Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

I was quite curious as to how much I would like the second book of the Harry Potter series. Part of the charm of the first book is that everything is new and exciting. Well, I can tell you that I enjoyed it immensely. 

“When in doubt, go to the library.”

As in the last novel, the characters were absolutely charming. I loved how Harry, Ron, and Hermoine’s relationship developed. They did almost everything together and stuck out for each other.

Gilderoy Lockhart, Order Of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary M GIF | Gfycat

If one of them was in a fix, the others were quick to help; even if it meant breaking school rules. And I mean, it was kinda sweet that Ron and Hermoine forgoed their Halloween feast to go to Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th deathday party. I must mention the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart. He both made me cringe and bust out laughing. His infatuation with himself was totally over the top, but I think it was meant to be. I felt really bad for Ginny, though. What a way to start her time at Hogwarts…it does not bode well.   

“Lockhart’ll sign anything if it stands still long enough.”

This time, the way that Voldemort tries to get to Harry was quite creative. I started guessing at it a little, but there were so many pieces that were tied into the mystery of the heir of Slytherin and the Chamber of Secrets! Rowling did a fabulous job with this and also with upping the danger and intensity from the last book. 

I’m excited to read book #3 and accompany Harry, Hermoine, and Ron on their next adventure. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Rowling, J.K.: 8601404281891:  Books - Amazon.ca
Book Reviews

Belvedor and the Four Corners by Ashleigh Bello

Blurb

The Hunger Games meets Red Queen and Throne of Glass in this action-packed Epic Fantasy Adventure series.

On a quest for freedom from a tyrant king, follow Arianna Belvedor as she unearths the enchantment buried beneath her dark world and learns how to wield magic alongside her swords. She will either win or die; whichever her fate, freedom is certain.


Arianna Belvedor has only ever dreamed of winning her freedom from the Four Corners—a cold and cruel city where all the children of the world are kept, each with an opportunity to earn their citizenship upon their eighteenth year. Just months away from her ultimate battle, she is certain that her notable skills as a warrior-slave (having been trained by Master Solomon Bell, a formidable mentor in Warrior’s District) will give her an edge during the annual Free Falls Festivals: Free for the slaves who earn their citizenship. Falls for the ones who die.

Alas, Arianna’s talent with a sword cannot outmaneuver the burning curiosities of her heart, leading her to reveal a shocking yet spectacular secret about King Devlindor and his long-standing reign as High King of Olleb-Yelfra.

The world as she knows it is a lie, its true spellbinding history exploited and suppressed under centuries of deceitful acts.

Her world turned upside down with new, unfathomable knowledge, Arianna must make a choice that could change her life forever—ignore the truth and continue following the path laid out for her since birth or break free from her chains and carve her own… if she can survive.

Immerse yourself in this addictive fantasy world as Arianna is thrust on a thrilling journey to uncover magic and more than earn her rights to freedom.

Belvedor and the Four Corners is a recipient of the 2017 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award.

Review

This book has a lot of potential! I found that the world was unique and interesting, it had some suspenseful action scenes, and the friendship between Arianna and Lessa was sweet. Unfortunately, though, this was not a book for me. Some points of the storyline were a little awkward like how four slaves from different districts just happened to meet as they escaped. There was also a lot of dialogue. I know that some people really enjoy this, but I prefer a balance between dialogue and colourful prose.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

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Sooo I’ve never read this series before…. I know, I know! Don’t shoot me. I was a little curious about what all the hype was about, but I never had the motivation to actually acquire copies of this series. Now that I’ve read the first book, I think I understand. J.K. Rowling creates a world that is colourful and absolutely bursting with creative attributes. There were so many times when I thought, “Wow! What a brilliant idea,” or was astounded by how unique and imaginative it all was. It makes me curious about Rowling’s thought process and also super impressed!

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Harry was, of course, a sweet and brave boy with perhaps a streak of recklessness. Sneaking a dragon up to the astronomy tower at midnight…? Well, I suppose it was for the greater

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good. I loved Ron and Hermione, Harry’s best friends. They were adorable and their friendship was admirable; although, there were definitely a few bumps in the road. Then there was also Hagrid and Dumbledore and Neville and so many more characters. I enjoyed them all! Even Snape’s creepiness was great. The negative characters gave the cast such a full dynamic. Of course, he-who-must-not-be-named was a chilling villain and the fact that everyone (except Harry) was afraid to say his name made it even more so.

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The world-building was absolutely marvellous. Rowling makes everything so vibrant and colourful that you almost, for a little while, believe Hogwarts is real and that your letter will come by owl any day.

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

The pacing of the story had a nice rhythm to it. I think because there was so much to experience and discover, I was kept engaged. I’m curious to discover if this will be the same in the following books. Which leads nicely into my last statement. I will definitely be reading the next book! I actually have already started…. If you have not read this book (which I highly doubt), then you should. If not for the enchanting story, then at least for the experience. Harry Potter is a classic (and I can see why now), so you should add it to your list alongside books such as The Chronicles of Narnia.  

Bye for now!

Harry Potter Waving GIFs | Tenor
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Book Reviews

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows

This is my second time reading The Orphan Queen and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still found myself being swept away by the story. 

“I was there was the war began. And when it ended.”

The world that Meadows creates is unique and enchanting, yet dangerous and harsh. It was thrilling to join Will as she went undercover as a refugee noblewoman and navigated the court and the streets of the Indigo Kingdom. Will was brave and kind and independent, not only in taking care of herself but also in the decisions she made. She wasn’t afraid to go against what other people wanted her to do especially if she knew it to be wrong. And Tobiah? Who is the real Tobiah? It was almost hard to get to know Blackknife because Will and him did a lot of fighting and not so much talking. Then with the prince, I was never quite sure how he actually felt about something. One thing I’m a little confused about is whether or not Tobiah knew who she was the whole time. I think he did, but I’m not sure if that was super clear.  

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“Oh, nameless girl. When will you learn to trust me?”

As for the writing style, the main thing that I really loved about this book is how Meadows is able to just sit in a scene and completely fill it out. She doesn’t just drop us in a scene for a few pages, then move on to another, she actually lets us explore it and look around a little. I think this is definitely something I can apply to my own writing! 

“A queen who wouldn’t take risks for her people wasn’t worthy of being a queen at all.”

Before we go, I do want to briefly touch on the magic element in this book. It was interesting that it’s illegal and that throughout the story, Will’s relationship with it grows; and perhaps she becomes less afraid of it. But I’m a little confused about the wraith. What exactly is it? This might be explained more in the next book. I mean, why should the readers completely understand it when the characters don’t either.    

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content, so I could fully enjoy this adventure. 

Ta ta for now!

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Uncategorized

Court of Bittern Thorn by Kay L Moody

This was an enchanting start to Kay L Moody’s new series The Fae of Bitter Thorn. The protagonist, Elora was a brave and talented mortal who loved her family deeply and did not allow the tricks and glamours of the Faerie realm to sway her. Although, sometimes she did not make the most intelligent decisions (like when she took the red ribbon off) and it frustrated me a little that she wasn’t more careful upon entering Faerie. As for Prince Brannick, I cannot say he was my favourite. My opinion of him definitely improved as the story went along, but I found that he was rather full of himself and his appearance was too perfect. I don’t know about you, but it really bugs me when the male love interest is absolutely gorgeous. It’s just unrealistic and rather cliche. 

One of my favourite things about this book was the world of Faerie that Moody created. I loved all of the sprites and brownies and the different faerie courts. It was fun to join Elora as she explored this realm and as she, in a way, fell in love with it. While the writing was good, I cannot say that I was captivated by it. Although, that could be my personal opinion of enjoying colourful and flower writing styles. 

Lastly, this was a clean read which was lovely. I always enjoy a book more when it excludes profanity and sexual content. 

Thank you to Book Sirens for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Have a happy and spooky Halloween my friends!

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Book Reviews

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This was a lovely and unique adventure! Harrow has a beautiful writing voice that is quite charming. I think it was my favourite part of the book. I found myself lost in a forest of colourful descriptions and creative similies. It was quite enjoyable to read! 

“I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return.”

Another thing I loved about this book was all the pieces that came together to form the ending. At first, when January began reading her book, I wasn’t crazy about the change. But as things went along, I became invested in this second story and wanted to discover how it would play out and fit into January’s. 

For the characters… January began as a naive and slightly timid girl, but as the story went along, she became brave and more independent. She even left her companions and finished her quest on her own. I was actually surprised at this. I had not expected this boldness from her, but at the same time, it felt right that she did this. Samuel was a sweetheart! Although, I wish their relationship was developed a bit more. But at the same time, this wasn’t the focus of the story, so it’s not a huge deal. The villain, Mr. Locke, was, yes, intimidating. However, I had a hard time transitioning from cold, unsympathetic Mr. Locke to psycho-leader-of-an-evil-society Mr. Locke. 

In terms of the plot, I can’t say it worked well for me. While I enjoyed the twist of a book within a book, at times it slowed the pacing down quite a bit. Also, the climax of the story had a different flavour than your typical YA novel. At least that it how it felt to me. There was an element of romance, but the ultimatum was the reunion of the family. It is not often that this is so central in YA literature and I liked that it resided so prominently in this book. 

Lastly, this was mostly a clean read, but there was some mild language.    

I hope you all have a fabulous day,

Emma

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Book Reviews

Shadow in the Empire of Light by Jane Routley

I was quite looking forward to this one. It sounded interesting and, amusingly, had a picture of a cat on the front just like my last read: Pawsitively Swindled

However, I will be perfectly honest with you already here at the start: I was rather disappointed and could not find the motivation to finish it. I don’t want to tear this book to shreds so I will keep my observances down to a few points. 

Firstly, there was so much talk about sex. I mean maybe I should have expected it a little as the description mentions a Fertility Festival, but I didn’t think that would mean people were simply allowed to have sex with whomever they pleased. Now, just so you know, this isn’t all explained in explicit details, but from the 30% that I read, sex is frequently mentioned or observed. 

Secondly, the plot was rather weak. There seemed to be too many other things that happened or were spoked about that bogged down the driving force that the plot could have had. 

Thirdly, this was an intriguing world. I am sad it was executed the way it was.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Reviews

Pawsitively Swindled by Melissa Erin Jackson

A Witch of Edgehill Mystery (4 book series) Kindle EditionHere we are again with another fabulous story from the cat-loving town Edgehill. This one brought together more witches and delivered a mystery that was a tricky one for Amber and her friends to solve. And get this: Today is the release day! So make sure you head on over to Amazon and purchase this wonderful book. While you’re there, you may as well get the rest of the series too! Book #1 has less than 200 ratings! It deserves more, so please take the time to check it out. Cat Silhouette Rubber Stamp

Anyway, about the book. Amber is back and I feel like she’s so much more confident about her magic. Yes, she still has her insecurities, but she is stronger than she was at the beginning. I also found that the slight trauma she has from Kieran Penhallow’s attack was really realistic. He almost killed her! Yes, of course she would have nightmares. The relationships in this book were fabulous. I loved Kim! And Jackson did a great job making her come alive. As I read, I could see her reactions. Edgar and Amber’s relationship was really sweet, but I feel so bad for Edgar! Hopefully he gets the Kieran thing figured out soon. As always Chief Brown and Amber were fun to read about and I liked that their relationship was so clearly defined. And of course Jack… I’ll be honest, I haven’t really been crazy about him, but things were better in this book. I think the thing with him is that he doesn’t really do much in terms of the action. Maybe it’s just me, but I would like it better if he was a little more involved. Slate wall sticker: cat silhouette pattern | Etsy

The plot was interesting and I did not find myself getting bored. As always, I loved the setting. We spent some time in Edgehill, but also branched out to different places. It felt like this, along with the whole magic veins thing, gave the book a wider scope. I also, really liked that there was a “Previously” section at the beginning of the book. It was a nice refresher and allows readers to jump into the series without being totally lost. 

Lastly, the ending! What’s going to happen?!?!

Altogether, I absolutely recommend this book (and the rest of the series for that matter) and I can’t wait till the grand finale in a couple of months!!!   

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Reviews

May 2020 ~ Wrap-up

Last month was crazy at work so I didn’t get a chance to do too much reading, but I still got two NetGalley reads in there. Have you read any of these books? I would love to hear what you think of them.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

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Botanical Art Techniques by The American Society of Botanical Artists

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Terraformer by Colleen Houck

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