“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling

dh-us-jacket-artI wrapped this book up a few days ago and have been meaning to post about it. It took a little shy of two years, but I reread the series! It definitely sped up near the end when I started utilizing my access to audiobooks though. Plus there was a pretty sizeable gap near “Prisoner of Azkaban” where I just didn’t touch these books.

I forgot how in this book most of the action happens in the second half. Then again, it’s more than 750 pages, so half the book is like a regular book elsewhere. But when I was reading I kept thinking of all the things that I knew were going to happen but hadn’t happened yet and it made me realize, this book is LONG.

Just so you know, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is not a good airplane read. I tried it and my hands started aching from trying to hold it up. So stick to your paperbacks and make sure they’re less than 750+ pages.

As always, I’m amazed at J.K. Rowling and her ability to create this world and all the things and people in it. It just comes off as effortless. I’ve ready way too many books where the author tries to force characters into relationships or gives them dialogue that just seems super forced and rushed for where that character is in the story. There’s none of that here. This book could be a biography for the way it flows and the depth of character it brings. I just love Harry Potter and I just love J.K. Rowling.

Side note. I went on a cruise to the Bahamas a couple weeks ago and I very nearly won Harry Potter trivia. I got 19/20 questions correct and had to go head-to-head against four other Harry Potter nerds. Unfortunately I was bested because someone else was able to answer what James Potter’s wand was made of, but it was truly a highlight of the trip.

Anyway, I just started “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” by Jenny Lawson. I got this book for Christmas and I have been looking forward to reading it. I’m only about three chapters in, but it is hilarious. I am excited about this book.

I also started the audiobook of “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” by W. Bruce Cameron because I saw the movie and it was adorable, but I just don’t know if I can get into this book. I’m on chapter three or four and it just feels like it’s dragging. Maybe it’s the person reading the audiobook, or maybe it’s the book. Either way, I’m just not sure I’ll make it through this book. Even though I want to because the dog in the movie was beautiful and I want to keep him forever.

Until next time,
Maegan

“The Crown” by Kiera Cass

The_Crown_CoverI finished this one a couple days ago while I was on vacation. Mind you, it’s not a very great beach read. But it did the trick.

I was super excited to read this book and the one before, “The Heir,” because I had never read them and they rounded out the Selection series. Lo and behold, I started losing interest.

You know the whole book is about the princess/future queen and her search for a husband that she initially didn’t even want to have. In the end she picks someone she’s had probably one and a half conversations with. So clearly it is true love.

And there’s just something about this character. Her people think she’s a horrible person but her many suitors disagree. Still, there’s nothing really that proves that she’s not a horrible person. It just seems like every time she tries to be nice and the author tries to show that she’s genuine, she comes off as fake and it just really doesn’t seem sincere.

But at least I finished it. So now I am trying to finish “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which is a giant book when you’re trying to read on a plane. But I am also back to listening to the audiobook, which is much more mobile. Next I am planning on reading “A Dog’s Purpose,” by W. Bruce Cameron. I saw the movie a few weeks ago and I thought it was the sweetest thing so of course now I have to read it.

More later,
Maegan

“The Heir” by Kiera Cass

the-heir_612x925Y’all I literally just finished “The Heir” and I already spoiled the next book, “The Crown,” for myself. Don’t ruin things by trying to find info on the wikis when you haven’t finished the series. Lesson learned. But really probably not because I am a sucker for the wikis.

Anyway, this book is set maybe 18 years after “The One” when America and Maxon’s daughter is tasked with her own Selection, the first of its kind because she happens to be the first female heir to the throne in the history of this young formerly-U.S. country.

So 35 men are invited to the palace and Eadlyn is bound and determined not to let any of them get past the 90-foot metaphorical wall that she has barricaded herself in with. The Selection starts off pretty fast, with Eadlyn knocking a third of the competition out, but then it slows down. I actually started slacking off reading around that point because it seemed like the book was in a kind of lull. It picked back up again about halfway in, when some members of the Selection started getting feisty.

Eventually we find out that there is some political muck happening outside the palace walls and basically that Eadlyn is a spoiled little princess who can’t even relate when other people have lived their entire existences with different experiences than she has. Throughout the whole book, this girl is portrayed as bratty and distant with all of her potential suitors. She doesn’t even really become likable until the end and then it’s like her actions confuse even her. But at least that is something to look forward to in the next book.

The next one is “The Crown” and I’m assuming the Selection will wrap up. And there were a few plot twists at the end that I’m eager to see come to fruition.

In the beginning of “The Heir,” it seems pretty predictable who Eadlyn will end up with, but by the end there are several reasons that you really have no idea and it could be any of the boys or someone different entirely. I ruined the surprise for myself by looking at who I wanted it to be on the wiki page and seeing Eadlyn listed as family. Ugh, never going to get that back. That’s definitely the worst part about only getting to read a book the first time once.

Anyway, the weirdest part of this book is how clingy Eadlyn is to her twin brother Ahren. (I’m assuming it’s pronounced like Aaron? She also has a brother named Osten and I think that’s like Austin.) Like telling him she loves him with no provocation and rushing into his arms when she’s had a bad day and even suggesting that he break up with his girlfriend (the future queen of France) so that he can stay with her instead of move to France and be the future prince consort (because no one can have a higher title than the queen). She clingy. In a creepy way.

About to start “The Crown,”
Maegan

“Homecoming” by Kass Morgan

511cjuyxbtlJeez, Louise, it took a lot to get through this book. I was really interested in the series because “The 100” was suspenseful and intriguing but this book had so many faults that I was just rolling my eyes by the end.

Let me list these misdeeds for you:

So, two of the characters find out they’re actually half-siblings. This is fine and adds some interesting detail, if it weren’t for the fact that becoming siblings has basically turned two people who loathed each other into best buddies for life. Like dialogue along the lines of “I don’t want to do it, but I will for my brother/sister.” NO. Finding out you had a brother/sister after 19 years would not establish a lock-tight bond between two virtual strangers. Things don’t play like that. And this book was HARPING on the siblings thing. Way overkill.

There are basically weird love triangles where people who used to be dating are now besties and feel no emotion when the ex is hooking up with someone else. And then they each bring in their new relationship guy/girl and make a big ole group.

These teenagers are pros at burying the lead. Like you would think that if a bunch of space ships came raining down with people who used to live on your space colony thing, your first question would be “Hey, why are you here?” but that’s not even a conversation that these people have! They basically never even mention that they all had to leave their home under terrifying conditions because of something one of the dumb teenagers did.

You remember that thing I told you in “Day 21” about the traitor that no one was concerned about. They should have been concerned, clearly. And then the characters actually seem surprised at the fact that they should have been concerned. Duh!

SO MUCH CHEESE. Unbearable cheesiness. Mostly to blame for the eye rolling.

All that to say I will probably not be able to bring myself to read the fourth book in the series.

Off to watch Gilmore Girls,
Maegan

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling

hbp-us-jacket-artI thought it was going to take me much longer to finish this book, but I got through it surprisingly quick, considering that I pretty much only listen to it when I’m driving to and from work.

I’m just really excited now that I get to read “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” because that is clearly the most superior book in the series.

At this point, Harry Potter is 16 years old and has had more near death experiences that probably my entire family will face in all our lifetimes. And yet, he perseveres in the quest to end Lord Voldemort’s life. It feels like this is about the spot where J.K. Rowling decided that 16 year olds were old enough to experience some really messed up moral stuff and that is how Horcruxes came to be. I really wonder if the Horcruxes were something she had been thinking about all along or if they just came to here in this book. So many questions for J.K. and I’m sure exactly zero will be answered.

Not only do we get to read about good vs. evil and the links one man/monster will go to for immortality, but we also get to see some awkward teen romance, which just does everything for the characters. The one thing that kinda bothers me there is that Harry has just decided he likes Ginny, even though she’s been pining for him for years. She is too good for him, imo.

I want to start “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” but I am also juggling three different series right now and I’m trying to wrap at least one of them up first. Probably “The 100” series. I can’t wait for that blog post, because I sure do have some thoughts on those books now. I’m also still working on “The Heir,” which is part of “The Selection” series. Eventually I also want to get to “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” In due time, I believe.

That’s all for now,
Maegan

“Day 21” by Kass Morgan

20454076Day 21, meaning we’re only 21 days into this series and a crapton of things have happened already. Namely lots of tension, some name-calling, casual partner swapping, the usual.

This book is the second in the “The 100” series and it picks back right where “The 100” left off. There are a couple things that are mentioned as explanation in “Day 21,” but other than that it is pretty seamless, which I like.

So yeah, by this book these juvenile delinquents have only been on Earth for a few weeks (21 days because that’s when people start showing signs of radiation poisoning and the whole reason [supposedly] that these kids were sent to Earth was to find out if it was livable or if they would all die from radiation) and they are getting pretty good at setting up shop and figuring things out. Which is amazing because literally no one alive during their lives ever set foot on Earth and the only things they know are a few tidbits that a couple of the kids picked up in the old Earth books on the spaceship. Like this one kid, Bellamy, starts successfully hunting animals with a bow and arrow just because he read about it some. I don’t think it works like that.

Anyway, it’s more of the same (kind of) where all these kids are just navigating their new Earth lives and speculating about when the space people will be coming down to join then because by now shouldn’t they know it’s safe, I mean aren’t they looking at the data from these bracelet transmitter things that have never been adequately explained? Meanwhile in space, one character did a dumb thing and now everyone is in jeopardy and that’s a struggle for them all.

Eventually a lot of the colonists, a.k.a. the space people, end up on Earth and they are all basically useless and have to have all these kids who have been on the planet for a month to care for them and provide food.

The biggest thing about this book that gets me is that one character discovers that THERE IS A TRAITOR IN THE CAMP WHO IS DOING EVIL THINGS AND IS LITERALLY UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE FACT. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME TO BE CONCERNED, IT WOULD BE THEN.

I feel better getting that out. Now I am satisfied. I already started reading/listening to “Homecoming,” which is the third book in the series. I am simultaneously listening to “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and reading “The Heir,” which is the next book in “The Selection” series. And I’m about to go on vacation so I will probably find another read for the trip.

It’s a busy book world and we’re all just living in it,
Maegan

“The 100” by Kass Morgan

the_100_book_coverThis book was super good at keeping you guessing. There were plot twists literally all the way up until the very end. And it seemed like there were a million questions and only a handful really got answered by the end of the book. Even the ones that were answered made me feel excited to find out the answer because you never knew when it was going to come thanks to the suspense.

Plus, this book has a super awesome but also horrifying plot. Basically Earth has been destroyed and 300 years later the ancestors of the humans who escaped are living on this massive ship in space. Eventually they want to return to Earth, so what better way to find out if it’s inhabitable than to send 100 teenage criminals down to test it out? Right?

So that’s what happens, and the 100 are on Earth. The whole thing is a struggle because they don’t know how to feed themselves well and only one girl has medical training and it’s a big ole mess for them. On the ship they were broken up into three different sections, Phoenix, Walden, and Arcadia, and Phoenix was the higher class of the three. All these kids came down still carrying this status symbol with them and that causes problems too.

The story is actually told through 4 different people’s points of view and at first I thought that would be overwhelming but I eventually got to where I enjoyed it because you get to see into the thoughts of so many different characters.

The whole book only covered about 3 weeks, which is amazing because so many things took place in that time. But a lot of bad things happen to these teenagers, that’s for sure.

One thing I noticed in particular is that there is death everywhere. Like it takes more than 2 hands to count all the deaths that were mentioned in just this book. And no one seems to be bothered by the fact that something they do could cause someone else to die. One character in particular, Wells, pretty much destroys everything he touches and I can’t even appreciate him as the Chancellor’s son for that.

I was pretty pumped when I started reading this book and I realized that it now has a TV show based off of it, but it’s not on Hulu where I can watch it at my leisure. So instead I went to IMDb and started reading through the episode summaries. Everything was wrong. They added all these characters and took some of them completely away and then started killing off people who shouldn’t be dead and it was just horrible to read about but I am also still interested in the show and that makes me feel just a teensy bit guilty. But anyway… I already started on the second book in this series, “Day 21,” and I know there are at least two more after this one to look forward to.

Later, gator,
Maegan

“The Queen” and “The Favorite” by Kiera Cass

the-queen-kiera-cass Favorite_EpicReads1.jpgThese two stories were the last two novellas related to The Selection series. I think of all four of the stories, “The Queen” was probably the most enlightening. It was told from Prince Maxon’s mother’s eyes, but it was when she was younger and she was actually part of the Selection. It gives a looooot of insight into why the king acted the way he did to America and to Maxon. Honestly, after reading it, it’s surprising that Maxon was so kind to those around him. Then again, his mom probably had a lot to do with that.

“The Favorite” told Marlee’s story. Marlee was the first of the girls that America met when she began the Selection, and they became best friends pretty quickly. Marlee’s life was turned all topsy turvy, but thanks to Mason, she was always happy with what she had.

I think it is amazing how deep Kiera Cass’s understanding of all her characters goes. Between the Selection series and the “Happily Ever After” companion book, she wrote scenes from 7 different characters’ points of view. It’s 8, at least, if you could “The Heir” and “The Crown.” Which I haven’t started yet, but they are next on the list.

I’m still intrigued by this series and I’m excited to read these last two books because I’ve never read them before. Aside from these, I’m in the hold line to get “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on audiobook for my commute. While I was waiting I was getting super bored while driving to work, so I also started listening to “The 100” series by Kass Morgan. I’m nearly halfway through the first book right now and I’m intrigued. There’s a lot of suspense and a lot of questions that haven’t been answered yet. I also have a new book I got for Christmas and I want to reread the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books, thanks to Neil Patrick Harris and the new Netflix series. So that’s what my short-list entails. But I’m sure it will grow.

I’m off for more Sunday funday,
Maegan

“The One” by Kiera Cass

306c8e7996271d90929125ae01e8b7f3The Selection has concluded and they all lived happily ever after! Yayyyyy!

This book is the third in the Selection series, and there are two more that are kind of spin-offs that I’ve never read, so I’m excited to get to those next.

Prince Maxon has finally decided who he wants to marry and it’s glorious because both he and his bride have finally gotten over their pride enough to tell the other how they feel. And yet America still finds a way to mess things up. But leave it up to the deadly Southern rebels to make everything right.

Of the three books in the series so far, this one has the most action and I feel like it’s the most serious. Like, people die. And yet the characters still don’t express their feelings well. For example, parents are lost and these characters barely shed a tear. I don’t understand. My grandpa passed away a couple weeks ago and I sobbed at his funeral, so I could not imagine being younger than I am now and losing a parent and acting the way these characters did. So that made me feel like there was a bit of a disconnect and I could no longer relate to them. And of course America does not explain things well AT ALL so she nearly ruined her life because she couldn’t do words.

But enough about that. I’ve read this book before by checking it out at the library, but this time the ones I read were ones that I had purchased in a box set from Barnes & Noble and it included a bonus epilogue. I actually feel like it should be a second epilogue, because the epilogue in the book details the wedding day, and the bonus epilogue is from two years later when the prince finds out he will be a father. I think this part sets up the next couple books nicely, because those two are told from the point of view of his child.

I’m about to start the last two novellas written by Kiera Cass, and then I will get to the ones about the child, but I’m really excited because I’ve hit the point where I have only read everything up to this part and everything will be fresh and new and there’s nothing like reading a book for the first time.

Ciao,
Maegan

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling

ootp-us-jacket-artI feel like I’ve been working on this one for a while but IDK… Eh, kinda. I just checked and it’s been about three weeks. Of course I have all these books in both paperback and hardback, but I mostly listened to this one as an audiobook during my commute. It’s the weirdest thing but I have discovered that listening to audiobooks on the drive actually makes me feel calm. No irritation at traffic or that it’s taking me an hour to drive 14 miles. It’s incredible.

Anyway, Harry’s story continues and he is forever connected to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and just writing that once makes me wonder at how J.K. could stand it. But I’m sure she just typed it as “Voldy” or something like that and then did a massive find and replace. That is definitely something I would ask if I ever had the chance to meet her. So Harry is now 15 years old and in addition to being sought out by the Dark Lord he is also tortured by the most horrible person ever, Dolores Umbridge. Like this woman literally made him write lines in detention with a quill that uses his blood instead of ink. She dark as the Dark Lord.

Book Dumbledore (because there’s a difference between book Dumbledore and movie Dumbledore) ignores Harry a lot and then it turns out he’s kept an awful lot of information from him, but don’t you worry because it all comes out in the end. Lots of twisty turny stuff going on, but I love it.

Now I’m waiting on the audiobook for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which is on hold at my public library website. But at least there are two copies, so hopefully I will get it sooner rather than later because my commute this morning was much more dull without the antics of pre-teens getting themselves into trouble with grown men and women who are trying to kill them.

Bye bye for now,
Maegan