Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

Harry Potter thought he was a totally normal kid. Until a giant by the name of Hagrid came and took him to a land of wonder far beyond his belief. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling, a boy named Harry Potter thought he was just a normal kid. But, when letters from somewhere start coming, his aunt and uncle get worried. They don’t let him see any of the letters even though he tries to get them. When so many letters come to the house that they can’t stand it, they travel to different places to try and find somewhere where they won’t be bombarded by letters. On a tiny rock out at sea, they think they are safe but when a giant named Hagrid comes to tell Harry he is a wizard everything changes. Now that Harry knows his backstory, he must go off to Hogwarts to learn magic.

            At Hogwarts, he makes many friends along the way, he also makes enemies and learns about what happened to his parents, why he is famous, and why he has a peculiar scar shaped like a lightning bolt on his forehead. He learns that an evil wizard named Voldemort (He-who-must-not-be-named or You-know-who) killed his parents and tried to kill him but, he couldn’t kill Harry. The lightning scar was where the spell had touched him. He was the only person ever to survive the Killing Curse.

            Harry gets on the Gryffindor Quidditch team and is the youngest person in a century to play. He competes to win the Quidditch Cup but, when his broom starts to go crazy, his friends must try to rescue him. They think that Professor Snape is behind it, nobody else believes them. Once Harry is safe, he catches the Snitch and makes everybody (except Slytherin) like him even more.

            He also finds the Mirror of Erised which, when you look into it, you see your heart’s deepest desire. Harry, who never really had a good family, sees his mother and father. When he tries to see it again, he is confronted by the headmaster, Dumbledore, who tells him it is being moved and not to look for it again.

            Harry goes on many more exciting adventures, some of which include fighting a troll and going into the dreaded Forbidden Forest. He makes new friends along the way too, who help him greatly along the way.

            When Harry and his friends find a plot to steal something special hidden within the school, they want to try and stop whoever is planning to steal the object. They think it is Professor Snape but, when they go through Devil’s Snare, a room with winged keys, and a giant living chess set, they find out that it is…… read the book!

            After all the exciting things that happen to Harry, he must go back to his aunt and uncle’s house for the summer but, he always comes back to Hogwarts.

            I really enjoyed the whole Harry Potter series (there are 8 books total). I thought they were very original, and they had many twists and turns within them. If you are fans of things like the Hunger Games, Divergent, or Percy Jackson, I would advise this book. Or, if you just enjoy fantasy and adventure, this could be the book series for you. This book is just as good now as it was 20 years ago. I would especially recommend it if you have seen the movies, as the books are much better than the movies (as they are with every series)

                                    I rate this book 9 ¾ (some Harry Potter humor for you).

Fahrenheit 451 novel review

 

Farenheit 451

Ray Bradbury pieces together a magnificent story of the journey against corruption in a dystopian society. The significance of the title, Fahrenheit 451, is that it is the temperature at which books burn. In this society, it is illegal to possess books because to government sees knowledge as a dangerous power that is best to be burned.

Along with this terrifying law, the duties of a fireman are completely different. Instead of saving people from fires and putting them out, firemen start the fires. They receive calls when a house needs to be burned, when someone is caught with books. They unconsciously slide down their poles and bring  along their kerosene-spewing hoses in a wailing firetruck.

People live differently, they talk to “family” the television walls in their houses, and everyone is addicted to electronics. They drive so fast on the highways that no one sees the grass or the trees or the flowers on the side of the road. Children are hit and killed on the roads, there are multiple suicides each week, and no one cares. You either fit in, or you’ll perish here.

Guy Montag is a normal citizen living in the society, and he works as a fireman. He sees nothing wrong with burning houses and books because that is how everyone does it. In fact, he loves the book burning. He adores watching the flames devour words of Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, and even the Holy Bible. But Guy is suddenly changed when his eyes are opened to the other side. When he first illegally holds a book in his hands. And he knows he’s never letting go of it.

Someone has to win, and Guy knows it can’t be the flames of evil.

Review of books one and two in “The Unwanteds Quests” series, by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds Quests

This is the sequel series to “The Unwanteds,” and I found the first two books to be disappointing.

***THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR “THE UNWANTEDS” SERIES.***

Books one and two of “The Unwanteds Quests” are in the perspective of Alex and Aaron’s younger twin sisters, Fifer and Thisbe.

Fifer and Thisbe are desperate to learn magic, as they are easily the most powerful mages in Artimé, having killed Captain Baldhead in Artimé’s final battle and destroying the silence spell on Warbler Island.

But Alex forbids them to learn, because it’s “dangerous.” They get into all sorts of trouble performing spells they shouldn’t know and sneaking out of the mansion.

Then one day, bad news arrives. Hux, the ice-blue dragon, returns to Artimé, requesting new wings for him and his siblings. The problem is, he needs them because they are enslaved and need them to do work.

Is this Fifer and Thisbe’s chance to finally use the magic they’ve been dreaming of? Find out by reading “The Unwanteds Quests.”

Rating: 2.5/5 stars. These books were depressing, with poor Alex and his unusable dominant arm. I think this was the main reason the series focused more on Thisbe and Fifer, and not Alex, because Alex can’t even do magic anymore. Some people die in the series (sorry for the slight spoiler there), so overall, not the happiest books. If you’re looking for a book or two that’ll cheer you up, this is not the place to go. Also, I found that the series was very slow, and does not speed up until halfway through the second book. I found myself zoning out many times, having to backtrack a page or so every time. (And that rarely happens with me!) There were a couple other issues I found with the series, but I couldn’t tell you without ruining the books!

Ages: 11-14

***THE SPOILERS END HERE.***

I do not recommend the first two books in “The Unwanteds Quests” series unless you read “The Unwanteds” series first. (I tried once and I only got a couple chapters in!) Also, if you dislike sad books, do not read them. However, if you can’t wait to know what happens next, go ahead!

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

Beloved by millions of enthusiastic readers and despised by only few, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is definitely a book everyone, if reader or non-reader, has at least heard of. I began to read this book the day of Harper Lee’s death and was immediately taken on an interesting ride through the story of American small town Maycomb, Alabama, with its unforgettable characters. It is impossible to really summarize what the novel is essentially about as it covers so many different subjects.  The blurb does fairly well with describing this as “compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, [taking] readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos”.

Of course, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is considered to be a must-read novel for everyone, but if I had to recommend it to a specific audience, it would be to those people who want to make a difference in the ways of the world.

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Restart by Gordon Korman

Restart

What would it be like to start over? What if you were a bully extraordinaire and everyone was scared to face you in the school hall? What if you were a talented football star who suddenly is forced to stand on the sidelines and watch your friends play without you? All this, and MORE happens to Chase Ambrose in Restart by Gordon Korman.

During one of his outrageous adventures, he falls off the roof of his house and suffers injuries. In time, his physical injuries will heal, but most distressing is his Amnesia. He cannot remember anything or anybody that was part of his previous 13 years. He doesn’t even remember his family! As he prepares to go back to school for the start of 8th grade, snippets of flash-backing memory slowly creep into his brain. It’s distressing, though, because he cannot make sense of them. The kids at school avoid him, except for his friends, Aaron and Bear…and, yet they seem to be bullies. Now, Chase wants nothing to do with their vindictiveness and hatred. He tries to reach out to others in the school, but how can they possibly forget what Chase has done to them in the past?

Eventually the video club embraces him but some members are still wary. Chase tries to apologize and let his new-found kindess shine through, but as with all hurtfulness , it takes time to alleviate the effects.

Will his memory ever come back? And, how will he handle the realization of his wrong-doings? Will others accept his new persona? Restart is begging to be read as a group, especially as a read-aloud, since discussion about bullies and their hate will surely need to be addressed. This book speaks to the power of forgiveness, kindness, criminal acts, and retribution. A lesson can be learned from this….can restarting one’s life erase the past? Maybe, maybe not, but how does one move forward and how do others get past the hurt inflicted?

Greetings from Witness Protection by: Jake Burt

Greetings From Witness Protection

This book is on the Middle School Battle of the Books list for this year. It was the first book that I had read, and it set the bar pretty high. As I have now read all the books, I can safely say that this was my favorite book.

The book is about a girl named Nicki Demere who was raised by her grandmother, who’s dad is in prison and mom is unknown. Nicki was raised by somewhat of a bad family. She was taught to pickpocket by her grandmother. This was a big part of her life and still has a big impact on her now. She can’t wear gloves and has the need to steal things (also called kleptomania). After her grandmother died, she went and lived in an orphanage and different foster homes in New York until she was recruited. Recruited into what you ask? Well, it is the WITSAC.

It is a project that tries to go to lengths to protect families that are in severe danger. The Sicurzzas are in grave danger after the mother testifies against her mob family. Her brother, one of the most known and one of the most dangerous mob bosses out there, is determined to hunt her and her family down. Nicki was recruited and trained to be inserted into that family in order to try and protect them from harm. They would get new identities, looks, and family bonds. They must move to a new state; meet new people and try to live as if they are a normal family. Along the way, Nicki (now known as Charlotte) makes friends and tries to survive middle school while trying to control and hide her pick pocketing skills. She meets more people than she thinks she would and meets one person that she has a big impact on.

But, when the mob family that was hunting them finds their new location, they must figure out what to do while not getting injured or dying in the process. Nicki’s father comes and tries to take her back and things get even more messy.

Will her father take her away to somewhere where she won’t ever see anybody she has grown to love again, or will she fight back and stay with them? To find out, you should read Greetings from Witness Protection.

I greatly enjoyed this book, it had many exciting twists and turns and had a good plot line. It was exciting to see Nicki grow as a person along the way, while making new friends and trying to not become friends with other people. I would recommend this book as it was very good.

The Awakening

Mud Ball

Part 2

You may be wondering what I meant by saying that I was only pretending to be a Glacier. Well…. I have the powers of a Furry, a Cylcone, a Groundshakers, and a Glacier. It is dangerous to be apart of just one faction, let alone all four.

When I first got to Hammond they shot a girl like me right in front of us saying that anyone like her would suffer a similar fate.

 

I was pushed out of the van without warning, so I had no time to even think of breaking my fall. I got a face full of dirt. Sometime between the time I was taken and now it started to rain. Not too much but enough for dirt to turn to mud.

I was yanked up harshly and onto my feet. There were many nondescript vans parked near mine. While I was out they must have picked up others because more men were pulling them out the same way they had did me.

A man was barking orders to get us all in lines separated by gender. He was a large man and what little hair he had left was snow white and scruffy. His voice was as if you scraped sandpaper down his throat. He opened his mouth to bark out another order when he was cut off by girl no older than me flinging a guard against the wall.

The girl had just flicked her hand and the guard was sent flying feet away with a gust of wind. With another flick of her hand, the rain started to gather and form a ball with the mud. In seconds she had a dozen identical balls of rain water and mud ready to take aim at anyone.

She turned to the man and raised her right arm to take her aim. Her face had an expression of pure and unfettered hatred and anger.

There was a loud pop that made my ears start to ring. The girl crumpled to the ground and with her so did the balls of rain and mud.

“Put her in the cell,” barked the huge man with a face filled with so much disgust. After she was taken away, he turned to us. “Now listen you freaks, if any of you try to escape or even so much hint that you have more than just one power, we will not hesitate to take you out. Your old life is over,” he ended with a smirk.

Some people started to cry, I would’ve have too if I wasn’t so shocked.

‘She’s like me. She has more than one power. Oh are they going to kill me too when they find out. –No Sam, they won’t. They are not going to find out. No matter what.’

After the director left, we were pushed into a facility that held a lot of equipment.

 

“Keep moving, Glacier,” a guard shouted at me, roughly nudging me with the butt of his rifle.

That made me move twice as fast blending back with the other Glaciers without any complaints. Here at Hammond to complain is to draw attention to yourself. To draw attention to yourself is to die.