Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Finished Reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #1
by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: YA fantasy

I have never read any Harry Potter books, nor have I watched any of the movies. The only thing I know about Harry Potter is what I’ve picked up over the years from references, movie clips, overheard discussions, etc. I am planning to go through the entire book series, and I have just finished the first one. My reviews will likely contain spoilers, as I’m not too worried about avoiding that, with as long as these have been out, and as well known as they are, but I’ll still post a warning with each review, just in case.

I also plan to watch the movies, even though I was recently told that the movies were garbage. The same person also told me that I “just have to get through the first couple of books,” because after that, they get better (for clarification, he might come across kind of mean based on what I’m saying, but he was recommending the books, because he really likes them; he just had some caveats). However, I think he and I have a different taste in books, at least to a degree, because his brief reasoning for the later ones being better was because the first few were written for a younger audience. He said that as the characters aged, the writing was written for an older audience as well. I have always enjoyed things that are meant for teens or young adults though, even as I’ve gotten older.

With that in mind, I can honestly say that, though I saw what he was insinuating, about the book being for a young audience, it didn’t bother me much. I was a bit put off by the early chapters about Harry’s family, not just because of how terrible they were (which was obviously on purpose), but because of the way in which they were described. Definitely very silly and over-the-top. And some of that carried on throughout the book. However, I enjoyed the way the story unfolded all the same.

I appreciated the fact that, even though Harry was the main character and was obviously special in some way, he still had major limitations, which kept him from being too perfect to be real. He excelled in one main area, and I was rooting for him to do well as soon as he found that talent.

One of the things that bothered me the most was that the story seemed to just amble most of the way through the book. The main story goal was brought up now and then, but didn’t seem to take much precedence. Even when the characters spoke about it as if it were important, it didn’t feel all that important most of the time. I think that is mostly because much of this book was world-building. I have done 0 research about how this series got started, but it certainly reads as if Rowling knew it was going to be the first book in a longer series, and kept the story goal simple, so she could focus on setting up Hogwarts and the wizard world.

My other biggest issue is in the actual writing. I’m sure this is just the grammarist in me, and most people wouldn’t even notice, but the amount of commas where there should have been periods, or at least semi-colons, was really noticeable to me. I’d rather not notice those things, but I do…so it tends to take me out of the story.

There were a couple of things that weren’t resolved or explained (or just not explained well) in the book, so I will hope that at least some of these things are fleshed out in future books.

One thing I’ll be interested to see as I go through these books is the way my perception of what might happen could be affected by the knowledge of the storylines that are floating around out there. People don’t worry nearly as much about avoiding spoiling something this old, and I don’t blame them. But because of clips or gifs I’ve seen from the movies, and things I’ve heard about the books, I didn’t really question the story I was being fed while reading. I have no real way of knowing if I would have had my own theories or suspicions as Harry and friends blamed Snape the entire book, but I definitely believed that he was the bad guy the entire time. Thus, I was shocked when it turned out he wasn’t.

One more thing here for the first review of this series–though I’ve not seen the movies, I’ve seen enough to be able to picture most of the bigger characters as their movie versions. As I’ve never been great at drawing my own version of book characters in my heads, I think it will make the books come to life better in my head, so hopefully it will enhance the reading (though again, I have no way of knowing how it would have been without this).

Find out more about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Up next: Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

NaNoWriMo Community

NaNo handouts

I remember the first time I met someone who already knew about NaNoWriMo. It was in May of 2013, and she recognized the shirt I was wearing as a NaNo shirt. I get a shirt every year that I participate, and wear them a lot, especially in September through December, so they tend to start conversations when people ask me about it, and also identify people who know what it is. It was years before I met more people who already knew about NaNoWriMo, and in more recent years, I’ve met several (even my doctor had heard of it).

I am happy that NaNoWriMo is becoming more well-known and more wide-spread. It wouldn’t be what it is without the amazing community that comes together every November. And this is coming from someone who is very introverted and socially awkward. I won’t pretend that I participate in the NaNo community nearly as much as I could, but it’s there and it’s inviting.

Socially awkward or not, NaNoWriMo is one thing I can talk about with relative ease. I am very passionate about it. I like to tell people what it is, how awesome it is, and if they show an interest, why they should give it a try. So when the opportunity came up for me to sit at a local authors’ table during a festival in my hometown, it didn’t take long to think past the book-related things I should bring and realize that this is the perfect opportunity to spread the news about NaNoWriMo to people in my community. We have write-ins at the library in my town during November, so maybe I can drum up some more participants!

I have some stickers and buttons (shown above), and I will hand them out to anyone who might be interested. I’m almost as excited about talking to people about NaNo as I am about selling my book or talking about my soon-to-be-releasing book. And really, talking about NaNo will be easier than trying to promote myself.

If you’re considering participating in NaNoWriMo, and you’re curious about what kind of local community might be near you, check it out for yourself! You’ll have to make an account, but it’s free, and no one will force you to participate once you’ve signed up. Maybe you’ll find just what you need to decide to give it a try!

For anyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to check out my series of tips and tricks for the month, and also to add me as a writing buddy! (Let me know you came from here, and I’ll add you back!)

Book Review: The Yellow Lantern

Finished Reading: The Yellow Lantern
by Angie Dicken

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Historical Christian romance, crime

The Yellow Lantern: True Colors: Historical Stories of American CrimeIn this book of historical fiction, set in New England just before the beginning of the Victorian Era, a young woman named Josephine Clayton works for a doctor to pay her father’s way out of debtor’s prison. But when Josephine becomes sick and is presumed dead, her buried body is stolen by a man working for the same doctor. The story starts with her waking up, about to be dissected, and when the doctor sees she’s still alive, he plans to dissect her anyway. To save her own life, and to keep her father out of trouble, Josephine ends up embroiled in the doctor’s schemes of body-snatching. She is planted at a cotton mill in the next town over, to spy for the body snatchers and help with the actual snatching. But when the next victim is a loved one of the cotton mill’s manager (named Braham Taylor), a man to whom Josephine has become close, the gruesome business becomes a nightmare.

This book was a decent read overall. The setting was interesting. The bigger side characters had personality. I liked the back-and-forth POV between Josephine (or as we know her through most of the book, Josie) and Braham.

I was usually really happy when it switched back to Braham for a while, which tells me I connected with his character more than with Josie. I think that’s because his troubles seemed a lot more real and understandable to me. But it’s not that Josie doesn’t have serious issues. I just think her storyline was convoluted enough that I was only vaguely aware of the danger or of her reasons for going along with the body snatching plot. Her father was in trouble with…the doctor and some creditors, but I don’t know who they were, or if I’m even right about that. Alvin (Josie’s “handler”) was bad but sort of good (which isn’t bad in itself), but was owed money, yet still chose to hold back the first body he snatched in the story? It wasn’t until near the end that enough of this network of body snatchers was sorted out enough that I was at least able to appreciate the conclusion. This was probably my biggest problem throughout the book.

For the first quarter of the book, at least, I was reminded strongly of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s set in a cotton mill, the male lead runs the cotton mill, and the female lead is not terribly happy about coming to the town. It’s also set in a similar time period. I love North and South, so that may have helped draw me into the book at first, but it did veer off to become a vastly different story, and a good one in its own right.

The other big downside, in my opinion, is that the body snatching was really not as big a part of the plot as it seemed like it should be. I mean, it haunted Josie throughout the book, and at the end, we can see an inter-connectedness that we didn’t necessarily know was there sooner, but it was supposed to be a twist, I think, that these things were connected. So they didn’t seem to play into the body snatching plot, except that it was predictable enough that I didn’t really see much shock factor in the reveal. Or maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a surprise, and in that case, it was just kind of bland.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. The book is listed as Christian, and it holds up well in that department. The romance was sweet and clean (just how I like it), and I would recommend this book for fans of Christian romance, though probably not for fans of crime novels.

Thank you to Netgalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for providing me a copy of this book to review.


Find out more about The Yellow Lantern

Up next: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My TBR I’m Avoiding & Why

I’ve read several of these Top Ten Tuesday posts, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, in the past, and decided to join in this week. Some of the topics don’t work that well for me; for example, my TBR list is only 2 months old, so it’s really hard to say I’ve been avoiding anything on it. But I was able to come up with 10 books on my list that I’m avoiding for some reason or another. These are books that I expect to get pushed down my TBR several times before I read them, or I’m just really not looking forward to reading them, or there’s some reason I can’t read them right now.

1. Claiming T-Mo by Eugen Bacon
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. After I won it and re-read the synopsis, it seemed a lot less interesting than when I’d entered the giveaway. I’ll still read it, and in the spirit of the giveaway, I’ll try to get it to soon. But I’m not looking forward to it, and I feel pretty bad about that.

2. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
When I first started to get back into reading seriously, before I built my TBR list up to even what it is now, I found this book at Half Price Books and decided to buy it, with no knowledge of it whatsoever. After reading reviews, I’ve soured on it a bit. I know I’ll still read it, but my TBR list is so long (and that’s considering it’s shorter than that of everyone else I know), I just know it’s going to keep sliding down it.

3. The Dandelion Killer by Wanda Luttrell
This one is probably a little silly, but it still deserves a spot on the list. I have read this book before, at least twice, back in my younger reading days, and I remember enjoying it (enough to read it again at least once). My TBR currently includes some books I haven’t read for years and want to re-read now that I’m older, and this is one…but I made the mistake of checking its rating on Goodreads. It’s not great, so of course I keep passing it over. But since most of the ratings don’t come with reviews (and I do remember liking it), I think it’s a good idea to give it another chance myself…eventually.

4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I lumped all 3 of these together for the explanation because it’s basically the same explanation. Well-known, mostly much-loved books intimidate me. Especially when they’ve been around for a long time and I haven’t read word one of them (yes, I know Ender’s Game is new compared to the other two though). I’ve broken into this a bit with Harry Potter, but I quickly discovered how difficult it was to write a review for something when I realize most people who read the review will already know the subject material much better than I do.

Also, I’m one of those people with the ridiculous complex in which the more someone tells me I should read/watch/do something, the less I want to do it. So the more popular a book or series is, the more I tend to shy away from it. So I’ll get there…eventually…just stop pressuring me!

7. An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass
8. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
Both of these have been pushed down my TBR because they’re in the New Fiction section at my library, which means I can only check them out for 1 week. I need to wait until I’m sure I’m ready to read one right away before I check it out, so I can make sure I finish it in the time I have. And the timing hasn’t worked out so far.

9. Unoffendable by Brant Hansen
10. I Want to Punch You in the Face But I Love Jesus by Sherri Lynn
Both of these are already low on my TBR because they are not available at my local library. I will have to wait until I have the funds to purchase them, so they’ll have to stay low. But I am looking forward to reading both of them when I can.

Have you read any of these? Should I move any up to the top of my TBR list?

NaNoWriMo’s Coming!

I used to love the old Coca-Cola Santa Packs commercials. They marked the beginning of the holiday season! Now, right about this time every year, I start to sing, “NaNoWriMo’s comin’!” to the same tune, and I’m just as excited (maybe more so).

First, a quick explanation for those who don’t know what I’m even talking about: NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It is an event that has been around since 1999, becoming more of what it is today in 2005. At its heart, it’s a personal challenge–write 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November. Signing up and participating simply gives you somewhere to track your progress, goodies if you win, and a huge community of like-minded people, cheering each other on.

I am such a NaNo fangirl, seriously. October is widely referred to as “Preptober” by many Wrimos, as those of us who plan ahead for what we’re going to write like to spend the month before it starts prepping. But for me (and still plenty of others), the real season starts in September.

The last few years, I was too busy with work to enjoy the lead-up to NaNoWriMo. A few of those years, I barely managed to participate, then slunk back into my depressing no-time-for-writing life until the next November. Though those times were difficult (writing has long been a huge stress relief for me), I am so incredibly grateful to NaNoWriMo for at least giving me the push, and the vehicle, to do some writing for that one month.

In the coming months, I’ll post more about NaNoWriMo, but I will probably never again post as much as I did in 2015, where I posted an entire series about how to prepare for NaNo, as well as tips for planning a story, and tips for the actual writing in November. All of those posts, including some I’ve added since then, can be found here: Prep for NaNoWriMo

So who else is excited? Are you participating? Thinking about it? Never heard of it before but can’t help but be intrigued? I’d love to hear from you!

Book Review: Illusion

Finished Reading: Illusion
by Frank Peretti

My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Christian suspense

When half of a famous, married magical duo dies, the other half (Dane) is left to carry on in whatever way he can. When the wife that died (Mandy) wakes up alive and well, but thinking she’s only 19 and year is 1970, she has to figure out what’s real and what’s imaginary. Then these two meet, and Mandy doesn’t know Dane, while Dane thinks he’s going crazy. What follows is a tale of intrigue, as Dane helps Mandy with a solo magic act, and Mandy tries to understand a mysterious power she seems to have, which makes her magic much more real.

Frank Peretti has long been my favorite author, but there are still several of his books I haven’t read. This is his latest novel, published in 2012, well after I stopped reading regularly. I read the synopsis and immediately put it near the top of my TBR list. And it did not disappoint. I enjoyed the book from the beginning to the end.

I enjoyed watching Mandy’s abilities develop and the mystery surrounding them unfold. The shows she puts on get more and more spectacular, and I’ll admit, I wish I could see the illusions, rather than read about them, but Peretti does a good job of explaining what’s going on, both from the audience’s perspective and from Mandy’s.

The cause of Mandy’s abilities is not left unexplained, and while it gets a bit convoluted for my mind, I still thought it all played together nicely. There are some sci-fi elements that came together in such a way that I really liked (but can’t say more to avoid spoilers).

My main complaint about the book was that the first third, or so, was filled with so many minor characters that came and went, or that were called by one name, then another later (ex. Mr. Jones at first, then Tom later), that I was really confused more than once. I can’t say they weren’t all necessary, or that the change in name use didn’t make sense, but now and then, I would have like a subtle reminder of who someone was when they showed up again after being absent for a few chapters.

The ending was exactly what I wanted it to be and then some! I was just so happy when I finished this book. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who enjoys Christian mystery, suspense, or general fiction. Also, the book definitely has a Christian bent, but it’s more in the main characters clearly being Christian and looking to God for help and comfort, then anything preachy.

Find out more about Illusion

Up nextThe Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Strands of Truth

Finished Reading: Strands of Truth
by Colleen Coble

My rating: 2 / 5
Genre: Christian mystery, romance

Strands of TruthHarper’s mother died just before Harper was born, and she never knew her father. At the age of 15, a man named Oliver took her under his wing and became like a father to her in many ways. His own children detested Harper, though, because of how much attention their father paid to her, and assuming that Harper was only after their father’s money. As an adult, Harper looks up to Oliver as a mentor, and now works with him as a business partner. At the start of the story, a DNA registry site has found a likely half-sister for Harper, and upon meeting, Harper realizes that both sisters have a similar story, with their mothers dying when they were infants, and neither knowing their father. At the same time, both women become the target of attempted kidnappings. Oliver is also attacked, and his son Ridge is determined to find out why, while also attempting to expose Harper for the fraud he believes her to be.

 
This book was a jumbled mess, and my mind feels a bit jumbled when trying to organize a review. I will start with what I did like. The premise was intriguing, and the mystery did hold my attention for the first half of the book. The descriptions of the Florida setting were good, and it was easy to imagine a warm, humid environment. The book brought some subjects to my attention that I otherwise might never have known about (for example, sea silk and other things related to pen shells).
 
However, this also leads me to my first issue. Many things came up in the book that were completely foreign to me, and I was left to figure out on my own what on earth it even was. Or the explanation would come so late that I was confused for a while. At one point early in the book, it says a character was in the “Weeki Wachee parking lot,” but really never actually says what Weeki Wachee is. My first guess was that it was a common supermarket chain in the region. Or maybe restaurant. But after Googling it, it’s apparently a state park and spring in Florida. It would have been really easy to explain this in the book, along with many other things, but instead, I had to Google more than I would prefer while reading a book.
 
Speaking of Google, there was a lot of mention of food and restaurants in the book that weirdly came across like name-dropping. As if, to make the book feel more authentic to the location, the author had done an internet search for popular restaurants in the real-life town in which the book is set, and even went to the online menus so that the characters could mention specific dishes that really do exist in those restaurants (I looked one up; it’s real!). Maybe this shouldn’t seem like a big deal, but it got to a point where it was just a bit too much, and took me out of the narrative enough to bother me.
 
And then there was the really weird part where the narration compared the main male character (Ridge) to “Chris McNally from Supernatural a bit, right down to the thick black hair.” I had to stop right there and look him up. I’ve seen Supernatural quite a bit, but I didn’t recognize the name, so I looked him up. He was in two episodes, 6 years apart, as basically bit roles! I have my theory about why Coble included this bit of obscure trivia, but no matter the reason, it was completely out of left field and made no sense. This reference is not going to help anyone envision the character, and to top it off, this still of McNally in Supernatural does not show him with “thick black hair.” This is indicative of what I felt was a greater issue in this book–it really could have done with another round of intensive editing.
 
This book was half-mystery, half-romance. The mystery half was the only thing that kept me going, because the romance was half-baked at best. For one thing, I really didn’t care about either of the two main characters. I did not connect with them at all. Also, the main characters strongly disliked each other for a while, then started to warm to each other. Then Ridge tells Harper that he misjudged her and wants to start fresh, making it clear that he has some sort of feelings for her. But two days later, she’s panicking over an idea that maybe he just thinks of her as a sister. And since the turn in their relationship came halfway through the story, it was very predictable what the bump in the romance was going to be, and even that turned out to be weakly done.
 
As for the mystery half of the story, it really fell apart in the 2nd half as well. For one thing, there are flashbacks throughout the book showing the life of a woman who was murdered around 1970 in the year leading up to that event, but by the end of the book, I realized that the flashbacks added basically nothing to the story. Spoiler: And to make things worse, Ridge was able to watch some video taken by the murdered woman, that ended right before the murder. After the video is described, the same moment is shown in a flashback, and it didn’t even match up with the video!
 
This review is getting very long, so I’ll try to be more brief in the rest of my notes. Clues to the mystery were given in an order that did not maximize suspense for the reader. The main characters investigated more than the authorities (who didn’t really seem all that concerned about the abductions), and yet the main characters are constantly questioning if these obviously related events are even related. Most of the mystery was fairly obvious (to me) early enough in the book to make any twists near the end fall flat. Several things happen that make no sense and are never explained. Spoiler: There’s a bomb that never goes off and is never mentioned again, that I forgot about until right now!


All in all, this half-mystery, half-romance didn’t deliver in either department. And this time, I don’t think I can chalk my biggest issues up to personal preference. The book has many flaws that clearly others were able to overlook, but I couldn’t. I would not be able to recommend this book to anyone, and again I’d state that with further revision, it could have been a much more enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Find out more about Strands of Truth
Publication date: September 10, 2019

Up next: Illusion by Frank E. Peretti

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

 

Book Review: Lost and Found

Finished Reading: Lost and Found
by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 2.5 / 5
Genre: YA speculative fiction

Lost and Found

Fourteen-year-old Ezekiel Blast has a talent for finding things and knowing who they belong to. Along with this talent comes a strong need to return things to the owner. This has earned him the label of thief by people who assume he stole the items in the first place. Now ostracized by peers and authority figures alike, he is not expecting to be befriended by fellow outcast Beth, who is thirteen, but looks like she’s seven. When he’s asked to use his “micropower” to find a missing girl, Ezekiel initially refuses for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that he finds things, not people. However, with the help of his friend and some others, Ezekiel realizes that there may be more to his micropower than he ever knew.

I was pretty excited when I was approved to read an advance copy of this book, since Orson Scott Card is a big name author. I haven’t read anything else by him (though Ender’s Game is on my TBR short list), but fortunately, I’ve read other reviews that say this isn’t like his other, especially earlier, work. Because this could have turned me off to his writing otherwise. I struggled a lot with various aspects of this book.

My biggest issue was the dialog. Not just the dialog itself, but the way it was framed. I’m a huge dialog person, both in my reading and my writing. And this book was something like 75% dialog. Because outside of the actual events that occurred surrounding the lost girl (and even during that), it felt like the characters were always either standing around or sitting around talking. And there was very little in the way of action happening during the talking, but while this worked in Lock In, it just didn’t work the same in this book. I’m not sure if I can explain why though. Maybe because the MC in Lock In is more of a mind at work, then a physical person? Maybe because it wasn’t 75% of the book?

But then, it might be because of the actual content of the dialog. There was so much snark and snappiness, it was just overwhelming. Almost like it was trying too hard to be witty and intelligent. Most of the characters talked nearly identically, even the minor ones, so it was really difficult to get a sense of who was talking. The only thing that really led me to understand that Ezekiel was particularly smart was that the detective said as much to him. But sometimes, the detective talked just like him, except without the constant need to correct people, so I guess that’s what made Ezekiel smarter? Some dialog scenes actually read as if the characters were doing nothing but one-up’ing each other in being more and more correct about what they were trying to say. And I really didn’t buy either Ezekiel or Beth as early teens due to their dialog.

Ezekiel’s micropower is analyzed to death, right up until the end of the book. On the other hand, a few certain elements (that I won’t detail for the sake of spoilers) were left completely unexplained. And there were certain things that happened in this book that reminded me of my 10-year-old self writing about a girl who got her best friend adopted alongside her simply because she was plucky enough to ask. It just felt a bit too unlikely in several spots (including what would likely be allowed in police work). But maybe Card has done some research and knows some things I don’t (I am definitely not an expert).

As far as the plot goes, it got off to a bit of a slow start, and then started to get interesting. And then went a surprising direction right at about the halfway point, and then became too predictable because of that. I know this is vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything. And a warning: it’s fairly dark and gritty for a YA book, dealing with things like (spoilers) kidnapping of young children, child pornography, parent death, and even one death scene (not a parent) described a bit graphically.

Now, the positives. Because I did give this book some stars. Ezekiel’s dad. I really like seeing a parent portrayed in such a great light, especially a father, because let’s face it, they’re pretty beat up in fiction of various mediums these days. I also liked the way the detective treated Ezekiel, for the most part, outside of the unlikely things. I really did like the premise, and even the plot, for the first half of the book. Then it felt like a rinse and repeat for the second half.

I struggled with how many stars to give this book. While I was reading it, I was hovering around 3-3.5. But by the end, I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing that gave it even that much redeeming value. I hate writing a review like this, and I will sum up by saying that a lot of this is personal preference. But it really didn’t suit my preference. I think there are plenty of people who would enjoy the quick, snarky dialog though, considering that the writing actually reminded me of a few people I know. So for those who enjoy that type of writing, it’s probably worth a read.

Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about Lost and Found
Publication date: September 10, 2019

Up next: Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: August Review

In my second month of reading with more intention, I picked up the pace at first, and then seemed to slow back down at the end of the month. Now that school has started (I homeschool), it remains to be seen how much time I have to read, but I will definitely make as much time for it as I can.

Here are the books I read in August:
The Curious Conspiracy on Gamma Ceti by Nemo West (2.5 / 5)
Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker (1.5 / 5)
Thr3e by Ted Dekker (4.5 / 5)
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (4 / 5)
Tilly by Frank E. Peretti (3.5 / 5)
Lock In by John Scalzi (4.5 / 5)
#NotReadyToDie by Cate Carlyle (2.5 / 5)
The Inquisition
by Taran Matharu (4 / 5)
Lost and Found by Orson Scott Card (2.5 / 5) (review pending)
Illusion by Frank E. Peretti (5 / 5) (review pending)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (review & rating pending)

This list includes 5 ARCs, my first ever, and 1 re-read. My favorite book from August was Illusion. The rest of reviews from last month will go up in the next week and a half. My ever-changing list of to-be-reads, as well as a flag for the book I’m currently reading and an ongoing list of those I’ve read and posted about can be found here.

I’m also keeping my Goodreads page updated with a more extensive list of to-be-reads, if anyone is interested in that. (Note: The list of books I have read overall is not remotely complete there. When I created my Goodreads page 4 years ago, I added some of my favorite books over the years, but to add everything I’ve ever read would be very time-consuming, not to mention impossible to remember it all.)

Despite my almost too-long list of TBRs, I’m always looking for more to add. Feel free to offer suggestions of your favorites or just recent reads you enjoyed.

Book vs. Movie: Thr3e

3 movie vs book

This movie originally came out in 2006. I watched it in the theater, but I don’t actually remember much about it. I’ve had the DVD for years, and only re-watched it recently after re-reading the book for the first time in over 10 years. It was…not great, unfortunately. Part of that is the curse of most faith-based movies, where the production quality isn’t what we normally look for. For example, even though several of the actors I’ve seen in other things (like Marc Blucas), and they were perfectly fine in those other things, most of the acting seemed stiff.

Past that, I had some notes about things that were different from the book that I felt detracted from the story, one that I liked in the movie, and one that was mostly neutral. Fair warning, the rest of this post will be full of spoilers!

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