… and then I was finished with The Boy Who Lived

… Or, the story of how Slytherin got screwed over every. Damn. Time.

If you have been keeping up with my goodreads account (http://www.goodreads.com/kalliste) you will have noticed I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series, for a really, really, long time. This post may contain spoilers but as I am possibly the only person in the world to only have read it for the first time this year I don’t think that matters.

I’m not sure if the title or sub title gave it away but I wasn’t a huge fan of Harry’s… The supporting characters were more interesting and less worthy of being stabbed in the eye with a fork as far as I’m concerned. One in particular, the wonderfully quirky Snape.  I love a villain and even if Snape wasn’t the real big bad I still enjoyed him being an incredible annoyance to Harry. Given the chance, I’d pat Snape on the shoulder and tell him “don’t worry, the boy who lived got nothing on you half blood prince”.

Speaking of the Half Blood Prince, I think it was my favourite of the books with Prisoner of Azkaban a close second. It was a bit darker than the books before it, it gave us more on why Snape is the way he is,  it was an insight into Voldemort that we hadn’t seen before and then Dumbledore dies and everyone’s mind = blown.

Oh and Prisoner of Azkaban introduced us to Sirius, enough said.

Least favourite? Goblet of Fire of course. If you’re wondering why it took me 10 months to finish the series, this is your answer. If anyone ever asks me to a Quidditch World Cup, I will give them a hearty “hell no!” because apparently they take more than 100 pages and are possibly the most boring event in the history of man. Until the death eaters start causing some havoc, that is.

Overall it was a good read, if a little long… I don’t think I’ve ever read a series with quite so many pages. I wish it had been less predictable though. Harry is introduced as our good guy in white who learns about his mirror, the dark Voldemort who’s this terrible villainous wizard that everyone is incredibly afraid of. From the get go you automatically expect that Harry will triumph over Voldemort, it’s just a case of finding out how… thousands of pages for it to end up just how you expected it too. I hoped for something more.

That isn’t to say it wasn’t written well, in a world where Twilight is considered well written Young Adult fiction it is good to have something else that stands up against it as an example of what happens when Young Adult fiction is written well. I’d be much happier to have kids/teens brought up in a Harry Potter world of wizards and predictability than a world of  sparkling vampires that ruined a genre.

If only Voldemort had ruled supreme though or Harry died and somehow Voldemort was still defeated. Anything would have been better than the obvious.

Plus, if that had happened, we probably would never have had to be subjected to the name Albus Severus Potter.

A better, brighter you

My last post mentioned a book that started it all. I received a few comments from people interested to know more about it. The book was You inc. which claims to help you “attract amazing success into your life and business”  which I imagine every other self help book claims as well. Initially I was pretty reluctant to read it, I would never have read it if my boss (at the time) hadn’t suggested it or you know, bought it for me to read. He was investing time in me and the least I could do was invest some time in improving myself right? Right!

The book itself is separated into 4 parts: You+, You+Business, You+Leadership and You+Sales, I have to admit that I didn’t finish the Sales section or enjoy the Business section. That is  just me though, maybe you have aspirations of building your own business and selling the idea to anyone that will listen and it will give you that big idea. The part for me that was most useful was the “You+” section, eventually anyway. As I mentioned, I was reluctant to read it and wasn’t willing to put to much of myself into it until it came to a question, THE question as I think of it, the question that changed everything:

Are you living in the place where you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work, on purpose?

I thought about it and the answer scared me. I didn’t feel like where I was living was home, I wasn’t sure about the person I was with but I did enjoy my work. I hadn’t purposely chosen to be there though, I had sort of fallen into everything that had happened to me never really pushing myself to do anything. Which was pretty much the story of my life.

It is a pretty big day when you realise you’re not really living your life and making all your decisions from fear and mostly, that one line in a book can make you open your eyes and decide it’s time to change it all.

So that is what this book did for me, it made me think about what I wanted and what I didn’t have but it did it actually make me change anything? No it didn’t, I needed a bigger push for that but it did open my mind to a new way of thinking. That being said, I imagine if I never took the time to read it I would  probably still be where I was 12 months ago feeling helpless about what to do about anything and everything.

I’d recommend giving it a try though if you’re looking for a little, or maybe a big push into the right direction to making life better for yourself.

Reviewed: Going to Far

Going Too FarGoing Too Far by Jennifer Echols
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was all to predictable and the plot just seemed all kinds of unlikely.

Going to Far is the story of rebelious Meg who ends up in gaol one night and is assigned one week riding around in a cop car to see the real world… I suppose. Enter John, all round good guy who wants to save the world. Doesn’t hurt that he is pretty too right?

Guess what happens? I bet you can. The book is narrated by Meg and it just, hurts. I hated her as a character in the first 5 pages and the big reveal (if you can call it that) doesn’t change my mind. I can feel anything but annoyed with her throughout.

In my opinion John is far too patient and possibly just plain stupid.

Although, it is an MTV book… I’ve never heard of that but it doesn’t surprise me this is what one is like.

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Reviewed: Stresshead

StressheadStresshead by Allayne Webster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an easy, afternoon read. I didn’t realise how quickly I was getting through it.

Stresshead is the story of Den (Denise) who is from a family of lawyers and is always stressing and worrying about pretty much anything and everything and then she gets something important to worry about and begins to think about what really matters in life.

I’m not sure I really liked Den too much, mainly because of her stressing and worrying about absolutely everything but the supporting characters were great. That is a trend with me though. I rarely ever like main characters.

The book in some parts felt a bit rushed, it would have been great to have more time spent with the supporting characters to see them for themselves rather than just extensions of Den.

A good ready for teenagers who always think everything is the end of the world.

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Reviewed: The Sleeping Beauty Proposal

The Sleeping Beauty ProposalThe Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I only picked this book up because I was assured it didn’t follow the formula that all chick lit appears to follow. This was the book that was going to convince me that it wasn’t all desparate/meek/heartbroken women who finally have that light bulb moment.

If you’ve been told the same, well I’m sorry to disappoint because this is exactly one of those books. The standard women breaks up with boyfriend/husband in a traumatic way and then, after moping for a few weeks/months realises shes worth more. Enter in handsome but argumentative man who she couldn’t possibly fall in love with but, ultimately, finds herself attracted too and while protagonist is your regular Mary Jane it turns out that handsome man loves/adores/wants her at first glance.

Enter some dull twist and then BAM! story written.

Hope I didn’t spoil you, but then if you’re reading chick lit you know all that already.

I did really like how the characters were written though and at least Genie didn’t sit down and whine for 50% of the book.

Unfortunately, other than an out of character twist it was all too predictable.

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