Sunday, August 15, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Product Details
Pub. Date: July 2000
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 734pp
Age Range: 9 to 12
Series: Harry Potter Series, #4
ISBN-13: 9780439139595
ISBN: 0439139597

Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.
My thoughts:
I decided to try listening to the audio version of this book as I had read it before. One of my main complaints with audio books is that they take so much longer to listen to than they do to read since the narrator is working hard to make it entertaining for the listener. I listen to books in the car with my children so I look at it as using time I wouldn't have had for reading anyway and they really enjoy listening as well. I much prefer that we are listening to a story than have them watch a movie in the car, and our car doesn't have a DVD player anyway so the thought has really never crossed their minds anyway. At some point they are going to realize that lots of their friends get to watch movies in the car, but I am going to enjoy this time while they haven't considered the possibility or started asking for it. I do think they might still prefer listening to the story anyway.
It is different getting to read the stories in order and relatively close together. I recall waiting for the next installment to come out for many of the books and when too much time passes it can be hard to remember everything that had happened in the other books. I like how Rowling does put in reviews for readers to help those who may have either not read the other books or may not remember them in their entirety. It will be interesting to re watch this movie now that the book is fresh in my mind as well.
For some reason I had remembered Hermoine making more in roads with SPEW (her organization for the treatment of house elves) but perhaps that comes later or else I just remembered it incorrectly. It was nice to see Dobby again. More importantly the part with Winkie in the top box at the World Cup (which does not happen in the movie as I remember it) took on much more significance in light of what I knew from reading it before and watching the movie. I like that you can always come away with something else from a second reading of the same book.
Since the previews for the final movies have started to air I really want to finish rereading the last three books before November when the first half of the last book reaches theaters. At the same time I'm not sure I want to keep reading them with my children as they are about to take a darker turn and they had some trouble with the duel in the graveyard in this book.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

McKettricks of Texas: Garret by Linda Lael Miller

Product Details
Pub. Date: May 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 376pp
ISBN-13: 9780373774418
ISBN: 0373774419


Fast track up the political ladder, fast cars, fast women—that's Garrett McKettrick. Make that was. A scandal has brought him home to Blue River, Texas, a place where a man can slow down, take stock and plan his next move. Which doesn't include staying at the family ranch with his brothers. A city boy, Garrett doesn't think he has the land in his blood.

But Blue River has other attractions, like his former high school nemesis, Julie Remington. Now a striking woman, Julie comes complete with a four-year-old cowboy, a three-legged beagle and deep ties to the community. Good thing they have nothing in common…except their undeniable attraction and a future brighter than the Texas sun.
My thoughts:
This was a fun summer time read. I read book one in the series a little while ago and this one follows along with the second brother in the McKettrick family. Linda Lael Miller always seems to bring her settings to life so I really felt like I could see the Silver Spur Ranch and the small town in Texas. Julie and Garret seemed like real people who were dealing with large obstacles being thrown at them by life while at the same time exploring new avenues for the direction of their lives. I have book three sitting on my shelf and will probably read it as well before summer is over.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky

Product Details
Pub. Date: April 2003
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Paperback, 226pp
Age Range: 8 to 12
Series: Guardians of Ga'Hoole Series, #1
ISBN-13: 9780439405577
ISBN: 0439405572

In the first book in the GUARDIANS series, the reader is introduced to Soren, a barn owl and the centerpiece of the series. When Soren is pushed from his family's nest by his older brother, he is rescued from certain death on the forest floor by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls, St. Aggie's. When Soren arrives at St. Aggie's, he suspects there is more to the school than meets the eye. He and his new friend, the clever and scrappy Gylfie, find out that St. Aggie's is actually a training camp where the school's leader can groom young owls to help achieve her goal.

My thoughts:

My son picked this book our as part of Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading Program. If you have children who love to read and are under 12 check out their site. For reading a set number of books children can pick out a free book from a selected list. There are a whole bunch of books on the list that appeal to all different ages and interest groups.

We decide to read this one as a family so we could all enjoy it and also because I know there is a movie version coming out in the fall or winter. When possible I try to have my children read or listen to a book prior to seeing the movie. Currently in the car we are listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Even though they keep asking to see the movie I keep repeating that we need to finish the book first.

This book pulled us all in and I think I enjoyed it as much as they did! Following the owls as they made connections and figure out what they think is going on at St. Aggie's got them all thinking. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here. We ordered the rest of the series on ebay over the weekend and I keep checking out tracking number to see if they will be here any time soon. They are in the postal system so hopefully they will make their way to us before too long.