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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Book #7: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling

I finally did it, I started reading Harry Potter! Everyone was telling m to for ages and the internet has loved the series since it first came out. I however had never read it, and never watched the movies. Being an avid internet-user however I knew the basic plot of the story, the main characters and a skeleton idea of how the series progressed because you can’t follow most video-bloggers or tumblr accounts without getting Harry Potter “spoilers”.

Well, I’ll just say it. I wasn’t blown away. I’m sorry avid fans, please don’t tear me apart or come murder me in my sleep! It’s just really not my type of book… I shan’t be finishing the series I’m afraid, but I can at least now say I’ve tried.
It my sound pious and get on your nerves, but I’m afraid I just couldn’t get over the whole aspect of witches and wizards being “good”. Witches and wizards are not good. They’re evil. Withcraft is evil and these books are glorifying it and making it look good.

Summary: (courtesy of the back of the book, Raincoast publication)

Harry Potter thinks he’s an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The reason: Harry Potter is a Wizard!

Sorry all, but that is my biased opinion. I won’t put a rating on this one because the reason I didn’t like it had nothing to do with the writing, but the topic. The writing style was fine but it was obvious that The Philosopher’s Stone was written as a children’s book and thereby didn’t grab my attention in the same way an adult book does.

DFTBA!
– Becky.

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Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Book #9: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball
by Donita K. Paul (Fantasy/Romance/Christmas/Inspriational)

I read this book the day after the last review I wrote, I just never wrote a review for it so…here’s a really brief one, again. Sorry!

This book is written by, again, one of my favourite authors, Donita K. Paul! =) My mum was picking up Dragons on the Valley from the library for me and saw this book and thought i might like it so she picked it up too! This one doesn’t take place in a fantastical world, it takes place in earth, but that being said, it is fantasy, there are wizards and disappearing/reappearing locations and stuff, but it’s fun, good characters.

This book is also filled with Christian stuff, much more openly than the full-on fantasy books that Donita writes. Cora (main female character) is a relatively new christian and Simon (main male character) and his sister Sandy come from a Christian family. Simon’s family encourage Cora as she grows in her faith and Simon chats with his pastor who gives him advice and jokes around (nice guy, not a main character though).

I really liked the characters, they were likeable and they were real, like they weren’t fake people or unrealistic people. They got angry, they misunderstood each other, they were nice, they worked overtime, they were paranoid, they had messed up family lives, they doubted themselves, they were real. Cora and Simon were good characters, nice people, cute couple, but Simon’s special needs sister, Sandy, was the one who made the book for me. She was adorable =) She said what she thought and noticed things others missed. She was the best, very loveable.

Okay I’m stealing an unspoiler-filled summary from Donita K. Paul’s website because I don’t feel like writing my own on right now.

“In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.

This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?”

Overall:  8 out of 10 stars. It was a really sweet book and I quite enjoyed it, but I don’t think I would buy it.

I’m going to write another review immediately so that that book doesn’t get forgotten like this one almost was. Okay, doodle-loo!
– Becky

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Filed under Christmas, Fantasy, Inspirational Book, Romance

The Vanishing Sculptor

Book #5: The Vanishing Sculptor
by Donita K. Paul (Fantasy)
(republished as The Dragons of Chiril)

So Donita Paul is the author of one of my favourite book series, The DragonKeeper Chronicles so when I saw this book in the library yesterday (yes, yesterday) I didn’t hesitate a moment before taking it out (on my mum’s library card, I have unpaid fines on mine… ;D). I wasn’t disappointed, although I am glad that this is a first of a new series by Donita Paul because the ending wasn’t quite satisfactory for me…but more on that later! Donita is a great writer and I always love her stuff and her ability to make you love the characters she creates (the good characters that is!)

This is a fantasy book so it, obviously, takes place in a fictional world. It takes place in the same world as the DragonKeeper books but in a different country (Chiril, rather than Amara). It does have some names DragonKeeper fans will recognize though, I squealed with delight upon discovering this, yes, literally squealed, I’m cool okay!

Now I just wanna point out, the few random illustrations in the copy I read are, well, they don’t relate to the book at all… I’m an idiot, I just re-looked at the illustrations. There are four illustrations in the book and each of them is the statue that is mentioned in that chapter. Okay, they’re a little crudely drawn, but they DO relate to the book =D My bad…

The book could be looked upon as allegorical, Donita Paul is a Christian author and if you choose to look at it as such, this book documents the spreading of the gospel to a land that’s never heard it and how it can change and save lives. I look at it from that perspective, but even if you choose not to, the plot is great.

There is sort of a romantic subplot but it doesn’t get resolved in this book which is why I’m going to read the sequel soon. I need this to be resolved!!!! =D

Also I like these books because they don’t have humans. There’s the seven high races and the seven low races. If my memory serves my right from the DragonKeeper books, the seven high races (emerlindians, kimens, mariones, o’rants, tumanhofers, doneels, and urohms) were created by Wulder (“God”, the world’s creator). The seven low races (bisonbecks, blimmets, grawligs, mordakleeps, quiss’, rompas, and schoergs) were created by an evil guy, I think he was a wizard, and he made them to try and prove he was as powerful as Wulder. He failed and his creations were twisted and evil. O’rants would be the closest you can get to a human. Emerlindians are like elves and the main character in this book, Tipper, is a young emerlindian woman.

Ready? Let’s go…

**SPOILERS** (One of those summaries that makes watching paint dry look exciting, jk =D I hope…)

Tipper’s father has been gone for years. He was an incredibly skilled sculptor but they don’t know where he is and they don’t know why he left. Her mother, who is the banished daughter of the King and Queen of Chiril, seems to have gone slightly mad and appears to be living in an imaginary world where she is still in communication with her husband. Tipper is watched over by Sir Beccaroon, the local magistrate and a family friend. Sir Beccaroon is also a Grand Parrot, and magnificent speaking bird reaching about to Tipper’s waist. Tipper has been forced to sell most of her father’s sculptures to pay for family expenses in his absence. One day an aspiring tumanhofer artist arrives at the house demanding to see the famed artist Verrin Schope. Tipper manages to get rid of him and a couple days later her father suddenly appears with two guests. Tipper learns that Verrin has somehow contracted a condition that causes him to come apart into particles and then reform next to a certain “gateway” (a sort of doorway that goes from place to place, country to country, etc depending on how it’s built). With him have come the Wizard Fenworth and his librarian, Librettowit from Amara. They were the ones to build the gateway in the first place and are now trying to find a way to untangle Verrin’s connection to it. While away with the wizard and librarian (the gateway went from Verrin’s house to Fenworth’s, it was built before the Schope’s house) Verrin Schope has learned about Wulder and is eager to share the news with his friends back in Chirul. The wizard and his librarian have determined that to cure Verrin Schope’s problem with coming apart and reconstructing, they need to join three of his sculptures together because they were originally of one stone, one of Wulder’s foundation stones. The problem is all three of the sculptures have been sold over the years. Thus begins a quest to find the three sculptures. The tumanhofer artist, Bealomondore, is asked to join the party because, having studied all of Verrin Schope’s work he has the best idea of where to find each sculpture. Along with the party come four minor dragons (minor dragons are small, about the size of a kitten usually, they only communicate through mindspeaking and only certain people can hear them, and they each have gifts, like music or healing or hope). Wizard Fenworth quickly decides it would be much more convenient to have some riding dragons so they go to the Sunset Mountains. Here they find dragons, but they also find a Dragon Keeper. Under the advice of his mentor  the Dragon Keeper, Prince Jayrus, agrees to lend the company riding dragons, but he will accompany them on their quest. Prince Jayrus is a young emerlindian man and it’s later discovered by Fenworth and Librettowit that he is the Paladin of Chiril, “the educator, encourager, exhorter, spokesman for Wulder, interpreter of the principles, leader” (Page 321). In the process of getting the final sculptures the questers are kidnapped and Lady Peg (Tipper’s mother, who has joined them after visiting her sister) is to be forced to the throne and used as a pawn for the villain to rule Chiril. They use a gateway to enter the palace and overthrow the King and Queen but thankfully Fenworth is able to defeat the villain (evil wizard) in time and save everyone. The three sculptures are all gained and placed together correctly, fixing both the gateway and Verrin Schope. Paladin (Prince Jayrus) helps Lady Peg and her mother reunite and we are left with a happy family, but knowing that Tipper quite fancies the prince going so far as to ask her father is Paladin’s are allowed to marry. This is way the ending is unsatisfactory but also a good ending because it makes you want to read the sequel. I am going to request it at my library ASAP because my brain is screaming “DO TIPPER AND JAYRUS GET TOGETHER?” and it’s getting kinda annoying listening to that so…

Overall: 8 out of 10 stars (I still like the DragonKeeper Chronicles better, though I guess I haven’t read the rest of this series… =D)
Unrelated sidenote: I have another blog on which I publish poetry I’ve written, so if you care to check that out, please, by all means, go ahead! http://random-orange-juice.blogspot.com

Hope to see you soon!
– Becky

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Youth/Children's