Books

Book 571: Just Julian (Romeo & Julian #2) – Markus Harwood-Jones

I started Romeo for Real the morning after I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I finished before I got to work. That afternoon on the bus home I read this one and finished it before bed. Not only are these short works, but they are hi/lo novels that are designed for reluctant readers with easier language and fast paced as I found out when I got them from NetGalley*

It’s hard to separate this from Romeo for Real because they are the same story from opposite perspectives. I wouldn’t usually be mad at a decision to write like this, but the fact that they are separated into two books is frustrating. Neither book can stand on its own without leaving SO many questions unanswered and even together the two books don’t have enough character development to make them worth it.

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Books

Book 570: Romeo for Real (Romeo & Julian #1) – Markus Harwood-Jones

This book and the next book are companion novels, so they are intertwined. They are also apparently hi/lo novels, novels “intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged.” And even knowing this I’m not sure they hit the mark.

I grabbed copies of these from NetGalley last month and only just got around to reading them in early August* because who doesn’t love an LGBT retelling of a classic? I know I do. Unfortunately, this part of the story, at least to my memory, was at such a minimum and tangential level it didn’t really work for me. It mostly came across in the main character’s names, Romeo Montague and Julian Capulet, and the very short time frame of the book.

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Books

Book 569: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – J.K. Rowling

This book more than the first four has changed more than any of the others re-reading it this time. I’m not sure what it is that clicked for me, but it wasn’t as much of a slog and I wasn’t as annoyed with Harry as I was every other time I read this book. I did find that the books have merged more and more into one continuous story now and as I re-read them it jogs my memory back into place but everything after the book I’m reading is a bit mixed up.

For some reason it took just until this re-read that I realized that a good portion of why Harry is so angry is not just his teenage angst, but also probably Voldemort’s anger coming through Harry. I mean Harry thwarted Voldermort’s plans of returning completely in secret and there wasn’t a lot going right for Voldemort in the four years prior to this. So Harry’s teenage angst plus Voldemort’s anger equals whiny little git.

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Books

Book 568: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) – J.K. Rowling

The primary reason I will always advocate this book series over the films is the amount of detail Rowling includes to flesh out her characters and her stories. From the minor characters that aren’t even mentioned in the films to the side adventures Harry, Ron and Hermione take somewhat regularly you’re missing out on so much if you’ve never read the books.

And the text books and books Hermione reads! OMG, so many are just throw away lines and titles but what I wouldn’t give to read An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe or Hogwarts: A History or any of the others that are mentioned! I actually got super excited that she’d released Hogwarts: A History, but it’s actually Harry Potter: A History of Magic (Pottermore link). I guess I can’t really be mad, but fingers crossed it’s next!

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Books

Book 567: Mary B – Katherine Chen

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one. I’m always open for a bit of Austen fan-fiction so when someone from the publisher reached out to me about this one I figured why not?*

I’m not one of those who is obsessed with any particular character of Jane Austen’s like the author. I love the broad strokes of her stories and the general caricatures and stereotypes she works in across all her work. So when the fan-fiction gets super specific, like this one, I’m never quite sure what will come out of it. Will I enjoy this authors take on the character? Will they stay true to not only Austen’s works but the generally accepted views of the character? Will it be enjoyable and readable?

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Books

Book 566: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. Rowling

This re-read, like each one before it, is about what I noticed more this time than I did the other times I’ve read the books. The older I get the more my perspective changes and the more I’m like oh yeah that makes sense from an adult perspective but then I’m also like OMG WHY IS NO ONE PROTECTING THESE CHILDREN? That and of course how young Harry, Ron, and Hermione (who are 13ish in this book, and all the other teenagers that end up fighting Voldemort)! It’s crazy.

Even more than those two things above, the thing that got me reading this book was how lackadaisical the wizarding parents seemed in this book. Sure it gets worse in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

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Books

Book 565: Superhero Ethics – Travis Smith

With my vested interest in the multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) (aka I see all of the films as they’re released) and my passing interest in the DC universe now Wonder Woman has made her powerful interest, of course I had to say yes when the publicist reached out about this book.*

After saying yes and reading this, I’m not sure I should have. There were some major flaws in this book mostly having to do with gender and misogyny. I don’t want to harp on about this, but that’s probably what this post is going to end up being. Smith chose 10 comic book heroes (first appearances): The Hulk (1962), Wolverine (1974), Green Lantern (1940), Iron Man (1963), Batman (1939), Spider-Man (1962), Captain America (1941), Mr. Fantastic (1961), Thor (1962), and Superman (1938), and pitted them against each other in an “epic” ethics battle. What’s the obvious thing about these ten heroes? They’re all men. [Want to skip this tirade? Skip 6 paragraphs down.

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