – The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean. I’ve been looking to pick up this book for a couple of months, and I was hoping it was going to be a good and short palate cleanser to help keep momentum going. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get to this one. However, I would like to try and pick it up soon.
The second book on my list is a fairly recent acquisition – In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Aketstrom. I would have been extremely happy if I’d made it to the end of the month having started the book. It’s obviously not quite panned out the way I had hoped, but never mind! I have still read plenty throughout the month and pushed myself to do so, whilst still balancing my time. That was what I set out to do.
That’s *all* for today’s monthly wrap-up post for February.
Have you read any of the books featured in this post? What have you been reading?
Happy Sunday and welcome to my weekly catch up post – aka my Sunday Summary! I hope you’ve had a fantastic week, wherever you are and whatever you have been up to.
The first blog post I shared this week was my book review post for Harry Potter and the Oder of the Phoenix. I completed a re-read of the Harry Potter series between 2021 and 2022. In this review series, I discussed my overall thoughts on the book, but also how the reading experience compares between reading them as a teenager, and again as an adult.
On Wednesday, I shared another post in my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! In this week’s post, I shared a short, 16 minute podcast I listened to recently, which introduced me to genre of books I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up myself. I may have even added a couple to my reading list…
On Friday, I shared a First Lines Friday post. For this week’s feature, I decided to share a book that I attempted to read in 2018, but ultimately DNF’d. It wasn’t through any fault of the book. I was trying to read a large epic fantasy at a time when it wasn’t suiting me. I initially put it down with a view to it being a temporary arrangement. However, to date, I haven’t gone back to the book. If you want to find out what that feature is, you can find a link to the post above.
Picking up from where we left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I continued with my read of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. As of that update post, I was 123 pages into this nearly 600-pager.
I went on to finish reading this book this week. Although it is quite a long one, it is written in a form of mixed media. Not only does that make it more interesting and break up the narrative, but it also means that there are pages within the book that are very easy to read as there isn’t so much content on them as a standard prosaic narrative.
I really enjoyed Illuminae. The story line is compelling, the way in which the story is told is unusual, if not unique, and I enjoyed the characters in the book. I can’t wait to continue reading the series.
Next, I moved on to my current read, Becoming by Michelle Obama. I have had this book on my shelf to pick up for some time. With it being black history month, I decided to read it this month with that theme in mind. It also contributes towards my reading goal for the year to pick up more non-fiction.
I am currently just over 80 pages in and also enjoying this one. I am not a big lover of politics. However, Becoming is not proving to be political – at least so far. In the 80 pages I’ve read, I’ve already learned a lot about Michelle’s younger years, and also the adversity she experienced growing up. It is one thing to know that the colour of your skin has historically made a big impact on what opportunities you get in life. It is another to live and breathe it through this kind of narrative. In lots of little ways, the lives of people like Michelle Obama could have been a lot worse. However, she has already proven to have grit and determination. That definitely comes through in her book, and I can’t wait to read more of her experiences.
As a result of listening to the podcast I featured in my post, Well, I Didn’t Know That!, I added two books to my reading list this week.
These fall under the genre of business books. It’s not something I would have expected myself to pick up. However, the business book featured in that podcast are as a result of being shortlisted entries in the Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year award. If there are any business books that are going to be worth picking up, it will be these ones!
Both of these books sound interesting and I’m willing to give them a try.
My first blog post of the week is going to be Wednesday’s feature, Well, I Didn’t Know That! I would normally share a post on Tuesday. However, with being a little bit behind in reading progress for the month, I’m going to give myself a night off to try and get back on track. I’m not hugely behind, but I don’t want to fall behind even further. Plus, I am going to be sharing three blog posts throughout the week next week. That’s more than enough to keep you going.
On Friday, I will be back with a Shelf Control feature post. This week, I feature a classic novel which I would like to try, even though it’s not my usual cup of tea.
My final post of the week will be a Sunday Summary update. As usual, I’ll share with you what reading progress I’ve made throughout the week, any books I’ve added to my reading list, and what I will be sharing on my blog in the next week.
For now though, that is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post. Have a wonderful week and I will see you around soon!
Today’s book review is about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling.
I originally read these books growing up as a teenager. However, I decided to pick them up again in 2021 and read them through into the beginning of 2022. I loved this series as a teenager, but I wanted to see how my experience of the series, compared from a more mature perspective.
The reviews I have shared to date based on my experience of reading the books more recently. If you want to catch up with my reviews of the earlier books in the series, you can find links to those posts, here.
Harry Potter is about to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unlike most schoolboys, Harry never enjoys his summer holidays, but this summer is even worse than usual. The Dursleys, of course, are making his life a misery, but even his best friends, Ron and Hermione, seem to be neglecting him.
Harry has had enough. He is beginning to think he must do something, anything, to change his situation, when the summer holidays come to an end in a very dramatic fashion. What Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his world upside down…
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the chunkiest book in the series. There is a lot going on in this particular book. Despite its size, I still found it easy and entertaining to read as a teenager. However, if I’m honest, I don’t think I fully appreciated the political elements of the storyline until my re-read.
In previous books, we have had tasters of the more intricate and sinister elements of the plot line. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we see these machinations take centre stage.
I love the little books in the series. Although the earlier books are nice and lighthearted, I prefer the depth and grittiness of the narrative that comes with the threat of “he who must not be named”. With this, we get to see more morally ambiguous characters and events, but most importantly, it adds excitement and fear to what would otherwise be a fairly basic storyline.
Even though Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a long book to read, it isn’t difficult. As in previous books, the narrative style is consistent and easy to follow. Even as a young reader, I didn’t struggle to keep up with what was going on. in my opinion, the writing style is just at that balance of being readable by a younger audience, but also appeal to the older.
If you enjoy fantasy with a little bit more depth, then stick around for these later books. Not only do we see a lot more in the way of developing the history of the world and magic as a whole, but there are a lot more parts at play that contribute to a wider narrative. As a fan of epic fantasy as an adult, I have a distinct preference for the later books in the series. Don’t get me wrong, the earlier books set down a good foundation. However, in my opinion, they are definitely for the younger reader.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix introduces one of the characters I hate most in literature – Professor Umbridge. If I were to describe this character to you frankly and honestly, then this post wouldn’t be suitable for reading by a younger audience. And to put it mildly, she is an awful woman. Equally, the fact that J. K. Rowling can write a character who invokes such emotions says a lot!
I feel likeHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix introduces far more characters than any of the books to date. Through this book, we start to expand our knowledge of the wizarding world, and the bigger parts at play, rather than just sticking to Hogwarts and a small exclusive setting.
If there is a book in which you could get lost with the amount of characters bouncing round, it’s going to be this one. As a teenager, I probably didn’t follow all of this as best I could. As an adult, that definitely got easier. But, I’m a lot more experienced now in reading epic fantasy with complex worlds and lots of characters! This isn’t to say I don’t think anyone shouldn’t tackle the book at that age, but it’s just something to bear in mind.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one of my favourite books in the series. As a fan of complex worlds, the darker plot line and opportunities for strong character development, this book appeals in so many ways.
If there is any book in the series that I think I benefited most from reading again as an adult, I would say it is this one. There is a lot going on and I probably didn’t Pick up on all of it as a younger reader!
Have you read any books from the Harry Potter series? Have you re-read it? Let me know in the comments.
In today’s Sunday Summary post, I have lots of blogging and bookish updates for you!
The first blog post I shared this week was my monthly wrap-up for January 2023. I would normally share this post on or around the first day of the following month. However, this month the first fell on a Wednesday. As I have recently started a series that I share every Wednesday, I didn’t want to conflict with that. As a result, I drafted most of my post ahead of time, adding a few last-minute updates, before the post went live on Tuesday. If you want to find out what I have been reading throughout the month of January, check out that post.
On Wednesday, I shared the aforementioned feature for my new series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! In this week’s post, I shared an article that introduced me to a book I wouldn’t have discovered elsewhere.
On Friday, I shared my planned TBR for February. Even though it is the shortest month of the year, I am not cutting myself any slack. I have set myself an ambitious list of seven books that I would like to get through this month. If you want to take a look at those, check out my February TBR post. Some of the books mentioned in that post are going to feature below in this week’s reading progress update.
I don’t quite know how I managed it, but I’ve read in the region of 780 pages this week!
The Chimp Paradox
As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was just over a quarter of the way through The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. I had decided to pick up this book as it interested me from a psychology point of view. Not only that, but I was hoping it will be able to teach me some ways in which I can help manage my metaphorical chimp.
In last week’s update, I did voice some gripes about the book. Those didn’t change throughout my reading experience, so it wasn’t the best read I’ve ever picked up. To summarise, the psychology is very simplified, I wasn’t a fan of the condescending tone, and whilst it did give me some useful information, I would say it was limited. This turned out to be a mediocre three-star rated read.
The House of Fortune
Next, I picked up the last book I intended to read in January, The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton. This book is the sequel to The Miniaturist, which I read around about this time in 2018. I confess that I had to remind myself of the characters in the first book in order for things to slot into place for the second one. Where the first book focuses on Nella as the main character, for the second book, we effectively move on a generation; Thea Brandt is the focus of the storyline.
I didn’t like Thea as a main character. For an 18-year-old who has lived a fairly sheltered life, she really does think she knows it all. Not only that, but her character is very different throughout the narrative – at times, she is headstrong and bold, and yet in other parts, she wallows away in her bedroom for a month because something happens that she doesn’t like. It didn’t seem consistent. I’m also a bit disappointed that a female author could do the disservice of creating a female character that could be this pathetic.
Small gripes aside, The House of Fortune was a decent read overall. This also ended up being a three star rating.
This morning I moved on to my current read, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. So far, I am 123 pages into this book. I am already loving it! The target audience for this one is a little bit younger than I am, but the characters are still enjoyable from an adult perspective. The main selling point for this book is that it is written in mixed media. The story is told through messages between characters, interviews and such like. I really enjoyed this when I picked up The Appeal by Janice Hallett last year. Illuminae is different from The Appeal in that it is a kind of mystery in a sci-fi setting… but so far, it’s really working and proving really easy to read. I read the 123 pages towards my current progress just this morning!
If you check out my Wednesday feature post, Well, I Didn’t Know That!, you will know that I have added a book to my reading list this week.
I have decided to add Deep Wheel Orcadia to my reading list as it is a completely new concept to me. If you are not familiar with this book, it is a sci-fi. That is not what makes it unique though. It is unusual in that it is the first complete book to have been written in Orcadian Scots for over 50 years. It does have English translation, in case you are interested in the story but are not bothered by the language element. Personally, I am intrigued by it, and I can’t wait to pick it up!
My first blog post of next week is going to be a book review. This week, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on the next book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I re-read these books in 2021 and 2022 with a view to comparing my experience of reading them as a teenager versus an adult. I have reviewed a number of the books in the series so far, and this is the fifth instalment.
On Wednesday, I will be sharing my next post in my new feature, Well, I Didn’t Know That! If I am entirely honest, I am still deciding on the feature of this post. That’s why I’m not disclosing any more information at this time.
On Friday, I will be back with a First Lines Friday feature. Seeing as how my last post (and the novel way I planned to pick the featured book) didn’t go to plan, I’m not going to christen it this time. Instead, I will share how I went about it in that post.
As always, I will be back with another Sunday Summary update to catch you up on what I’ve been reading and what I have shared throughout the week!
For now though, that is all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post. Have a wonderful evening and week and I’ll catch you in the next one.
Hello everybody, and welcome to today’s book review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling.
I re-read the Harry Potter series in 2021/2022. It had been a long time since I read the series – in the case of the earlier books, I started those as a young teenager and read the series over the course of around six years. I wanted to revisit the books to see if my experience and perception of them changed by reading them as an adult.
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 and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can’t know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable …With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has an interesting plot line. That’s not to say I don’t think it has its flaws, however. Installing a magical cup in the school and inviting those who think they are adept enough to take part in a dangerous tournament is one thing. Doing so around a community full of minors, well, can only go wrong somewhere. Especially when entering your name is a legally binding contract. It’s all a bit too convenient that Harry finds his name put forward.
Despite this, it still makes for an interesting read. In particular, the tournament itself adds a lot of drama and action to the narrative. Its dramatic conclusion also adds to the book and the series as a whole. I’m not going to spoil it for you-you’ll have to read it yourself.
What I like about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is that we, break away from a narrative almost purely set in the usual school year cycle. We see wider plot development. We still have that familiarity of the school year, which comes to a conclusion with the Triwizard tournament. However, there is a lot more to this book, and plenty of it is quite sinister.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we are introduced to characters that come into this world and plot line later on. I would argue that in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we start to see this take shape.
Despite being significantly larger than its predecessors, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire still retains the easy narrative style readers can come to expect.
You know me, I’m not one to shy away from a chunky book. I really hope that the length of this book doesn’t put potential readers off. It is not complicated. Even if you are less enthused by big narratives with wider story arcs, and lots of elements that will inevitably come together at the end, there isn’t so much going on that it will confuse you. Equally, there are little bits and pieces you can pick up in hindsight that hint to what happens later on.
Personally, I think the latter part of the series is quite well balanced in that it offers a little bit more than the first few books in the series (which are for the most part, comparatively superficial). This works perfectly well for people like me who grew up reading these books. At age 11, I wouldn’t have the reading capability to be able to take on these later tomes. Even so, going back and reading these later on has made me appreciate the later books in the series even more. They are more similar to my reading taste a an adult.
As with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we see a full new complement of characters introduced in this fourth book of the series. Some of these have a direct impact on the story, whereas others set the scene (for later books) and help develop the wizarding world in which these books are set.
I am a huge fan of world-building and the depth of detail that can be explored in these kind of books that fill out the whole story. Knowing everything from relatives of the main characters, down to the sports personalities, all comes together to make an immersive reading experience.
There are also a few introductions which will help us later in the series (particularly for the next book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). I think this is pulled off very well so as to not overwhelm, but it does make a difference when you read the next book. Understanding who everybody is and what their role is ahead of time is a big help! Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix is the chunkiest book in the series by far. If we’d had to go through all those introductions in that book as well, then it would be significantly larger!
Despite the slightly convenient plot line, I rated Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire five stars. If you enjoy fantasy series with darker elements to the story, or broad, overarching story lines that run throughout a series, stick with this one until you’ve read this fourth book. It’s at this point we really start to see this woven into the storyline.
Have you read any books from the Harry Potter series? Have you re-read it? Let me know in the comments.
Hello all welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post!
For today’s post, I have been thinking about one of my reading goals for next year. I am conscious of the fact that I have a lot of ongoing book series at the moment. I want to reduce the number I’m reading at any one time. With that in mind, today’s featured book is a sequel to a series I started several years ago now.
Since reading that first book, I haven’t read or heard much of what the sequel is like. However, I really enjoyed the first book and so I want to give it a go anyway. If I enjoy as much as the first book, then there are more books to the series I can continue with. If not, then this is a series I can write off as one I’m not going to complete.
Would you like to read today’s featured introduction?
I try not to think of him.
But when I do, I hear the tides.
Baba was with me the first time I heard them.
The first time I felt them.
They called out to me like a lullaby, leading us away from the forest path and toward the sea. The ocean breeze ruffled the loose coils in my hair. Rays of sun spilled through the thinning leaves.
I didn’t know what we would find. What strange wonder that lullaby would hold. I just knew I had to get to it. It was like the tides held a missing piece of my soul.
After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.
Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.
With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.
I read the first book of the series, Children of Blood and Bone, back in April 2018. That is obviously a long time ago now, so the finer points of the plot our way back down in the depths of my brain. I am sure that when I pick up Children of Virtue and Vengeance, the pivotable aspects of the plot will come back to me. I am in a position where I have also reviewed the Children of Blood and Bone, I can always go back to that to get the gist of my thoughts.
I remember really enjoying this fantasy story, even though it is aimed at a younger audience than I. Based on the synopsis of today’s feature, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, there are aspects of conflict and politics that should come together to create the conflict in this book. Where this may surpass the first book is that I’m looking forward to seeing how the role of magic affects the events and dynamic of the book. These are aspects I really enjoy in my fantasy, so I’m optimistic that this book will also be a hit for me.
I’m really excited to dive into this series once again. Have you read Children of Blood and Bone or any other books by Tomi Adeyemi? If so, I’d love to know what you think!
Earlier this year I completed my re-read of the Harry Potter series. Now that I’ve made it through the books again, I’m making the effort to pin down my thoughts. Wher I can, I’ll consider my experience of the books compared to my initial read as a teenager. Before going into today’s review, if you would like to catch up with my reviews of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, here are the links to do so.
Today I am reviewing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If you are unfamiliar, this is the third book in the seven-part series. This is the book in which the plot really starts to hint at the metamorphosis the series will undergo later on, whilst still short and digestible for younger readers.
The plot has a darker element to the narrative, and some of the more sinister characters start to introduce themselves properly. The early books are quite lighthearted in introducing you to the wizarding world. By the time you’re done with the series, you have explored its darkest avenues.
I grew up with these books (literally). I started the early ones in my late childhood/early teenage years and read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as an adult. This is something I have really come to enjoy in the series.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban takes on a different tone compared with the first two books of the series. With a whole school year to pack into 300+ pages, you will not be bored making your way through this one. Whilst we are familiar with the school year and structure at this point, there are new and different things happening that keep the narrative fresh.
As I mentioned above, the more sinister aspects of the narrative really worked for me. Reviewing this in hindsight from the position of having read the whole series, this is one of the pivotal books in my opinion. Whilst short and sweet, it introduces characters such as the dementors, who go on to have a more significant role later on in the series.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a quick read. As this book is one of the last shorter ones of the series, it is still very approachable for the everyday reader. I managed to re-read this book in just over a week. And that is a very casual pace for me! Whether you are reading this book for the very first time or like me, going back into the series again, I don’t think it will disappoint. Even though the theme of the book is a shade darker than the previous two books of the series, it doesn’t detract from its readability whatsoever.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we experience the narrative through the perspective of Harry Potter himself. Along the way our friends old and new. It is in this book that we are introduced to characters who are pivotal to the story later on in the book series.
The mix of familiarity combined with a touch of new makes the pace and introductions to new characters easy to follow. If there’s one thing I like about these books is that there aren’t so many characters that you can’t keep track. As somebody who read a lot of epic fantasy, this is something I find happens a lot. That is not the case in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
I really enjoyed my re-read of this book and the whole series!
Have you picked up Harry Potter for yourself? Is this something you want to read?