Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Wrap-Up

On the personal front, this month hasn't been very good. I don't want to get too into it - and give away TMI - but I've been feeling poorly for the past 2-3 months and March was especially bad. Here's hoping this is the 'worse' before it gets better. :)

Because of that, I've not had a lot of energy or desire to blog or read like I really want to. I feel like my reading has suffered this month because of it.

At least I thought that until I saw this list of books I read.


I really didn't think I'd read this many.

What I've been reading...

Starbridge by A.C. Crispin - **** - Review
Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey - ****
Thief by Ava March - ***

Radiance by Grace Draven - ****
The Dreamer's Curse by Honor Raconteur - ***** - Review 4/6
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine - **** - Review 4/13

Loki: Agent of Asgard: Trust Me by Al Ewing - ****
Madly by Amy Alward - **** - Review 4/20
Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge - ***

Discreet Young Gentleman by M.J. Pearson - **** - Thoughts
The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan - *****
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - ***

I would like to add that I've found a new author in Grace Draven that I'm totally going to read more by whenever I'm in the mood for fantasy romance. Which, interestingly enough, is becoming more and more common.

Buying ban information to date...
I can buy/get free 1 book for every 5 I read.
Series continuations are free.

Physical books read: 44
E-books read: 29

Physical books bought: 4
E-books bought: 7

What I've been watching…
(LOL What haven't I been watching?)

I finally finished The Book of Bantorra and…pretty much hated it. Let's just leave it at that. Also finally finished season 2 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. While I didn't hate it, I do hate Tommy Oliver and how they keep shoving him down your throat.

I rewatched Tales of the Abyss (again) and, honestly, I think I like the show more each time I watch it. Also rewatched season 1 of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan and I love that show! Finally, I rewatched season 4 of Numb3rs…I think I'm inadvertently just rewatching the whole series because I've already started season 5...

Watched Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky. (Whew, that's a title.) I really enjoyed it. A lot more than I expected to and now, not only do I want to buy my own copy, (it was a borrow from my brother) but I also want to play the game/s it's from. I don't suppose they were localized, were they?

I've also started a couple of other shows: Psychic Squad and Guilty Crown. I've not finished either of them yet, but so far I've enjoyed both of them.

And Naruto. More Naruto. I've now seen 140 episodes of Shippuden. … I think I'm becoming slightly obsessed with this show…

So, that's the end of March. I'm really feeling at loose ends - I almost feel like I can't tell what month it is because of the crazy weather we've been having. In the last two weeks, we've been colder than we were in the previous two months! LOL At least I have these monthly wrap-ups to help me keep track of the month!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2016 Challenges - First Quarter Update

Well, the first three months of 2016 are over and it's time for me to update how my reading challenges have been going. Over all, I'm really pleased with my reading - though I know I could do a little better.

Pages of Starlight's Chunky-Book Challenge
(Adult 400+ YA 500+)
I plan to read 12 chunky books this year - or as many as I can find that sounds good, whichever comes first.

Title - Author Here
The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Total books read in January: 1
Total books read in February: 1
Total books read in March: 0

Pages of Starlight's Finish-the-Series Challenge
My goal is to finish 7 series this year.
I'm also including series I've caught up on if there's no indication when it'll be finished.

Series by Author Finished
Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding
Cold Steel and Secrets by Rosemary Jones
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Forgotten Ages by Lindsay Buroker
The Lovegrove Legacy by Alyxandra Harvey
Cruel Beauty Universe by Rosamund Hodge
Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan

Total series finished in January: 2
Total series finished in February: 2
Total series finished in March: 3

Pages of Starlight's TBR-Clean-Up Challenge
Finally read some of those books I've had on my TBR list for over a year.
Not my physical TBR.

Book - Author Here
Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Wearing the Cape: The Beginning by Marion G. Harmon
Beneath the Surface by Lindsay Buroker
Cold Steel and Secrets: Part 1 by Rosemary Jones
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Fortune Hunter by Diane Farr
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne
Starbridge by A.C. Crispin
Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Total books read in January: 8
Total books read in February: 2
Total books read in March: 2

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Best Books I've Recently Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

What is recent? Seriously once I quit celebrating the idea of getting to share with you some of the awesome books I've been reading, that's the question that came to my mind. I've decided to include a few of those books I read really late last year, because I love them but they've not been able to get on any list or even my end-of-year post thing-y.

What I did was go through Goodreads and listed every book I'd rated five stars since the end of December. Then I was left wondering what is this madness of having to narrow that down to ten. Finally, I managed to do just that

Monday, March 28, 2016

March Book Haul

Another month, another few dozen books! LOL

Actually, no. I did really well this month not going crazy with the buying everything in sight. In fact, the first three books were ordered last month, but I didn't get them in until this month.

You see, I'm trying to save my money. I need to buy some stuff to do some basic maintenance around my blackberry plants. (Stuff that I totally should have done last fall!) Also, I'm working on saving my money to buy myself a PS Vita. There are several games I want to play only available on that console. Hopefully sometime down the road I'll also have money for a PlayStation 4 (or 5?) because I'd love to have one.

But, you're here about the books, right?

Physical Books...

Thorn by Intisar Khanani
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Earth Star by Janet Edwards

On Kindle...

Thief by Ava March
Madly by Amy Alward

Buying ban information to date...
I can buy/get free 1 book for every 5 I read.
Series continuations are free.

Physical books read: 42
E-books read: 26

Physical books bought: 4

E-books bought: 7

Okay, so I've been buying way too many ebooks and that needs to be halted so I can catch up. But, over all, I've really been happy with this ban. And I'm thinking that soon I'll be going off it.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Why I Love Backlist Books (and why you should too)

Recently I've been seeing quite a few bloggers talking about reading 'backlisted' books. Basically, all that means is a book that was publish a while ago - NOT the new book that everyone is talking about. Usually, it sees to be a book that was not published this year.

Even before this, I read a lot of backlist books. In fact, the book I was reading earlier this month, inspired this post. It was first published in 1989!

See, I do understand the desire to read the new book that everyone is talking about. There've been books that I'm sort of interested in, but then the level of blogger excitement causes me to read the book when I might have given it a pass. (Needless to say, not always to the best results.)

But, if you need convincing, here's five great reasons to give that old book you've been meaning to read a shot.

#1 There's just something about the writing style.
There's something different about the writing style of books from the 80's and 90's. Maybe it's because of the books I read growing up, but I like the style of writing. It's comfortable. The word choices and sentences just feel different than the newer books.

#2 Fun!
In this day and age, most books are going the 'darker and edgier' route. While I do enjoy that occasionally, I am mostly a fan of fun books. Grimdark doesn't interest me - and it wasn't quite so much of a thing in older books.

#3 They're unknown and untalked about.
Sure, it can be a little lonely reading these sort of books, but, you know, you can also get people interested in a book they might never have come across before.

#4 Uniqueness in a sea of 'this again?'
I love backlist books because they're something different than the current trends and offer a lot more selection. Sometimes new books all start sounding the same, but that's never a concern with older books.

#5 They're cheaper!
Self-explanatory, no? Even buying a book new - if you can actually find it - they're usually cheaper than the current new books. (Partially, I think, because they were most trade/mass-market paperbacks.) But, also, even buying them used, they're usually quite a lot cheaper than new books!

Have I convinced you yet to give 'backlist books' more of a chance? Or do you already know how awesome backlist books can be?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Spine Poetry

So, I'm not a poet. (Which I think will be quite obvious when you see my 'work.') However, I've been seeing this for ages and I've been wanting to do it nearly as long because it looks like so much fun. Well, coming from someone that usually doesn't even understand poetry - probably quite a disappointment to my brother - it was…interesting. (Yes, and fun, but kind of challenging too.)

Heartless, the seventh sentinel,
The last guardian,
The doom of kings

Books Used:
Heartless by Gail Carriger
The Seventh Sentinel by Mary Kirchoff
The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb
Masquerades by Kate Novak & Jeff Grubb
The Doom of Kings by Don Bassingthwaite

Word of traitors
Whisper the dead
Lord of the silent
Unspoken, ring of secrets

Books Used:
Word of Traitors by Don Bassingthwaite
Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey
Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White

Beneath the surface,
The eternal ice
Timeless, storm breaking
Ice cracker

Books Used:
Beneath the Surface by Lindsay Buroker
The Eternal Ice by Jeff Grubb
Timeless by Gail Carriger
Storm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey

Ice Cracker (II: and Other Stories) by Lindsay Buroker

What have I discovered? That poetry is still something I just usually don't get. Except for that 'miles to go before I sleep' one by Robert Frost -  because that one, I seriously love. I've also realized that some authors/type of books just work better for my kind of poetry. Also, I like poetry best when it doesn't rhyme. (Seriously, I was working on one that rhymed, but it just didn't make any sense at all.)

Yes, I do own all these books - but between my finicky camera and a weak internet, you don't get the pictures. Besides, two of these are on kindle. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: Starbridge by A.C. Crispin

Starbridge by A.C. Crispin
Series: Starbridge #1
Genre: Sci-Fi
Add on Goodreads

Earth's first contact with an alien race turns to disaster when a friendly encounter erupts into inexplicable violence and the threat of interstellar war.

But two ordinary individuals--Mahree Burroughs, an ordinary woman with a gift for friendship, and Dhurrrkk', a male Simiu with boundless curiosity--have forged a bond of understanding that bridges their many differences.

Along with a reluctant Robert Gable, brilliant young ship's physician, they make an astounding journey across the stars, to seek a way to save the future of both species!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Books I Love - But Don't Talk About Much (or Anymore)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I'm definitely one of those people that, when I love something, I tend to talk it to death and have a habit of shoving it at everyone I come across. (And, I admit, one of the best feelings ever is to push a book at someone and have them tell me that they loved it.) Then there are those books that I love (or came really close to) but I don't talk about them much. Maybe I write a review, maybe not. It's like I don't know what to say about the books, so I tend to not say anything at all.

Monday, March 21, 2016

My Writing: I Fail and Clockpunk

You know, it's totally the strangest thing, I have been struggling a lot lately in writing. It seems that no matter what idea I have, no matter how much I love the characters and what I'm working on, I struggle to really sit down and write. Just write.

Well, back around the middle of February, I was clicking around the internet - how people do - and found a picture.

It's basically just these gears floating through the sky that people live on!

As soon as I saw it, I said 'I want to write a story like that.' So, I sat down and started writing. In the space of a week, I think I got more written for this than I have anything else I've tried to write in the past six months.

Now, it's not perfect, but it's a plot and characters that I can see myself building over time and loving.

I don't know what, exactly, it means for my fantasy stories I want to write, but for now, I'm going where my muse takes me. And, right now, she's taking me to a world filled with clockwork gears floating in the sky, strange Egyptian steampunk, aliens and air trains.

We'll see how things go and I might be ready to share some of this with you next month!

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Struggle of Deciding What to Read

Lately I've been having more than a little trouble deciding which of my many, many books to read next.

Originally, when I first started blogging, I had no trouble at all deciding what I wanted to read. I usually only had a handful of books on hand and it was easy to pick which one fit my mood the best at the time. No problems.

Then I started buying more books and was left staring at my expanding TBR and scratching my head.

When I first started my TBR jar - a full year ago, now! - it worked wonderfully. Then, over time, something happened. I think it might have something to do with how many books I pulled out that I just didn't like and - up until late last year - my compulsion to finish everything I started. Whatever the reason, the TBR jar started to fall by the wayside.

Since then, I've tried breaking books down into groups of 'need to read,' 'want to read,' and 'I bought so I better read.' This actually helped me pick through the books that I had little interest in and either finally read them or decide there was a reason I hadn't read them yet.

But that system also quit working.

Right now, I've got my books divided into three different categories: next book in series, books on TBR year+ and chunky books. Which, uncoincidentally, are also three of my personal reading challenges this year.

What I've been trying to do is pick at least one book off each list each month, paying special attention to the books that will help me finish series.

Now, I'd love to know your method for deciding what to read. Are you someone that has no trouble at all choosing one book out of your towering stack? Do you always know exactly what you want to read next? Or do you have a special system that works for you? (Do share, if that's the case, because I'd love to know what works!)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Disney Book Tag

Found at Book YAbber. I've actually had this tag sitting on my computer for ages - because it looked like such fun that I knew I wanted to do it. But, also, because it's actually a bit more challenging than the usual tags I do.

1. The Little Mermaid
A character who is out of their element, a 'fish out of water.'

Tikaya Komitopis from Encrypted by Lindsay Buroker

Tikaya is a cryptographer. She's an academic. She's smart and clumsy. Nothing about her screams that she would want to get kidnapped, blow up several enemy boats and hike across a frozen tundra. Nothing. But that's exactly what she does in this book.

2. Cinderella
A character who goes through a major transformation.

There's so many ways I could have answered this - and I even briefly thought about listing a character that actually does physically transform into something else. Finally, I went with what might be my favorite character transformation and growth from any book: Aurora from A Wicked Thing series by Rhiannon Thomas.

3. Snow White
A book with an eclectic cast of characters.

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

Just listen to this from the synopsis:
'a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark'

4. Sleeping Beauty
A book that put you to sleep.

I don't actually fall asleep while reading - usually I just get angry, instead - but if I did, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson would have certainly made me. Because I found this book even more boring than his books usually are. And way too long because after the first four hundred pages, I quit caring. (And, in truth, only finished it because I'd already read so much and I knew if I ever put it down I would have never picked it back up.)

5. The Lion King
A character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood.

I'm not going to say that I actually like him - because I don't - but I will admit, Harry Potter quite likely takes the prize for the most horrible childhood that I've ever read about. (Dubious honor that it is.) I mean, we could get into his mother literally dying to protect him, the Dursley's, seeing someone die because of a choice he made and we've not even made it to book five yet. That boy had a seriously sucky childhood and adolescence.

6. Beauty and The Beast
A beast of a book (big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful.

Wow, looking on my Goodreads shelf, I discovered that I was either never actually intimidated by the big book - or I didn't wind up liking it.

7. Aladdin
A character who gets their wish granted, for better or for worse.

Several characters from The Wilderhark Tales series by Danielle E. Shipley, though Sula especially comes to mind in this book.

8. Mulan
A character who pretends to be someone or something they are not.

Because of the girl pretending to be a boy, the first person I thought of was Alanna from the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce.

9. Toy Story
A book with characters you wish would come to life.

The Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker

I totally love the people in these books. They are all so much fun and they have a wonderful, bickering camaraderie. Would so love to get the chance to truly hang out with them.

10. Disney Descendants
Your favorite villain or morally ambiguous character.

I love well done villains! And it's totally common for the 'morally ambiguous character' - also known as an 'anti-hero' or an 'anti-villain' to be my favorite in any given story. (And, if not, we've probably got a 'rogue' class in the book.) Heck, it's probably partially because of this that's I've always loved Beauty and the Beast tales.

That being said, and although I could make a list, I will go with Royce from The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan (and sequels and subsequent series, though he gets a little less ambiguous over time). At the start of the story, Royce is an assassin - and not one of those 'why me? I don't want to do this' sort of assassins. He shows every indication of, if not enjoying his work, at least being indifferent to it.

This was a lot of fun and if you're interested in it, I totally tag you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Standalone
Genre: You're guess is as good as mine!
Add on Goodreads

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Ah, spring has sprung. Actually, I've been getting spring since January because we've barely had a winter. I kind of hate that, because I do genuinely love winter and I was so wanting some snow, deep and that would hang around for days. Also, it leaves me worried that, because we were unseasonably warm and dry, we are going to get a hot, really dry summer.

Anyway, books. My reading has been really scattered so I kind of went the route of not going with any certain type of book. Besides, my springtime reading is usually quite…eclectic anyway.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Winter TBR Update

Today's my look at how I did with my winter TBR and tomorrow will be my spring TBR.

I'm actually super proud of how well I did this quarter. I read eight of the ten books I picked out. They were really a mixed bag, but still, I read 4/5 of them! (Or, at least, attempted to, because two were total DNF.)

What I read...

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine - ****
Soon I Will be Invincible by Austin Grossman - DNF - My Thoughts
Wearing the Cape: The Beginning by Marion Harmon - * - Quote Review

Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones - ** - Review
Timebound by Rysa Walker - **** - Review
The Mermaid's Madness by Jim C. Hines - ****

15 Minutes by Jill Cooper - DNF - My Thoughts
Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux - ** - My Thoughts

But, on these two, I failed...

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Gathering Frost by Kaitlyn Davis

I guess I just wasn't in the mood for sci-fi retellings?

Anyhow, I am very happy with my reading this go around and so excited to share my spring TBR with all of you tomorrow!

Friday, March 11, 2016

My Thoughts On My Kindle

So, I've had a kindle about a year now and I keep thinking I'm going to write this in depth comparison between ereaders, physical books and audio books - but that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. Instead you get me taking a look at what I like and dislike about using a kindle.

The selection it offers.
Say I'm out somewhere and I finish the book I'm reading. If it was a kindle book, I don't have to wait until I get home to start the next one. It's like a virtual library at my fingertips and this is one of my favorite things about owning an ereader.

The price of ebooks.
Usually, ebooks are comparable in price to physical copies. However, sometimes the ebook is at least a quarter of the price, and sometimes a seventh or a tenth. I love getting bargains and I think this is why I had so many ebooks for such a long time. (And, sometimes, the book is free! Free books! Got to love it.)

Quote-y quotations. (Actually, reviews…)
I've noticed that when I'm writing reviews I usually have the most quotes from either the books that I loved and want everyone to read - or the books I read on my kindle. For me it's just so easy to bookmark the page that has the quote on it then come back later and type the quote out into Microsoft Works. Physical books are a huge pain for me to actually get quotes from, because often I'm not even reading some place that I can grab a post-it to stick between the pages.

Time left in ________.
I have actually become quite addicted to the 'time left in book/chapter' feature as well as the 'average time to read'. Sure, I can get a pretty good idea just looking at a book how long it'll take me to read - but what if it's more simplistic or denser than I'm expecting. I love how I get a quick overview on my kindle of how long it takes other people to read and - most of the time - how long it's predicted it'll take me to read.

Reading flat.
There are so many ways that a kindle makes reading easier. Like reading in bed. Or while I blow-dry my hair. Or while I'm cooking. (This is not a good idea. I don't recommend it.) Or while I'm brushing my teeth. It's so great the way you don't have to hold the book open or down. (Which is often impossible to do unless you have a hardback with a weak spine.)

Not all is fun and games though. Even my kindle does things I don't like.

Nitpicky touch screen.
Sometimes when I'm reading, it takes too long to flip the page. It's like it's processing this ala: do I really want to do this? Also, I've had to tap twice to turn the page because it didn't take it the first time. Or, when I go to open the book menu without opening the book, it doesn't seem to want me to. Conversely, I have actually had the page flip just by being brushed with a Kleenex. Or it readjusts the font size when I was trying to turn the page. Or I don't even touch the screen and it thinks I did.

Length of time to start/shutdown.
It might not seem like much, and it may just seem like I'm getting complain-y, but it is so much quicker opening and closing a book than starting and shutting down a kindle. I hate that I have to hold the power button so long to bring up the shutdown screen. Sometimes I'm in a hurry and it just takes longer than I want it to.

Battery dieing when you have 10% left.
I've never actually had this happen to me, because I am an obsessive kindle charger. It's like as soon as I see that battery get below 50% I'm stressing out about it dieing and I have to charge it right now! Or, just, not read…

Dirty screen.
I can hear it now 'so, Amy, why do you eat while reading?' LOL Anyway, though, it seems that my kindle screen is never clean. Between having to touch it to turn the pages and all the dust and lint it picks up - and the other oddities - sometimes I look at it and wonder how it got so dirty. Personally, I'd love it if they had arrow buttons below the screen like some of the earlier versions did.

Over all, I like having a kindle. My problems are definitely not the deal breaker sorts, but they are things I'd love to see ironed out in later releases. (Like sometime before I break my kindle and have to buy a new one.)

How about you? Do you face any of these same issues or have any of these benefits? Do you even have an ereader? (Probably. I feel like I was the last person to buy one!) Anything you want to add that I totally forgot about?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Thoughts on the Harry Potter Series

Warning: I didn't like a good portion of it, and that is what I chose to focus on. We are all entitled to our own opinions so respect mine and if you can't - don't read this. It's also kind of majorly long. Also, you may as well assume it contains spoilers for all the books.

I cannot help but wonder if I'd been a vastly different ten year old and started this series then if maybe I wouldn't have liked it more. Instead, I waited until my mid-twenties, assured that you were never too old for Harry Potter. Of course, it might not have made any difference when I read this book - after all, at age ten, I was knee deep in Agatha Christie novels and other adult directed mysteries. You see, when I was young, I hated anything weird. My love for fantasy and the abnormal didn't come until almost eight years later.

I'd like to note that while I did review the first book here, (at least, I think I did…) that review is seriously out-of-date. While I do think SS was the second best of the first four HP book's, it was a severely clich├ęd mass of Gary Stu-ness.

Simply put, I don't get it. It's like coming to the party twenty minutes late and hearing everyone talk about the great hors d'oeuvres - but finding cheese, lunchmeat and crackers. Now, while there's nothing wrong with that, there's nothing that needs to be talked about particularly glowingly, either.

I'm not saying I wish these book's weren't popular. Nope. I'm glad that they are. After all, a lot of people say that this is the series that got them into reading. But I think it's that reason right there that so many people love the books. It's nostalgia. Either that, or I just don't see the magic. (Could be both, too.)

I resisted the HP craze for a long time. Then I bought the first five movies in a pack for like thirty-five bucks. I thought they were pretty good. Okay enough, anyway, that I bought and watched the next two movies. (I bought DH pt2, just haven't watched it yet, as I've been waiting until I finished reading the series.) Honestly though, I expect less out of movies than I do books. Maybe that makes me a snob.

Books One & Two

So, the first book. I bought it. I read it. I tried my best to convince myself it was everything everyone else said it was. Why? Because everyone else loved it. Because I'd already failed with Lord of the Rings and I didn't want to with Harry Potter as well. (Of course, I do love the LotR movies.)

But I didn't feel it. In reality, Harry Potter is everything I dislike in heroes. He's entitled. He's the prophesied one. The only one that can defeat the villain. Not because he's the best. Just because. Because the author says so. He's got dead parents. He lives with abusive relatives. Because Harry was loved, the villain started melting (or something) when he touched Harry. (Until writing this, I had no idea that the Deus ex Machina started this early, but Harry would have seriously been dead if not for that convenient (at least from the hero's perspective) little detail that wasn't mentioned before and that, I think, the only other time it was mentioned was in the final book.)

Before I go any further, there's something you need to know about me. I hold children's literature to a different (and somewhat lower) standard than I do young adult and adult fiction.

To me, the first two books are firmly 'children's' novels. As such, I'm probably a great deal less harsh to them. (Also because I actually remember more of those movies than I do any of the others…)  (Researching a bit on the internet reminded me why I liked CS. Tom Riddle. And the Phoenix. Yeah, I like Tom Riddle as a character - just try to tell me he isn't fascinating - and my teenaged brain thought he was cute. I've based liking characters on worse reasons than that.)

Book Three

Now, this leads us to Prisoner of Azkaban. My favorite of the movies. There were so many things I liked about the movie and it seemed to be having 'growing pains'. Not still a child, not quite a 'young adult'. It was a turning point of the series, I think. Things started getting more serious with the appearance of dementors and we finally got a competent DADA teacher. (Must not fangirl over Remus Lupin.)

I honestly didn't care for the book as much as the movie, but I still found it enjoyable. While I hate time travel when handled poorly, this was merely okay because, while it was unexpected, it wasn't totally out of the blue. 

Book Four

Then I read Goblet of Fire. I found the movie almost tolerable - mostly because I loved the idea behind the Tri-Wizard Tournament (and things happened quickly enough to allow me not to focus on the shortcomings).

Only wizards of a certain age can enter the tourney. Each of the three schools will only get one representative. Sounds fun.

The participants are chosen but *gasp* what's this? A fourth name pops out of the hat. Harry Potter! Even though he's underage and the Hogwarts rep has already been chosen. Harry Potter's just so awesome that even the laws of magic don't apply to him. Our hero. (Seriously, I know why his name was in the goblet, but was it ever explained how a fourth name was chosen? I don't remember hearing it.)

That was seriously the defining moment that the series lost all credence with me. Even the movies never recovered from that. At least the movie, however, gave me a decent death scene. The book… Well, it was pretty much, 'the character was cursed then fell over, dead'. (I'd heard things that made me worry about the other deaths of this series - and then I read Order of the Phoenix.)

Book Five

Harry Potter and Contrived Secrets (also published as Harry Potter and How Poor Communication Kills)
Order of the Phoenix was my second from least favorite of the movies (only after Deathly Hallows Pt: 1) and the book was my least favorite of the first five. Protagonist-Centered Morality is actually a thing. I suppose we could also call it 'Moral Myopia'. Seriously, just re-read that bit with 'Snape's Worst Memory' and Harry response to it. 'I'd only do it to someone that deserves it' indeed!

Okay, go ahead and say it - he's a teenager. Teens are known to be self-centered and 'everything is about me' is something of a mantra for them. I know. I was a teen once. But that doesn't mean I need to like when the characters are self-centered and the narration feeds it. And it certainly doesn't mean that I actually want to read about someone like that.

Finally, the death scene. It should have been heartbreaking. It should have been. But instead the character literally 'went behind the veil' during a fight. I'm sorry. What? How's this - Is it even - I can't. Sorry. Sorry… But, really?

Book Six

Next came The Half-Blood Prince. I waited a long time between OP and HBP and I'm both glad I did and wish I hadn't. Because this book…This book was and is awesome! Without a doubt, my favorite of the books and missed getting a full five stars from me by a hair.

This is what I wished the whole series could be. Why? Honestly, I don't know. (And the only theory I've got is one that puts me in a bad light. Which books do I like? The ones that feature Tom Riddle.) I can actually see myself re-reading this book because it was so great - and it made me enjoy nearly every minute of it.

Book Seven

Now, after finishing The Deathly Hallows I…am exhausted and have borderline zero interest in anything to do with this series.

While there were moments - probably two or three in the entire book - that I actually liked, as a whole - and do forgive me all you awesome bloggers that love this series - I hated this book.

There, I said it. *sigh of relief* I feel better now that I got that off my chest. Now let me hide as people start throwing rotten fruit at me.

I really couldn't stand so much of this story. It took me something like six weeks to read because it was so painfully slow and boring - and because I hated Harry Potter every step of the way in this book.

And, seriously, what the hell! So now it's a case of 'our enemies do it so we can too' about the 'unforgivable curses.' Seriously, when Potter used them, it was bad enough in a isn't-he-just-perfect sort of way. But then, other people start doing it. So, the moral of the story is that good will only prevail if it lowers itself to the level of evil? Blerg. Clear cut good vs. evil - so the book tells you and heaven forbid you disagree. (And the less I say about the final 'battle' the better.)

Finally, the deaths in this series are…vapid. There's nothing to them and I totally never felt choked up. Seriously, all these people are dropping like flies and I didn't care. Even some of the people I liked bit it, but there was nothing from me because the entirety of this book felt so emotionless. And, in truth, I thought all the deaths in this series were poorly written. When people die, I want to feel emotion not…nothing.

Final Thoughts

I understand. I do. A lot of the people I hear talking about these books also say they were there for the midnight release of one or more of them. They grew up with these books. I know. They started reading them when they were about the same age as Harry in the first book and they grew up with the characters. I understand all this. I know what that's like. I understand the nostalgia. Things that I liked when I was younger still have a place in my heart. Things like Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I'll admit that they're cheesy and kinda corny - but I still love them. So I understand the love that the people who grew up with Harry Potter feel towards the books.

But, for me, for enjoyment, I gotta say, as a whole, this series just wasn't for me.

Whew. These thoughts have been percolating since I read the third or fourth book and I'm glad to finally get them out there, even if I'm not agreed with. At all.