Sunday, March 30, 2008

Harry Potters #1 and #2

Cross-posted at

I’m wondering if I am the last one on earth to start this series?! At least I won’t have to worry about spoilers!

This first Harry Potter was delightful, and though I won’t be fanatical about it like most people are, I did enjoy it quite a bit. It was a much better book than I was expecting, and I really liked the fact that I didn’t expect Professor Quirrell at all. I saw the movie a few days after reading it and I thought they got the casting of Harry, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape just right. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

1997, 320 pp
Rating: 4

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was just as good as the first book, and once again, I didn’t guess the ending, which made me very happy. Moaning Myrtle and Gilderoy Lockhart were great and funny additions to the storyline. As in The Sorcerer’s Stone, I watched the movie right after reading the book. I did enjoy the film, but it was a little anti-climactic after just finishing the book so soon before.

For books 3-5, I decided I’m going to watch the movies first and then read the books. Then with 6 and 7 I’ll read the books first again. My husband and kids are listening to the audio CD’s and enjoying the series as well.

1998, 341 pp.
Rating: 4

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Morality for Beautiful Girls

All Alexander McCall Smith books are recommended by Orson Scott Card, so this one qualifies!

In this 3rd book of the No. 1 Ladies Dectective Agency series, Mma Ramotswe continues to run her business, but in a new local, while Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni experiences an illness. Mma Ramotswe takes on a case with a government man regarding his concerns that his brother is being poisoned by his wife and Mma Makutsi steps it up by running the two businesses. She also brings in some cash with a beauty pageant assignment.

This one was a little slow for me, but I still thought there were some interesting little tidbits. I liked how the morality issue subtly came into play with the cases they were involved in and how they personally dealt with them. All in all, it was a comfortable, but just okay read.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

My review of this book can be found on my blog: A Reader's Journal.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Review: Red Prophet (Tales of Alvin Maker)

Author: Orson Scott Card

Pages: 320

Genre: Fiction/Sci Fi. & Fantasy/Epic/Series

Personal Rating: 2.5/5

From the back cover:

It's the 19th century, and Napoleon is in command of an army in Detroit. Andrew Jackson is a lawyer from Tenezzy, and William Henry Harrison is the self-appointed governor of Wobbish just east of the Mizzipy River. And somewhere up north, in a small town called Vigor Church, is a young boy named Alvin who is the seventh son of a seventh son, with the power to shape the world around him. These are the tales of Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker, which takes place in an alternate American history where folk magic really works. And this is the story of the Red Prophet, where Alvin finds himself caught in a war between the Red men and the Whites on the American frontier.
Book II from Tales of Alvin Maker was not my cup of tea. If it wasn't the second book in a series for the Series Challenge and if I had not enjoyed Book I, I probably would have stopped reading. It's not that it was a terrible story, or horribly written (quite the opposite actually). It just wasn't my thing.

The focus of Book II is Alvin's relationship with the Red Prophet and Ta-Kumsaw (the Prophet's brother) and the impending war between the Whites and the Reds. I'm sure it is important for the foundation of the series but as a stand alone novel I found it boring. There was a lot of foreshadowing involved so I'm pretty sure you couldn't just skip this book and move on with the novel.

There were sections I found very interesting and hope to find more sections like those in the upcoming books. Alvin using his knack for healing, references to the Torch, who pulled the caul from Calvin's face when he was born. The prophet's visions of Alvin's future with the crystal towers were all topics i found interesting and wished were covered in more detailed.

I wouldn't abandon the series based on this book alone. It seems that many people really enjoyed book II. I'm however ready to move onto Book III.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dreams Underfoot

This is my first book for the Cardathon challenge and my first post so I hope I'm doing it right and posting in the right place!

The list of suggested titles for this challenge says, 'Anything by Charles De Lint', so this anthology by him qualifies quite nicely.

This is the book many fans of De Lint's 'Newford' series suggest you start with if you're going to read this urban fantasy series. I don't know if that's right or wrong, only that it seemed to give me an excellent introduction to the people that inhabit this universe.

'Newford' is a city, peopled by all kinds of weird and wonderful characters who recur and are connected throughout the books. Christy Riddell, a writer and collector of folk tales and myths, is a focal point but so is a friend of his, Jilly Coppercorn, who is close to Christy's brother, Geordie. Their friends come into it and there are many stand alone stories but always there is a link somewhere. And always there are fantastic things going on that shouldn't be real but just might be...

It sounds confusing but I can promise you it's not. If anyone had told me I would read and love urban fantasy this much I would have laughed at them, but I do! The stories encourage a laid-back sort of enjoyment that you don't often come across - Alexander McCall Smith is another such author - you just feel as though you don't want to rush them, which is why I've taken two months to read this book. Anyway, I certainly plan to read a lot more in this series and am so pleased to have discovered it.