Monday, January 31, 2011

2 Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers by E. Nesbit

Title: Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers
Author: E. Nesbit
Publisher: Dover Publishing
Publication Date: March 3, 2006
paperback, 80 pages
ISBN: 0-486-44762-6
Available @: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository

Summary: 12 of the Bard's most famous plays, delightfully adapted for young readers, are filled with stories about kings, queens, ghosts, and witches. Brimming with tragedy, humor, and moral lessons, and told with wit and grace, the tales include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, As You Like It, and 7 others. 


E. Nesbit has written many children's books. The one I'm most familiar with is The Railway Children.  I really like that book and it influenced my decision to purchase this book. In the introduction of Shakespeare's Stories for Young Children, E. Nesbit explains her reasons for writing this book.  She explains that her children love Shakespeare's story lines but at the time were too young to enjoy the actual play. So she took some of Shakespeare's most famous plays and summarized them, making it easier for children to understand.  Shakespeare's influence is found everywhere and I wanted my children to be familiar with his plays.  However Shakespeare didn't write for children and I know mine wouldn't understand the language and would be bored in a matter of pages. E. Nesbit did a great job explaining the stories. My children were able to comprehend the stories with little explanation. Each chapter is a different play and about six pages. She also includes direct quotes from the plays. It's the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for young children. 


*picture and summary taken from Good Reads
*I'm an affiliate of B&N, Amazon and the Book Depository. If you click on the link to buy the book I receive a small commission.



Saturday, January 29, 2011

14 Sunday Confessions January 30, 2011


This is a weekly meme started by yours truly as a way to get to share a bit about myself and also learning more about you. Sometimes its about books and book related topics and sometimes it's not. This is all in good fun and I would love it if you would participate. 

How do you arrange your bookshelves?

I have to confess right now that my bookshelves are a bit of a mess.  They don't really have a rhyme or reason to them.  I'm usually a very organized person and the state of my bookshelves have been bugging me for some time. I have books scattered throughout my home. In my home office I have three bookshelves that have a little order. I've grouped some books by authors and others by genres. In my bedroom I have a bookshelf full of books that I want to read and a few stacks of books beside it.The books I have for review are stacked upon my desk right now and are slowly taking over. I know I am in desperate need of a new bookshelf or two, so I'll probably be buying one in the next few weeks. I'm also a little OCD when it comes to placing hardcovers and paperbacks together. I also like to have books that are similar in size grouped together.  However as chaotic as it sounds, if you were to ask me where a certain book is in my house, I could tell you.  I need some ideas on how to arrange my bookshelves. I brought this topic up on twitter and received some good responses but it left me wondering "How do you arrange your bookshelves"

*If you answer this question on your own blog, please make sure to leave a link in the comments so I can come visit.





4 Book Trailer Spotlight (2)


I love book trailers! So I've decided to add a new feature here at To Read or Not To Read where I spotlight book trailers! If there is a book trailer that you think I should know about and you would like to see it featured, please feel free to contact me.


This week's trailer is Timeless by Alexandra Monir. Timeless was released on January 11, 2011 published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers.





Title: Timeless
Author: Alexandra Monir
Genre: Young Adult
288 pages
Purchase at:

Amazon / B&N 












*picture taken from Good Reads
*trailer from you tube
*graphic from photobucket
*I'm an B&N & Amazon affiliate. If you click on the links and purchase the book, I receive a very small commission.







4 What's Your Status?




Zakiya from Butterfly Feet Walking on Life has a fantastic meme. In this meme you post your status of the books your reading this week, books you finished this week, books you're going to read next, and books you plan on buying this week. You can also post what reviews and memes you participated in for the week. If your interested in participating in this meme, check of Zakiya's blog for all the info and the linky to sign up.

Books I finished this week:
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman
Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver
The Eye of the Storm by William L.K.
Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers by E. Nesbit

Books I'm reading now:
Whisper of Light by Jennifer DeLucy

Books I plan to read next week:
Pale Rose of England by Sand Worth


Friday, January 28, 2011

7 Memetastic Award



So, the graphics and concept of this blog award are hideous. Here is what the original author’s rules (word for word):

“1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that I have created for these purposes (put it in your post, you don’t have to put it in your sidebar, I think that would seriously be asking too much). It’s so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there’s even a little jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It’s horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we’re creating here. If you need a higher resolution version… I totally have one!!

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make some shit up, we’ll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we’re just on the honor system here. I trust you. Except for the 4 that you lied about, you lying bastards! But don’t go crazy trying to think of stuff, you’ll see by the example I’ve set below that we’re not really interested in quality here.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don’t like or don’t really have much of an opinion about. I don’t care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. I mean, you can give a reason if you want, but I don’t really care.

4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, I will hunt you down and harass you incessantly until you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don’t know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I’ll leave you alone. I’m serious. I’m going to do these things.

5. This one isn’t actually a rule, but once you do the above, please come back here and link up to the Memetastic Hop so that I can keep track of where this thing goes.” 




I received this award from Kelsey @ Kelsey's Book Corner and Kelsey @ Ketch Tavern. This is a very unusual award, so thank you ?!? I'm just joking. I love both Kelseys! They're  awesome people and you should definitely check out their blogs. Since I don't want to be hunted down or harassed I will follow the rules.  So here it goes, four lies and one truth:


 1.  Both my parents were in the army. I've traveled all around the world and speak seven different languages.
2. I play the violin and was once invited by the London Symphony Orchestra to play with them.
3. I broke my leg when I was five years old and had to spend several weeks in the hospital. 
4.  When I die, I want to be cryogenically frozen. I've already paid for it and I'll be stored somewhere in California. (no I'm not going to tell you the exact location)
5. I once had a pet zebra. Her name was jelly bean. 


So, which one do you think is real?
I'm passing this award on to bloggers that I love because honestly why would I follow anyone I don't like.
Smash Attack Reads!
Read, Write and Live
Bookhound's Den
Every Little Thing
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

0 The Eye of the Storm by William L.K.

Title: The Eye of the Storm
Author: William L.K.
Publisher: Sci-Fi-Cafe
Publication Date: Dec. 2, 2010
e-book
ASIN: B004ELAESO
Available on Kindle only@ Amazon $2.39

Summary: The Eye of the Storm opens the Stritonoly Chronicles series in glorious style on sci-fi-cafe.com. Dmitri, son of the Czar of Stritonoly, driven insane by the forbidden poison of the slave-race Acidel sets in motion a catastrophic chain of events. A terrifying and eternal force stalks the forest nearby as a storm of epic proportions gathers over the Citadel.


This futuristic tale takes place light years away from Earth, on the planet Stritonoly. William L.K. created a fascinating world in which the characters live.  Stritonoly is very similar to Earth but with it's own distinct landscape. It has many interesting and original creatures.  I really liked the story line in this book. It's very compelling. There are many religious and historical undertones in this book. There is also a parallel story that is very poignant  and interesting 
The diversity of the characters was really appealing. They are all flawed in many ways. However I could almost understand their motivation even in their madness. I think my favorite character is Ethan Educi. He is the royal tutor whose quest for knowledge of things unknown in the universe leave him deeply unsatisfied. He questions the meaning of it all.
I really liked this story. I found it entertaining while at the same time taking on some weighty subjects. This is the first book in the Stritonoly Chronicles. The next book in this series is Barok's Exodus.


*I received this e-book from the author for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my review.
*picture and summary taken from Good Reads
*I'm an Amazon affiliate. If you click on the link and buy the book, I get a very small commission. 



Thursday, January 27, 2011

2 Guest Post and Giveaway with M.R. Mathias

M.R. Mathias has written several novels including, The Royal Dragoneers, Oathbreaker and Crimson and Clover. His books look fantastic! I'm very happy to have him here today talking about The Invisible Line. So now I'll turn it over to M.R. Mathias.

I’m not much of a blogger, but here it goes:
The invisible line (Authors Beware)

As a relatively successful indie author I find myself reading more indie than trade pub books these days. I have found that a lot of these works, though well edited, seem mechanical, and forced. There is an invisible line that novel writers need to be aware of.

Before I explain, let me say this. I do not make a plot outline when I write a novel. I sit down with just a general idea of what I am after and start writing. I let the plot, and the characters, form themselves within the context of the novel I want to produce. When I get about 2/3s of the way through I stop and read what I have, and plot out the best way to tie up all the loose ends going into and out of the climax. I have never drafted and re-drafted a novel. I write it and then read and correct one time and then pass it on to an editor.

The editor I use may have me rewrite sentences and passages etc... But the point is I write a novel when I write a novel. I do not build a novel by outlining, drafting, and redrafting. The invisible line this post is referring to appears when a story starts to seem mechanical or contrived. Overly descriptive paragraphs added in the middle of an action sequence, or a portion of back story that saturates the mind; these are just a few examples I can think of at the moment. Things that stop the flow of the tale are what I am getting at.

Think of your novel like a song. In a recording studio you lay it down one track at a time and build the song, but that is not the song that gets played live. That is not the hot sweaty performance that makes the girls scream and the guys go out and buy guitars. That is not the song that was written in a hotel room with a bottle of whisky and an acoustic guitar. The studio version gets perfected with electronics, and retakes, and a whole bunch of painstaking work. It gets all the radio replays and sells the CD’s, while the song that gets played live has all the heart and soul, and all the little things that make it amazing.

Why you’re asking now, wouldn’t I want to produce the perfected version? Well, you may pay $15 bucks for a CD, but you pay $75 buck for that concert ticket. When you brag to your friends, you brag about who you saw at the arena, not who you saw on the record store shelves. (OK... Not the record store these days, but on the iTunes store’s page... lol I feel old now.)

I’m not saying to forget the process you use to write. I am saying be aware of what you may be sacrificing when you write that way. When I am there, in the story and writing, I do not want to stop and worry if the sentence I just put down needs another comma, or if I spelled “site” instead of “sight.” Those concerns take away from the flow of my mind. They distract me from my live performance and no matter what you hear people saying about books, the story is 10 times more important than the edit. Editing is a purchase item, like socks, and cover art. The story is a creation of your heart and soul that comes from deep within. If you have to stop writing and correct as you go, then you will never find a flow full of depth and emotion.

Keep these things in mind as you write. If you cross the line too far one way, your work might be an awesome tale full of grammar errors that can be fixed later with another proofread or an edit. If you cross it too far the other way the story will be dull and lifeless, even though there are no grammar errors in it. It’s a choice writers have to make. Just beware, or better yet, Be Aware of the invisible line.

If you want to find out more about M.R. Mathias check out these sites:
http://www.mrmathias.com/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4163056.M_R_Mathias
http://twitter.com/#!/DahgMahn
http://authoradventours.blogspot.com/2010/12/attention-bloggers.html

Here is a link to a Free novella to the Dragoneers series: http://www.wattpad.com/743217-the-first-dragoneer

M.R. Mathias has agreed to giveaway an e-copy of The Royal Dragoneers on Smashwords to one lucky winner.

Giveaway Rules:
1. You MUST fill out the form to enter
2. You do not have to be a follower to enter.
3. You must be over 13 years old to enter.
4. Giveaway ends Feb. 3, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1 Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman

Title: Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country
Author: Allan Richard Shickman
Publisher: Earthshaker Books
Publication Date: September 26, 2009
paperback, 151 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9790357-1-5
Amazon  /  B&N

Summary:
The prehistoric saga continues in Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, the sequel to the award winning Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure. In this story, Zan s troubled twin brother, Dael, having suffered greatly during his earlier captivity, receives a ruinous new shock when his wife suddenly dies. Disturbed and traumatized, all of his manic energies explode into acts of hostility and bloodshed. His obsession is the destruction of the wasp men, his first captors, who dwell in the Beautiful Country. When he, Zan-Gah, and a band of adventurers trek to their bountiful home, they find that all of the wasp people have died in war or of disease. The Beautiful Country is empty for the taking, and Zan s people, the Ba-Coro, decide to migrate and resettle there. But the Noi, Dael s cruelest enemies and former tormentors, make the same migration from their desert home, and the possibility develops of contention and war over this rich and lovely new land.


This book is the sequel to Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure (click here for my review). Although I try very hard not to include any spoilers, this review might contain some.  
Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country is a wonderful story set in prehistoric times. It picks up a few years after the first book.  The story line is interesting with many layers. The story is centered around Dael's revenge and the journey the Ba-Coro make to find a more fruitful land in which to live.  Once again Allan Shickman has blown me away with his beautiful descriptions of the countryside.  His characters are so multi-dimensional.  This book focuses a lot on Dael, Zan-Gah's twin that was captured in the first book.  Dael suffered cruelly at the hands of his captors. The event left him broken and severely altered. Dael is the complete opposite of what he had been before his capture. Where he once was happy and good natured he is now bitter and hard.  Dael wants nothing more than to get revenge on those who tormented him for so long. Dael and Zan-Gah's characters mirrored each other. They are both leaders. Zan-Gah leads with wisdom and Dael leads with passion. I really liked the development of their characters. It was interesting to see how the brothers reacted to each other. My favorite character is Rydl. Rydl originally belonged to the wasp tribe. He befriended Zan-Gah in the first book and came back to live among the Ba-Coro. Rydl has come a long way since the first book. I love Rydl's curiosity and ingenuity.  Overall this was a fantastic book. One side note. This book is intended for children. It has a few violent scenes that might be disturbing to some children. 


For more information on Zan-Gah, click here.
To find Allan Shickman on Goodreads click here.




*picture and summary taken from Good Reads
*A copy of this book was provided to me by Allan Shickman and Earthshaker books for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my review.
*I'm an Amazon and Barnes and Noble affiliate. If you purchase these books from this site I will receive a very small commission.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1 Winner of the Light Series


To:
JL Jackson

I will send you an email with information on how to claim your prize. Thank you to Jennifer DeLucy and Omnific Publishing for this providing this giveaway.  I chose a winner using random.org. If you didn't win, you can buy Seers of Light and Whisper of Light here:
Buy on Amazon: The Light Series by Jennifer DeLucy available in paperback and on the Kindle
Barnes & Noble: Seers of Light for the Nook, Whisper of Light for the Nook
Omnific Publishing: click here

*I'm an affiliate of Amazon and B&N. If click on the links and buy, I get a very small commission. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

5 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Quiz



A few weeks ago I posted a Sorting Hat Quiz. If you missed it, click here.  Now we've (my hubby and I)  created a quiz to help you test your knowledge on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  We've had a lot of fun creating this quiz and I hope you enjoy it too! You don't have to be signed up for the Harry Potter Reading Challenge to take this quiz. This is all in good fun so don't take it too seriously. Click on the following link to take the quiz. Good luck everyone!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Sunday, January 23, 2011

0 What's Your Status?



Zakiya from Butterfly Feet Walking on Life has a fantastic meme. In this meme you post your status of the books your reading this week, books you finished this week, books you're going to read next, and books you plan on buying this week. You can also post what reviews and memes you participated in for the week. If your interested in participating in this meme, check of Zakiya's blog for all the info and the linky to sign up.

Books I finished this week:
Evolving Ecstasy by Melanie Nowak

Books I'm reading:
Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver 60% finished 
Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers by E. Nesbit on page 57 of 73

Books I Plan to read next week:
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allen Richard Shickman 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

14 Sunday Confessions January 23, 2011


This is a weekly meme started by yours truly as a way to get to share a bit about myself and also learning more about you. Sometimes its about books and book related topics and sometimes it's not. This is all in good fun and I would love it if you would participate. 

Do you need silence to read?

My answer is yes and no. I prefer it to be quiet when I read however, I don't always get it. Over the last few years I have learned to read with lots of background noise (i.e. spongebob, screaming, pirate attacks, tea parties gone wild). I know some people like to listen to music when they read, but I can't do that. I find myself getting distracted by the song. I end up singing along instead of reading. Sometimes it's really tough to find some quiet time to read. I must confess that I'm thinking about getting some noise reducing headphones in the near future. 

So now it's your turn to answer the question: Do you need silence to read? 

*If you answer this question on your own blog, please make sure to leave a link in the comments so I can come visit.


2 Book Trailer Spotlight



I love book trailers! So I've decided to add a new feature here at To Read or Not To Read where I spotlight book trailers! If there is a book trailer that you think I should know about and you would like to see it featured, please feel free to contact me.

This weeks trailer(s) is the Light Series by Jennifer DeLucy. I really really liked Seers of Light and can't wait to read Whisper of Light.





Jennifer DeLucy is giving away an e-copy of Seers of Light and Whisper of Light on my blog. Click here for details. Seers and Whisper of Light are both available for purchase. If you'd like to find out more about these books and Jennifer DeLucy, be sure to check out these sites:
http://www.omnificpublishing.com/
http://www.jenniferdelucy.com/
http://jenniferdelucy.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/JenCED
http://twitter.com/Jen_DeLucy

*I'm in no way claiming the Book Trailer Spotlight is an original idea. If I have inadvertently taken someone's idea, I am truly sorry. 
*I receive no compensation for displaying book trailers.
*spotlight graphic taken from photobucket.

Friday, January 21, 2011

4 You Make Me Smile

Today I was passed an award by two fellow bloggers. This really made my day because it the Making Smiles on Faces Award. They said my blog made them smile which in turn made me smile. So you see, it's very contagious! Thank you to Ketch Tavern and Kelsey's Book Corner for passing this award to me. Their blogs make me smile too, so check them out.


Now I'm going to pass this award on to some bloggers who make me smile. Actually all the blogs I follow make me smile, so I'll just choose a few. I hope this makes you smile too!

Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Moonlight Book Reviews
Roof Beam Reader
Larissa's Bookish Life

1 Winner of Almost Human trilogy

I want to thank everyone who entered this contest. If you didn't win, you can buy Almost Human trilogy from Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Nowak/e/B002BRGYWS/ Don't forget to stop by Melanie Nowak's website for all the latest Almost Human information http://www.melanienowak.com/

Also a big THANK YOU to Melanie Nowak for providing this giveaway.  Now without further ado The winner is...................



EJ Stephens

EJ, I've sent your information to Melanie Nowak. I hope you enjoy your books.

3 Evolving Ecstasy (Almost Human The First Trilogy #3) by Melanie Nowak

Title: Evolving Ecstasy (Almost Human: The First Trilogy #3)
Author: Melanie Nowak

Publisher: WoodWitchDame Publications
Publication Date: July 3, 2008
Paperback, 248 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-9824102-7-1

Summary: The relationship between Cain and Felicity has crested to a peak that leaves them unsure whether to step back from each other for safety, or jump into a future united in death. 
Felicity is unlike any human Cain has known before. She treats him as an equal; a man worthy of friendship, respect and even… love. She embodies qualities of gentleness and loving trust that he has never found among his own kind. This makes her far more desirable to him than any creature of darkness could ever be. 
The venom of Cain’s bite could protect Felicity from hostile vampires, but it would give him a measure of psychic control over her as well. Would Felicity only accept becoming a vampire, due to his addictive venom, coupled with the foolishness of a young girl in love? 
Perhaps there is a brighter future for her in the human world. Is Cain’s desire for Felicity’s love worth the loss of her life?



This book is a continuation of the first book, Fatal Infatuation and the second book Lost Reflections. You can click here to view my review. Although I try very hard not to include spoilers in my reviews this review will contain some mild spoilers because it is part of a series.

 I love that these books pick up right where the last book leaves off. Chris has become public enemy number one.  He's out to get Felicity and perhaps even Sindy. He has a personal vendetta to fulfill and Felicity has a huge target on her back. The ever sexy Cain does his best to protect both Felicity and Sindy. Cain makes a few undesirable choices along the way. Felicity contemplates spending eternity with Cain. Cain struggles with his different desires as part human and part vampire.  This book has a lot of action, suspense, romance and heartbreak. At times I was on the edge of my seat. Melanie Nowak totally threw me for a loop. I didn't expect the ending at all.  Now I can't wait to read the next book, Born To Blood. If I didn't promise my husband that I wouldn't buy any book right now, I would have bought this book after I finished the last sentence. The first trilogy in Melanie Nowak's Almost Human series was really good. If you haven't read it yet, you really need to.

Want to find out more about Almost Human and Melanie Nowak? Check out these sites:


*This book was received from Melanie Nowak in exchange for a fair review. This in no way influenced my opinion.
*Picture and summary taken from Good Reads





Thursday, January 20, 2011

0 Lost Reflections (Almost Human The First Trilogy #2) by Melanie Nowak

Title: Lost Reflections (Almost Human The First Trilogy #3)
Author: Melanie Nowak
Publisher: WoodWitchDame Publications
Publication Date: July 3, 2008
Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-9824102-4-0

Summary:
Felicity has helped her friends to escape the venomous vixen Sindy, but cannot divine the motives of Cain, the vampire who captured first her gratitude, and then her heart. 
She finds the historical account of Cain's past enthralling and frightening. Now she must determine whether the addictive venom in Cain's kiss is clouding her judgment, and if his thirst for her blood is a driving force too strong for their love to conquer. 
It's difficult to contemplate such questions while under the attack of a vengeful vampire and his zombie slaves. Felicity's heart has already been lost to Cain; will she lose her life as well?



This book is a continuation of the first book, Fatal Infatuation. You can click here to view my review. Although I try very hard not to include spoilers in my reviews this review will contain some mild spoilers because it is part of a series. 


Lost Reflections picks up right where Fatal Infatuation left off.  Ben is trying to deal with what Sindy has done to him. Felicity and Alyson try to help Ben deal with the aftermath of Sindy's bite.  I liked this book because I got to learn more about Cain's past. It was interesting to find out what his life was like before he became a vampire and the circumstances that led to his becoming a creature of the night. There is so much information he has to share with Felicity, good and bad. Melanie Nowak also gives us a glimpse into Sindy's past as well. Cain and Felicity's relationship gets tested a lot in this book. Several elements conspire against them, such as Cain's inner beast and the vampire vixen, Sindy. In the first book, I didn't really like Sindy very much but she has grown on me quite a bit. Sindy get's into some action packed trouble in this book.  Some of that trouble includes zombies.  I am happy to report that these zombies did not give me nightmares. I am really enjoying this series. I can't wait to see where Melanie Nowak takes it.


If you're interested in finding out more about Almost Human and Melanie Nowak be sure to check out her site http://www.melanienowak.com/ You can also purchase her books on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Nowak/e/B002BRGYWS  I also am hosting a giveaway that ends today for this series. Click here to enter.


*My thanks to Melanie Nowak for providing me with a copy of this book for review. This in no way influenced my opinion. 
*Picture and Summary taken from Good Reads





Wednesday, January 19, 2011

7 Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling 
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: June 30, 1997
paperback, 312 pages
ISBN: 0-590-35342-X


SummaryHarry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. 
All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley--a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. 
But all of that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry--and anyone who reads about him--will find unforgettable. 
For it's there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter.


Harry Potter has been around for some time.  I know many of you have probably read and reread all of these books. However this is my first time. It's true. I have seen the movie many times so I am familiar with the story line. However it is my personal belief that the book is always better than the movie and in this case I am right. Don't get me wrong, I love the movie but it can only capture so much. I liked this book from the first chapter. J.K. Rowling set up the story so nicely.  From the start I knew that the Dursley's were the most awful people imaginable, something big and wonderful has happened but also something tragic, and Harry Potter is at the center of it. The story is gripping. There is so much going on around Harry that he doesn't know about. I loved how J.K. Rowling expresses Harry's wonder at it all.  The way he reacts to this magically world is endearing.  I also love J.K. Rowling's humor. So many times in this book, I found myself laughing at something a character said or did. 
I love, love, love the characters in this story. Even the ones I hate, I love to hate. My favorite characters so far are Fred and George. They are brilliant. I want to be adopted into the Weasley family. Overall this is a great book to start off the series. I look forward to reading the next book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.



I'm reading this book as part of the Harry Potter Reading Challenge 2011. If you would like to join this challenge, sign up here. If you have a review you'd like to link up, click here.

*picture and summary taken from GoodReads


Monday, January 17, 2011

5 Jennifer DeLucy guestpost and giveaway

Today I have the ever awesome Jennifer DeLucy here. If you haven't checked out her books Seers of Light and Whisper of Light you seriously need to. I am so excited for her to stop by and talk about using love as a symbol.


Using love as a symbol…
Hi everybody! For my guest post today, I really wanted to talk to you about the purpose of love in The Light Series, specifically, of romantic love.  I’ve never really talked about this before, but, the main characters of the Light Series are very intentional, they each stand for something of their own—a character virtue, a vice, a testament to life that I like to use to move people.  Let me talk about some main characters (or the two main couples, essentially), to explain what I mean. Without going into detail about who ends up with whom (for the sake of those who haven’t read the series yet), I’ll start out with Lily.
You could say that Lily Hunt is one half of the heart of the series, where book two is told from the perspective of a different character. Lily is important because she introduces you to this world from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about it. She experiences things as the reader (and the author, for that matter) would. We all start out infants in Seers, but by book two, we’re far more prepared to walk in a Sentiently world.
Lily is ready. She’s willing and, after a time, she’s able. She’s sick of feeling like she has to pretend to be something she’s not, always longing for a truer life. Lily is stubborn and a bit quick to react, I’ll admit, but she's also passionate and brave and she knows her own heart.  Lily represents the part of us that is desperately longing to break free of whatever feels untrue, inauthentic for our own lives. She is the will and courage to embrace a life lived fully.
That’s not so easy, after all, being brave and whatnot.  Most of us are somewhere in between—or less.  Take Nicole Abbot, for example. She’s the protagonist for book two, and she’s far more reserved, far more fear-driven than Lily. Nicole wants more, but she doesn’t think she deserves more. She thinks her dreams are unattainable. Nicole is caution. She’s compassion to a fault. She’s self-sacrifice and to some extent deprivation, but she’s also charity and humility.  I don’t think you can have the bold and passionate traits without the caution and humility to temper them.
So, enough with the ladies. Let’s talk about men, shall we?
First, we'll hit on (no pun intended) Christian Wright, aka talented British Combatant, aka Golden-Boy, aka the bane of William Maddox’s existence.  Christian Wright seems like the perfect hero... but he has issues.  He is all heart, all temper. Somehow a mixture of emotional and repressed, Christian is the guy who jumps to protect. He's more than willing to risk his own neck, but he doesn’t like it when others do so. This trait can get out of hand, though, when you forget how to trust, how to allow others to live and learn.  And it doesn’t help that he has some major baggage, either. Mostly, this baggage shows itself as aggression toward the aforementioned William Maddox…
William. He’s kind of the enigma of book one. Tall, pale and handsome, it takes a while for the reader to get a full picture of his character. Is William good? Is he evil?  Should you pose this question to Christian Wright, you’d get a pretty merciless answer.  But, as you read on, there are distinct things about William that make you question whether Christian has his head on straight.  Though you wouldn’t know it at first, William is a powerful man. He’s reserved, he’s mostly a corner lurker, and he’s never the center of the crowd, but one shouldn’t rush to assume he’s in any way weak or frightened. Quite the opposite.  William is clever and quick-witted. He keeps his shows of strength to a minimum and he’s not one to step on toes, but if it's deserved, he'll put you in your   place. 
So, which character do you relate to best?  All of these personalities are needed in both the books and in real life. This world would be a boring, black and white, possibly scary place otherwise.  Thanks for reading! And I'll meet you in the books!
Love,
Jen

As I said before, you should definitely check these books out! Also, Jennifer Delucy and Omnific Publishing has generously donated an e-copy of Seers of Light and Whisper of Light for me to giveaway. If you would like more information of Jennifer DeLucy and her fabulous books, please check out these sites:


Now for the giveaway:
  • You Must Be Over 17 to enter
  • Giveaway is open international as long as you have a valid email address
  • You don't have to be a follower to enter. It's appreciated but not necessary
  • You MUST fill out the form to be entered in this giveaway. I love comments but they won't get you entered into the giveaway.
  • Giveaway ends January 24, 2011 and winner will be chosen using Random.org
 

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