Review: Acts of Violence


Title: Acts of Violence
Author: Ross Harrison
Release Date: January 2014
Length: 190 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

My name’s Jack Mason. I made a mistake. Took home the wrong girl. Now she’s dead. Cut up. And they’re telling me I did it.

It’s the same cop that tried to take me down ten years ago. Now he’s coming at me hard. And he’s not the only one. Cole Webster, the city’s crime lord, thinks I stole from him. Broke me out of custody just to ask me about it. Then I killed his son. Now he really wants me.

Add to this equation a government agent, and I’m a real popular guy right now. Pretty much everyone I meet wants me dead, lawfully or otherwise. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I’ve got till morning to uncover Webster’s trafficking operation and take the heat off me. And all I’ve got to go on is a pissed off homeless girl with a thirst for revenge.

Guess it could be worse. Can’t quite figure how.

***** Review *****

Oh, it could be so much worse.

Acts of Violence pits the elite against the peasants. Or rather, everyone’s under the thumb of the crime lord, Cole Webster, and his son Little Dick.

Premier club. It was ridiculous. The club was in the heart of the west side. The east side was the rich side. The side with all the gambling houses and other clubs. But he set up The Web here. And it worked. The social elite – or at least their spoilt brats – packed the place just about every night. 

Jack Mason has tried and failed to become a cop in Harem. Ten years ago he was kicked out of the academy. Ten years ago his girlfriend Lucy died, and the cop with the first name for the last name tried to pin him to the wall for the murder.

Jack got off, but Lawrence still thinks he has his man.

Now the stakes have risen, and crime king Cole Webster is involved. Another girl has died in Jack’s apartment. Except this time, it’s more gruesome and Lawrence is hell bent on pinning Jack to the chair. He’s knocked down each piece of Jack’s alibi like a wrecking ball taken to Lincoln Logs.

Unfortunately in a town like Harem, those charged with upholding justice can be bought. Little Dick steps in to play Little Rich Boy and show Jack exactly who is boss.

Fortune is on Jack’s side and some interesting evidence turns up incriminating someone else in the girl’s murder. Things get more heated when government officials show up and there is a glimmer of hope for Jack. If he can only find out why the girl was killed…and stay out of Cole Webster’s grips while doing it.

As his nose cracked under my knuckles, I reflected on how much I hated violence. Not violence stemming from my own unresolved anger issues. That I was fine with. It was violence against women that I hated. I don’t know why, but the prettier the girl the more I hated it. Maybe I was shallow.

The new agent, DeMartino, has it together. He keeps the investigation under wraps. Turns out the mining business Cole Webster has used for a front all the years was indeed a front, but now the tables have turned on him. Jack has more than enough bullets to dodge.

I felt like a celebrity. A celebrity that everyone wants to see hanged with his own bootlaces in a dirty cell.

Along with a homeless girl, Sixteen, Jack is determined to discover what Cole Webster is up to and how the girl he took up from Webster’s club ended up dead in his bed.

I liked the goose chase that Jack was sent on in his discovery of what’s going on, and the stream of consciousness that Harrison has used with Jack. However, I did not like that there is minimal hints here and there about the setting and world that Jack lives in. Apparently it is futuristic, with shard guns and flyers, and more than one world, but the worlds keep to themselves. Officially, at least. I wish we had all this in the exposition instead of halfway through the book.

Jack also seemed to have a few redeeming moments with Van, the club manager, and his gorilla body guard. There were also a couple of moments when Jack saw Sixteen for more than just the scrawny homeless girl. In ways, she reminds him of Lucy.

I was thrown at the end for several loops, and Jack shows some true character growth and reflection on the past.

“I’m sorry,” I said. He ignored me. It was true enough. I was sorry for everything that had happened. I wasn’t who I was meant to be. The man I’d tried to be. The man I’d spent the last ten years pretending to myself that I was. 

***** About the Author *****

Ross Harrison has been writing since childhood without thought of publication. When the idea was planted by his grandmother to do so, it grew rapidly, and after a bumpy ten years or so, here sits the fruit.

Ross lives on the UK/Eire border in Ireland, hoping the rain will help his hair grow back.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Review: Murder at the Brightwell

Murder at the Brightwell

Title: Murder at the Brightwell
Author: Ashley Weaver
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: October 2014
Length: 336 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Mystery

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo. Looking for a change, she accepts a request for help from her former fiancé, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will test not only her friendship with Gil, but will upset the status quo with her husband.

Amory accompanies Gil to the Brightwell Hotel in an attempt to circumvent the marriage of his sister, Emmeline, to Rupert Howe, a disreputable ladies’ man. Amory sees in the situation a grim reflection of her own floundering marriage. There is more than her happiness at stake, however, when Rupert is murdered and Gil is arrested for the crime. Amory is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer, despite attempted dissuasion from the disapproving police inspector on the case. Matters are further complicated by Milo’s unexpected arrival, and the two form an uneasy alliance as Amory enlists his reluctant aid in clearing Gil’s name. As the stakes grow higher and the line between friend and foe becomes less clear, Amory must decide where her heart lies and catch the killer before she, too, becomes a victim.

Murder at the Brightwell is a delicious mystery in which murder invades polite society and romance springs in unexpected places. Weaver has penned a debut in the tradition of Jacqueline Winspear.

***** Review *****

The synopsis lays out the scene for this book very well.

Amory, who five years prior ended her own engagement to Gil Trent, is now going off to a seaside holiday with him under the pretext of having left her own philandering husband, Milo. However, that has little affect on Emmeline, and Milo’s unexpected arrival leaves much unsaid and complicates things further.

Within the holidaying party are several new people whom Amory does not know. When accepting his invitation, she thought no further ahead than removing her wedding bands, and it seems that Gil and Emmeline Trent don’t quite travel in the same circles as they used to. This makes things much more difficult for Amory after Rupert’s murder and Gil’s arrest. How can she riddle out the killer with all new players on the stage?

Over the days, Amory develops slight relationships with each of the people in their party at the Brightwell Hotel. She slowly gleans little bits of information here and there, and enlists the aid of her husband in her sleuthing.

The marriage between Amory and Milo leaves much to be desired. Their marriage is quiet a farce. He is a popular face in the gossip columns, and quite renowned for his female conquests. He is very handsome, quite charming and has the gentile graces of the polite society into which he was born and raised, but it left me truly wondering why he ever married Amory, for she isn’t one who comes from money.

The set-up was characteristic of Agatha Christie: the main players arrive at a destination, the murder occurs, the MC is on the hunt, and all the characters remain on the premises. However, one thing that struck me was that the Trent party and fellow holidaying friends were not the only guests at the Brightwell, but there was no mention of the other guests besides noting that there were others present in the dining or sitting rooms.

The other thing that struck me about the time is how very realistic Weaver stuck to how people acted in public and private at the time. In fact, many of the oddities are revealed to Amory and readers during these moments of repast. It is 1932 England, and Weaver has portrayed that quite well. Can you remember a time when people retired after lunch, met to have tea or coffee in sitting rooms and polite courtesy was the epitome of society?

I enjoyed Amory’s interactions with all of those in the Trent holiday party, the inspector and her husband. She narrates in first person and leaves very little unsaid about the descriptions, mannerisms and actions of those in her party. Through her stream of conscious thoughts it is quite clear that she is a very astute woman with a rather clear head, unlike many women of the time.

Amory’s time at the Brightwell is tumultuous in the rapid changes in her relationships with both Milo and Gil as the murder investigation wears on and Amory uncovers more pieces of the puzzle. When Gil is arrested, she is steadfast in his innocence and leads her headlong into an investigation of her own…and dangerous waters.

I thought I had figured out who the killer was without any doubt, but Weaver truly surprised me. Murder at the Brightwell was a truly enjoyable read for me, and for once I had to forgo my “no eating and reading” rule. I kept it to a salad, so I could have it in my lap and flip pages with my other hand. 🙂

***** About the Author *****

7582398ASHLEY WEAVER is the branch manager at Oberlin, the headquarters branch of the Allen Parish Libraries in Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Review: Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor

22066928Title: Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor
Author: Julie Anne Grasso
Release Date: July 2014
Length: 135 pages
Series?: not yet…
Genre: Children’s/Middle Grades, mystery
Format: e-book

Find the book:  Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

When his cousin Kat disappears from Enderby Manor, Frankie Dupont jumps on the case. Bumbling Inspector Cluesome is convinced that Kat is lost in Myrtle’s Mesmerising Maze, but Frankie isn’t buying it.

He follows the evidence trail to a conniving concierge, a six fingered chef, a talking parrot, a mad maid and a shifty dwarf, and quickly finds himself in a desperate race to recover Kat before her time runs out…


According to Goodreads, this is “An exciting new illustrated middle grade mystery series for children aged 8-12.” So, I suppose it will be turning into a series!

Frankie Dupont is one pretty phenomenal young man. His dad is a PI, and Frankie obviously looks up to him from the many comments that Frankie makes about his investigation into his cousin Kat’s disappearance at Enderby Manor.

Frankie is first on the scene and methodically goes through his investigation, retracing Kat’s steps from the morning of her disappearance and interviewing witnesses. He notices a few key things that various Enderby Manor employees are and are not saying. He’s taking everything under consideration and leaving nothing out, but that’s hard to due with the condescending and very clueless Inspector Cluesome around. Seriously, the guy needs to get some clues.

Frankie gets the feeling after coming to a dead end that each employee is hiding something. Slowly Frankie unravels these things after getting some helpful clues from Kat herself and a helping hand from the new teen employee, Lachy.

After Frankie unraveled the mystery of Kat’s disappearance and the strangeness of Enderby Manor, the ending snowballed from there and it turned out to be a great day…and a really nice payday for Frankie himself a little while down the road.

This book is very fast-paced, but Frankie is a grade A kid. Despite being very tempted to tell of Inspector Cluesome, he remains calm and respectful while trying to figure out what’s happened to Kat. This was a great, light, fun read and I look forward to more adventures with Frankie.

*****About the Author*****

6545447With a background in paediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them.

She lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Review + Giveaway: Keeper


Title: Keeper
Author: Ingrid Seymour
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: May 2014Displaying cbbtourhost.png
Series?: Morphid Chronicles #1-4
Genre: YA, romance, suspence
Format: e-book
Source: CBB Book Promotions

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon

For all stops on the tour, please hop on over to the tour schedule.

I received the Omnibus Edition of Keeper, which contains volumes 1-4, which otherwise are each a book on its own. Currently Volume 1 is only 99 cents! The last three volumes are currently free. Please check pricing prior to purchase.


Keeper_eBook_coverFor them, free will is a luxury . . .

Greg Papilio both wants and dreads his impending metamorphosis. He’s tired of being an ugly runt–always picked last on the basketball court–when he could be strong and what girls call “drop dead gorgeous.” But as much as he looks forward to the transformation, he also fears the caste it will inevitably assign to him. He doesn’t want a common caste. He wants a powerful one, a cool one.

Samantha Gibson is average. She’s short and a little full around the hips–a terribly cute look for a future chef. She’s two years away from culinary school, from her uncaring parents, and from carving a perfectly Human future. She wants independence, a career and a quiet life of her own.

Except fate couldn’t care less about what Greg and Samantha want and gives them exactly the opposite. Greg’s metamorphosis assigns him a caste that enslaves him, while Samantha’s chance to attend Le Cordon Bleu is taken away. But things are never as interesting as when Ashby–an intriguing blonde with a hidden identity–enters her life with a splash.

Greg’s fate is to be Samantha’s Keeper, to protect her at a time when someone wants her dead. He will stop at nothing to ensure her safety, even if her secret past proves deadly, even if he’s keeping her safe for someone else.


This book is a little more than meets the Goodreads summary.

Greg is a Morphid, a species that looks and operates exactly like humans, rumored to have transcended from a different world. Most in America have gone silent about their existence, hiding in fear from the Morphid royal Regent and High Council. Those not registered are considered rebels with something to hide, and Greg’s family is one of them, anxiously awaiting his metamorphosis to change him. It is a process that takes a scrawny runt of a think like Greg and turns him into the next sexy Calvin Klein model, but the metamorphosis is more than just the looks. It also changes your mind, and for Greg, he inherits a voice – the Keeper side of him – that tells him what to do, where to go, warns him. This leads him to Sam.

Sam is your typical American girl, and she dreams of becoming a famous chef and feeding the homeless delicious food, not the slop she serves up at the soup kitchen she volunteers at. She is the daughter of two lawyers who both work at the Bureau of Doom, except…they’re never around – her or each other! She has a very hateful relationship with her mother, which reminded me of my own teenage years with my mom, and her dad is never around. One day, Sam discovers something about herself that rattles her whole world…on top of her parents’ news. Her whole life they’ve been hiding something from her…

Sam is like Greg’s true north, where his arrow points. His caste is that of a servant – to serve and protect Sam – and it is designated so by fate and marked with a symbol on the back, between the shoulder blades.

In the Morphid world there are Singulars and Companions (or Integrals). Singulars live their whole lives being single, there is no one for them. Companions have an Integral who they are destined to be with, and who they find, very similar to how Stephanie Meyers wrote about the imprinting phenomena in the Twilight series.Companions find their Integral, their mate, and continue the lineage of the Morphids, but that does not guarantee what your child’s caste will be. Even with two Companion parents, one could end up a … Sorcerer, or something else.

Greg locates Sam and she begins tutoring him in math, so that he can attend her school for the coming year and keep vigil. Initially, his phone call changes a decision that Sam, and most girls like her, face in life. After a few study sessions, a catastrophic event happens at a local gas station that changes everything for Sam and Greg, and is the first inkling that darkness is afoot in the Morphid world.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! Before Greg ever came into the picture, Ashby, the regent prince, sneaks out of the castle to visit Sam. He tries to warn her about her future without scaring her, but just comes off weird. Everything about Ashby’s journey went off marvelously…except his mother found out.

Eventually the Human and Morphid worlds collide, and Ashby swindles his way into Sam’s school. He’s a man on a mission, rebellious in the highest degree, and ready to piss his mother off. His arrogance is his downfall, though, and winds up getting Sam and Greg into a world and danger they know nothing about.

Throughout the novel, I had mixed emotions about the characters, who we as readers transition through from chapter to chapter. At times I thought Samantha was a pretty cautious girl realizing when she was in an odd and potentially dangerous situation, and at others I thought she was the most naive to be going along with Greg or Ashby (depending on the circumstances) like we admonish kids following candy into cars with strangers. She does, however, have a wonderful narrative voice that is very real, and even in those situations, we as readers get a deeper insight into how the gears are turning in her head. Greg I liked from the beginning, and that didn’t change. He seems a normal kid, and he is bent on protecting Sam and fulfilling his role as her Keeper…but he didn’t plan on falling for her. And that’s where things get tricky, because Same is not Greg’s Integral….Enter Ashby, who when he first appeared to try to warn Sam, was a sweet gentleman of a guy, and when he comes back he is this raging, self-centered, arrogant snob. He fully intends to leave Greg in the dust, despite his caste and his role as Sam’s Keeper, and for a while Greg just lays down and takes it from Ashby, knowing that most likely in a short while it would be inevitable to change the way Sam feels about both guys.

Ashby intends to whisk Sam off to his home, as if his mother will welcome her with open arms. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and Greg knows it. Unfortunately Ashby’s arrogance and seemingly lack of intelligence gets the better of him, and brings about several realizations about the Regent, secret castes, and the Morphid world.

I loved the intrigue and suspense building up to the gang’s travel to the castle, Ashby’s home. I knew eventually Greg and Ashby’s paths would cross, and I had an inkling I knew their connections to one another, and I gathered that Ashby’s mother, the Regent and ruler of the Morphids, was up to something nefarious and in cahoots with one of her councilmen, but I was not prepared for the magnitude of it all – and the worthy reason why Morphids went into hiding years ago.

However, I felt that the novel fell flat at the end. At the 80% mark they were barely starting out to the castle, and I knew things would end and wrap up quickly, thinking the book would be left on a cliffhanger, but I was wrong on both accounts. There was so much that happened in that last 20% of the book, but Greg and Sam’s return left a lot to be desired, with the barest hint that they might be temporarily in the clear, but probably not for long. I mean, who crosses a Regent and gets away with it?

*****About the Author*****

Ingrid_3Ingrid Seymour loves, loves, loves to write. She’s a young and new adult author. She writes in a variety of genres including romance, urban fantasy, paranormal and horror. She loves pizza and sushi, Sunkist and gum. She believes in vampires, witches, but not zombies (uh-uh, never!) She writes to loud music, daydreams constantly and spends too much time in twitter!! Find her there? ;) Ingrid has incredible fun doing what she does, but more than anything she enjoys hearing from her readers. It’s a dream come true.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

*****Follow the Tour*****

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Ingrid Seymour is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card (INT) along with a signed paperback of Keeper with a bracelet (US).

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!


Book Review: Enough Rope

Enough RopeTitle: Enough Rope
Author: P.L. Doss
Publisher: Mayfair Press
Release Date: October 2013
Length: 322 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Format: e-book
Source: The Editorial Department

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


During an early morning jog, Atlanta attorney Tom Halloran discovers the body of his friend and colleague, Elliot Carter, hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park. Even worse, the private and dignified Carter is grotesquely dressed in women’s clothes. Halloran is convinced that Elliot’s death is murder, not a tragic accident of autoerotic asphyxia-gone-wrong. 

But the medical examiner’s investigator, Hollis Joplin, is skeptical. He knows how difficult it would be to fake that kind of death, and he’s seen too much in his years on the Atlanta streets to be surprised by what people are capable of doing—to themselves or others. Then two more people die, and the clues lead back to a twenty-year-old kidnapping. 

The under-staffed Atlanta PD can’t give the case attention unless Carter’s death is ruled a homicide, so Joplin, with an eidetic memory that allows him to recall in three dimensions everything he’s seen, sets out to investigate it himself. Piece by piece, he and the relentless Halloran unravel a tale of greed, revenge, and family secrets—and put themselves right in the crosshairs of a calculating and ruthless killer.


I did it. I judged this book by its cover – P.L., get a snazzy cover! – and was I ever in for a surprise! From page one I got up in this mystery with Hollis Joplin and Tom Halloran. It seemed that with every page I turned the mystery of the murders became more complex and the plot thickened. I could not put this book down at all. Any spare moment I got, I was reading this book – even at stoplights to and from work. Sometimes I’d even avoid taking the highway and instead take the service road filled with lights just to get in a few more minutes of reading (thankfully it’s only a few exits to my house!).

When Hollis arrives at the scene of Elliot’s death he tells Halloran that no matter how well you think you know a person, you don’t know them all that well, which is the big idea that leads Halloran through most of the book.

The novel follows a few of the characters, primarily giving insight into the murders and furthering the development and formulation of solving the murders. The novel follows both Joplin and Halloran, and even for a brief moment the new pathologist intern Carrie, who works alongside Joplin’s best friend Jack, conducting autopsies. Halloran is out “playing detective” as Joplin calls it, and eventually shares all of his information with Joplin, but at one point he overplays his hand – and that’s when things start spiraling. Despite that, he and Joplin are in it together to solve the string of murders – and predicting who will be next.

Pictures from long ago resurface – pictures that Joplin’s Chief has seen before when working on a kidnapping twenty years ago, and pictures that Elliot Carter’s wife took to a private investigator. The pictures are an odd twist, but ultimately what helps both Joplin and Halloran put the pieces together.

Joplin and Halloran both set their sights on one particular suspect who is very close to Elliot’s wife. Then Halloran discovers a curve ball, and he and Joplin are left with two prime suspects, but they’ve got a hard judge who won’t grant a search warrant based on what they’ve got, so they riddle it out some more. This is when the two align exactly in concluding who the murderer is and determining the motive. Joplin figures it out first and decides to catch the murderer alone before he/she can strike again…except, he didn’t quite bargain for what he got. 

There is a definite focus on prestige, money, appearance and reputation in this book. There is a lot said about Elliot’s wife, Anne, and the circumstances of their marriage, birth of their only child, and recent separation. 

I thought I was figuring things out on my own, and knew who the killer was, but I was wrong. I never would have even suspected the killer, not in a million years.

This was a thrilling and wonderfully written murder mystery read, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries.

About the Author

P.L. DossWhile completing a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice at Georgia State University, P.L. Doss served a graduate internship at the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office. Assigned to the investigative division, she discovered how important the duties of the investigators were in helping the forensic pathologists determine the cause and manner of death. She was also able to observe the autopsies—an experience that proved to be invaluable in toughening her up for her career in law enforcement, first as a volunteer analyst in the Missing Children’s Information Center at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and then as a probation officer and supervisor of officers at the Georgia Department of Corrections. She currently lives in Atlanta.

Find the author: Goodreads

Book Review: The 7th Day

18810289Title: The 7th Day 
Author: Nika Lubitsch
Release Date: August 2012
Length: 147 pages
Series?: n/a
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Format: e-book
Source: author
Challenge: n/a

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon


Sybille and Michael are a happy couple, finally expecting their first baby. But then Michael disappears without a trace. Sybille finds herself in the middle of a living nightmare. When her husband is found, stabbed to death, there is one suspect only: his wife who is charged with murder. While listening to the witnesses´ testimonies in court, Sybille in her mind revisits her life with Michael. On day seven of the trial, suddenly the truth dawns on her. Now, she only has to find a way to prove it.This devious mystery is set in Berlin and at a secret place, which is so secret that some readers recognized it.


Some people are born victims. 

They are a power couple, a couple of means and privilege, and this trial will not escape anyone’s eye. She is famous for her journalist work, and her husband for his work as a business attorney.

The higher you climb, the farther you fall.

It’s true, Sybille is on trial for her husband’s murder. Yes, she thought about it before hand. Yes, she went to find him after his strange disappearance. Yes, she was going to give him a reckoning…

But she doesn’t remember any of it.

Today, they will try to prove that I planned to commit the crime. Of course, I did. I just didn’t get around to it. 

That’s of little consequence, though, as soon police find her with the bloody knife on her hotel nightstand – the very knife that brutally stabbed her husband. Of course she did it!

Sybille’s dear old friend, Ulli, is her defense attorney. He is very well known, and one of the best; her husband said so many times before his sudden disappearance. But Sybille and Ulli know each other besides Ulli sharing a business space with her late husband: they used to be lovers, before Michael came into the picture. In fact, Ulli is the very one who introduced Sybille to her husband. I found this very odd, and immediately thought there were all kinds of ways this trial could go wrong for Sybille, often referred to as Bille. I could not help but keep coming back to the term “jilted lover,” regardless of how Bille describes the ending of their relationship. I also thought this would be considered a conflict of interest, and Ulli should not be allowed to represent Bille, but that’s just my opinion.

The prosecution calls up every single witness that could remotely give any opinion or testimony about Sybille’s character: her former boss, her mother’s cleaning lady, various police officers and investigators, a psychiatrist, and lastly the waiter and all of the patrons but one who dined with Sybille in her hotel’s restaurant the night her husband was murdered. They paint a disparaging, ugly portrait of her. How funny one’s actions can be misrepresented.

Throughout Bille’s seven day trial, she shares her own narration from the courtroom of the goings-on of the trial, almost in journal entry form. Strangely though, she intersperses her own flashbacks of Ulli, his wife (who is Bille’s best friend from college), and her husband throughout various points in their relationships, and Bille is in no way to be taken as a Madonna for the sexual references and descriptions she makes of her relationship with Ulli so long ago. This part was difficult for me to wade through and separate at first, as I had no idea where this was leading, but after a time I got used to the style and technique that Lubitsch was using.

Also included with Sybille’s stream of consciousness of the trial and her past memories is the summary of the day’s trial by one of the local papers in an article, and they take Sybille for all she’s worth, make her out to be the most horrendous, using quotations out of context and applying sinister connotations to her actions.

This book shocked me in several ways, and it all comes about in the ending, which I can’t tell you about. 🙂 Suffice it to say that Sybille is indeed disgraced, but the ever-hungry journalists are dying for an inside scoop – and they get it. Sybille agrees to write her story for Cosmos magazine, in return for which they will not edit her writing, but they will also conduct their own investigation of her husband’s murder…

The novel includes Sybille’s installments of her story for Cosmos magazine, as well as a letter from her husband, and an installment from the writers of Cosmos about what they uncovered on this insane journey that Sybille sent them on to find out just what happened to her husband, and get the answers she so desperately needs. You will be shocked at what you find!

A very good read. I recommend to all who enjoy the thriller and mystery genre, as well as if you like a twist!

fd7a6b6e18960ad8956e17.L._V379018045_SX200_About the Author

Nika Lubitsch lives in Berlin, while her soul lives in Florida. Having been rejected by all German publishers, The 7th Day was at the top of the bestselling list only one week after its publication at Kindle, surpassing even „Shades of Grey“. The novel stayed number one in Germany for 100 days, making Nika Lubitsch the most successful KDP author of the year in 2012. The “Queen of E-Books”, as a major German magazine dubbed her, again landed a number one hit in the Kindle charts with her second mystery Das 5. Gebot (The Fifth Commandment). A major production company has already bought the film rights. The 7th Day is currently translated by publishers throughout the world. The manuscript also has been reviewed by Amazon crossing, but didn´t correspond with their “idea of what a best seller in English should be like.” However, a thumbs-down is the biggest motivation an author can get: Just you wait …

Find the author: Website| Facebook | Goodreads

12 Months of Reading Recommendations

The last Monday of 2013, I happened to stop into a Half Price Books store…and buy books. It’s inevitable. With my purchase, I received a free HPB calendar filled with reading recommendations. Each month is broken down into a category, and lists ten books for each category. There are additional books in the categories, which are available on various HPB webpages.

I broke out the calendar and went to the first link, and was pleasantly surprised by what I found, so I am going to share their compilations with you! The categories are in order by the corresponding month it is matched with in the calendar.

resolveBanner100 Books You Can’t Put Down

The 50 Greatest Love Stories 

21 Books to Start A Baby’s Library

40 Books That Will Make You LOL

32 Underrated Book Club Novels

100 Scifi & Fantasy Novels to Geek Out Over

55 Quick Reads: Under 200 Pages

40 Classics You Should Have Read in School

65 Banned or Challenged Books That Shaped America*

Top 40 Horror Books to Scare Your Pants Off

Great American Novels of the 21st Century

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic Press, 2007)

Genre: fiction, young adult (YA), fantasy, supernatural, mystery, suspense

Curriculum Building Ideas:

  • Language Arts: Reader’s Notebook, Literary Circles, Guided Reading Groups, Writer’s Workshop, Sequencing, Plot, Character Map/Analysis, Inferences/Predictions, Connections (Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World), Graphic Organizers, Book vs. Movie (i.e. Venn Diagram, Persuasive Essay), Reader’s Theatre, KWL Chart
  • Social Studies: design an issue of The Daily Prophet or The Quibbler – follow the attention of the media from the book, paying attention to the audiences of both literary sources; create a propoganda poster or pamphlet; studies of various types of government and policies
  • Math: “Design a Map” – based on information provided from the book of where Harry, Hermione and Ron travel

*Author’s Note: There have been numerous reviews of Harry Potter to date, and  Rowling has racked up many awards for her books.  I’m going to try to stay away from writing things that can be easily found in other reviews from years past. Note that I am now nearly 24 years old and this is my first time reading Harry Potter, which was published when I was in elementary school. I remember my mother reading them, and then my middle brother. I was into other genres, and for some reason I had an unfounded stigma toward Harry Potter. I have seen the first four movies; I didn’t really keep up with the latter movies. But I didn’t know what was going on because I missed out on so much that was in the books! I wish that I had read Harry Potter as I was growing up, instead of waiting – I feel that I’ve lost a lot of the magic in waiting, and also in seeing the movies before reading the books.

Spoilers from Book 6 – Read at Your Own Risk!

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

The final book of Harry Potter has come! It is bittersweet. I started prepping this post, and then started reading the book. And then I started debating whether or not to even post a review of the book. I was afraid that I was going to give too much away, because there was SO much I wanted to share about the book…and then I finished the book and was in even more of a dilemma. It was a hard decision.

The last book gave readers quite a shock. The title referred to Severus Snape, who had been playing the double agent role for The Order of the Phoenix and Lord Voldemort. He also made an Unbreakable Vow to protect Draco Malfoy…and he killed Dumbledore with the Killing Curse. Was it because Malfoy was there? Because that was Malfoy’s task from Voldemort, and he choked? I surmise we’ll have our answer in this last book.

Where will this leave Harry and the Order? And what about Hogwarts? When I finished Book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I was overwhelmed with questions and anger and fear. And I hurt for Harry, for his loss and the loss of the Wizarding world. Rowling has spun a wonderful series, creating strong, relatable characters – and she also did a miraculous job as an author creating a bond between her readers and the characters she’s created.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part IRowling set us up in the last book to know that Harry plans to leave Hogwarts. Dumbledore gave Harry hope to defeat Voldemort – and the way to do it: Harry will need to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes that Voldemort has stored his soul within. He knows that there are seven pieces of Voldemort’s soul, and that his current body houses one piece, leaving six remaining. Harry destroyed Riddle’s diary with a basilisk fang in HP and the Chamber of Secrets. Dumbledore destroyed a second Horcrux piece – the Slytherin ring, accounting for his injured and shriveled hand in the last book. But there’s so much more to that story…The third known Horcrux was the locket Dumbledore and Harry set off to destroy in the last book, and it had been stolen – replaced with a replica and a note signed by R.A.B. Who is R.A.B.? Harry needs to find the remaining four, potentially five, Horcruxes.

This book opens during the summer, with Harry grounded at the Dursleys’. A plan has been hatched to safely transport Harry and also the Dursleys, as time is running out on the charm that protects him at the Dursleys. The moment he turns 17 or no longer calls the Durlseys house his home, the charm is broken and Voldemort will come a-knocking. The plan is somehow breached, with all the members of the Order being attacked by Death Eaters throwing around Killing Curses like candy at a hometown parade. Needless to say, the Order suffers some serious loss, with one going missing. However, the Order will suffer more down the line. Get the tissues handy.

This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal. 

Readers learn that once again, the Ministry is keeping Azkaban escapes hush-hush, and other internal problems such as Death Eaters still working within the Ministry and gaining intel. The Daily Prophet is also suspiciously quiet. And a teacher (whom we’ve never heard of before, but who’s apparently been at Hogwarts for years) has strangely resigned…after leaving Hogwarts. I’ll give you three guesses as to what’s happened to her.

DH1_Albus_Dumbledore's_signature_with_Deathly_Hallows_symbolRowling has never left any of her books without action, and this one is definitely jam-packed – and mortally dangerous for Harry. The Ministry has been compromised entirely, Snape is in power at Hogwarts, Dumbledore’s name and memory are being tarnished salaciously…and Muggles are fearing for their lives like never before. The annoying Rita Skeeter has taken full advantage of the situation of the Wizarding world, and published a book The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, using The History of Magic textbook ‘s author Bathilda Bagshot as a source. It does contain some questionable content, and has Harry heavily questioning his relationship with Dumbledore. This snowballs and leads them onto some interesting discoveries about the past, all while still on the run. They also discover a symbol in the book Dumbledore left Hermione, and also found it on a grave in Godric’s Hollow. It is the same symbol Luna’s father, Xeno Lovegood, Quibbler editor, wore to Bill and Fluer’s wedding…a symbol that Krum identified as Grindelwald’s mark, a mark of very Dark Arts and other sinister sentiments.

Through their journey to find the Horcurxes, Harry, Hermione and Ron traverse the dangers of the Ministry to steal back the Slytherin locket that Voldemort used for a Horcrux. It was quite a nail biter. They take turns wearing the locket, but it holds a great power over the wearer, causing the wearer to act strangely…. and restricts the wearer in certain ways, posing a very strong danger. It’s almost as if Voldemort can see the situation and control the locket.

Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.

They learn that a group of Hogwarts students, including Ginny and Luna, tried to steal the Gryffindor sword from Snape’s new headmaster office. So it’s transported to a “safe” place….but it was a fake! The real sword, which is determined to contain basilisk venom, can destroy the Horcurxes. Like the locket, they now need to find the sword.

The trio learn of items that could make the owner the Conquerer of Death. Harry already has one, one is destroyed, and Voldemort is fiery pursuit after the final object: an old, powerful wand with a bloody past. Given that Harry and Hermione are wanted by the Ministry, and Ron would probably be taken on false charges, they go to the one person who knows the meaning of the symbol: Xeno Lovegood. He relates the long-held belief of The Deathly Hallows, and the three objects. It all stems from a fairy tale of three brothers. Through the strange connection between Harry and Voldemort, he learns that a wandmaker, Gregorovitch, had the Elder Wand, but it was stolen long ago by Grindelwald, but the most recent owner is someone dear to Harry.

Harry becomes consumed by the story of The Deathly Hallows, certain that he is the descendant of the youngest brother. He wants to throw the search for the Horcurxes to the wind, thinking of the Deathly Hallows and the prophecy. He thinks having all the Deathly Hallows will ensure that he can defeat Voldemort. Ron and Hermione quickly need to snap him out of it.

This book is gripping. It reveals so many histories and connections of the past, and true loyalties of many. In this book much weighs on Harry, least of concern to him his life. Harry exudes selflessnes, kindness and quite a bit of logic and reasoning. Dumbledore’s Army has come back full force. All is explained and comes full circle, but it may leave readers with a slight pain in your hearts.

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Who will prevail in the end?

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic Press, 2005)

Genre: fiction, young adult (YA), fantasy, supernatural, mystery, suspense

Curriculum Building Ideas:

  • Language Arts: Reader’s Notebook, Literary Circles, Guided Reading Groups, Writer’s Workshop, Sequencing, Plot, Character Map/Analysis, Inferences/Predictions, Connections (Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World), Graphic Organizers, Book vs. Movie (i.e. Venn Diagram, Persuasive Essay), Reader’s Theatre, KWL Chart
  • Social Studies: Scale Diagram of Hogwarts, Map of Hogwarts, Timeline of Hogwarts vs. Real World…
  • Math: “Design Hogwarts” – based on information provided from the book, students create floor plans, diagrams or models of what they think Hogwarts looks like; “Potions” – students measure and record ingredients for the science part of this lesson (below)…
  • Science: “Potions” – students use correct measurements of ingredients to predict reactions between chemicals, create a set number of reactions, and record the reaction and observations in their science journals…

*Author’s Note: There have been numerous reviews of Harry Potter to date, and  Rowling has racked up many awards for her books.  I’m going to try and stay away from writing things that can be easily found in other reviews from years past. Note that I am now nearly 24 years old and this is my first time reading Harry Potter, which was published when I was in elementary school. I remember my mother reading them, and then my middle brother. I was into other genres, and for some reason I had an unfounded stigma toward Harry Potter. I have seen the first four movies; I didn’t really keep up with the latter movies. But I didn’t know what was going on because I missed out on so much that was in the books! I wish that I had read Harry Potter as I was growing up, instead of waiting – I feel that I’ve lost a lot of the magic in waiting, and also in seeing the movies before reading the books.

SPOILERS from BOOK 4 & 5

We already know from previous books that Harry has had a couple throw-downs with Lord Voldemort, and being at Hogwarts is his protection. From the last book we now know he has a very dedicated group of people, The Order of the Phoenix, as well as dedicated friends. The Order is working to ultimately bring down Lord Voldemort and thwart his plans for takeover. Things got very dicey in the last book, and many Death Eaters are now in Azkaban, while others are out. As if Harry didn’t have enough hanging over his head, he hears the eery prophecy when it breaks at the Ministry of Magic. Interestingly enough, Voldemort thinks Harry’s retrieved it. I was sure that’s what this book was going to center around – the great prophecy….

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … 

Snape makes the Unbreakable Vow

Despite having committed, dedicated friends who have his back, Harry has not told Ron or Hermione about the prophecy. Only he and Dumbledore know what the prophecy says, although there is much speculation flying around in The Daily Prophet, which has know quite quickly changed its tune from Harry Potter/Dumbledore hater to Harry is the “Chosen One.” Dumbledore urges Harry to tell Ron and Hermione, but still is reluctant. He does so, but leaves out the part about the prophecy possibly being about Neville, and how Voldemort chose Harry, thinking that’s who the prophecy intended (based on his very limited information). Dumbledore has also returned to school with a blackened, shriveled hand that he continually puts off explaining…as well as an interesting ring that was a Slytherin heirloom. Dumbledore also instructs Harry to carry his Invisibility Cloak with him at all times…

I noticed straight off in this book that Harry is exuding more thought processing than has been shown in previous books, and it’s due largely in part to the fact that Hermione and Ron aren’t as concerned with what Draco Malfoy is doing, where he’s going, and they don’t believe Harry when he admits that he believes Draco to be a Death Eater. And another very odd thing happens: Snape has been given the green light to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, a post he’s been pining to teach for over 15 years, and rejected each year. He is also firm in his belief that Sirius’ death is Snape’s fault, due to Snape taunting Sirius’ inability to really contribute to the Order, being holed up at 12 Grimmauld Place.

JIM BROADBENT as Professor Horace Slughorn and DANIEL RADCLIFFE as Harry Potter - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Professor Slughorn returns to Hogwarts

Harry is taking private lessons with Dumbledore and learns some interesting history about Lord Voldemort. Through these lessons he learns nothing he really doesn’t already know about Voldemort’s character, but he does learn extremely valuable information regarding Voldemort’s past. Meanwhile, Dumbledore is not getting along well with the new Minister of Magic, who was previously the head of the Auror department at the Ministry. And for good reason to, as we find out. The new Potions Professor, Slughorn, is trying to collect student who have strong connections to powerful or famous wizards into an exclusive club….and Draco is quite trite that he’s not been invited to join and partake of all the activities.

During a Potions class, Harry is assigned a temporary book that has additional notes for potion-making and even some made-up charms, with a scribbling on the back cover that the book belongs to the Half-Blood Prince. There’s no indication who this Prince is, but I immediately thought it was Voldemort – given that he’s always lamented and cursed his Muggle father. Harry, however, thinks that the Half-Blood Prince is his own father, James. Hermione is irritated that Harry follow’s the Half-Blood Prince’s annotations and directions and is suddenly excelling in Potions class – even surpassing Hermione.

Puzzled over the Half-Blood Prince

However, just as a rift occurred before between Ron and Hermione, another one does…over the same set of circumstances: matters of the heart. Ron and Hermione are secretly crushing on the other, but are at odds about it. Ron is quite mean to Hermione, who avoids being present like Ron’s carrying the Black Plague. And there’s another unsuspected crush going on for Harry, and he’s apt to keep it secret and quiet. And the icing on the cake for the first semester is Katie Bell being cursed by a mysterious necklace that she mysteriously came into possession of and needed to deliver to someone…at Hogwarts. The very same necklace Harry say Draco Malfoy looking at years before in Knockturn Alley. She gets sent to St. Mungo’s.

To show off his fame (by association), Slughorn invites many to a Christmas party. Draco is found trying to sneak in, and an odd moment is exchanged between him and Snape. Harry secretly follows them and overhears a conversation that is quite questionable – and once again brings the matter of Snape’s loyalties and trust to the forefront. This information is of course brushed off by Ron, Mr. Weasley and Remus at Christmas, when a very unexpected and unwelcome visitor (by everyone but Mrs. Weasley) shows up at the Burrow: Percy – with the Minister in tow! The Minister essentially wants Harry to make the Ministry look good, and he wants privileged information of Dumbledore’s comings and goings. He gets quite angry when Harry refuses:

He raised his right fist. There, shining white on the back of his cold hand, were the scars which Dolores Umbridge had forced him to carve into his own flesh: I must not tell lies.

“I don’t remember you rushing to my defense when I was trying to tell everyone Voldemort was back. The Ministry wasn’t so keen to be pals last year.”

Harry’s homework task – collecting a memory

This is quite a risky move, given the power the Minister of Magic holds and Harry’s shaky past with the Ministry. Even riskier, Harry openly admits that his is “Dumbledore’s man, through and through.” He has definitely declared his allegiance.

Upon the return to Hogwarts, Harry begins religiously hunting for Malfoy on the Maurader’s Map, hoping to catch him up to something…but at times, Harry can’t find Malfoy on the map! How can he be leaving the grounds? Other revelations continue to pop up for the remainder of the book, setting Harry on edge and making him continually wonder and ponder – and possibly jump to conclusions. Dumbledore sets him what seems an impossible task, but it is the final piece of the puzzle explaining how Voldemort came to be what he is  – and the secret to possibly toppling his crudely-built empire of power.

This book will definitely leave you shocked, wondering and questioning just as Harry has always done. It will completely throw readers, and it leaves the fate of Hogwarts up in the air. I said of the last book that it was set apart from the rest of the series because it was setting some big things in motion – and this book has definitely shown a glimpse of that. I expect Rowling to go no-holds-barred for the final book of the series.

If you’ve never read the Harry Potter series, I highly encourage you to do so. It is truly an enjoyable (and easy) read. Check out what Harry, Ron and Hermione will run into in the next book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic Press, 2003)

Genre: fiction, young adult (YA), fantasy, supernatural, mystery, suspense

Curriculum Building Ideas:

  • Language Arts: Reader’s Notebook, Literary Circles, Guided Reading Groups, Writer’s Workshop, Sequencing, Plot, Character Map/Analysis, Inferences/Predictions, Connections (Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World), Graphic Organizers, Book vs. Movie (i.e. Venn Diagram, Persuasive Essay), Reader’s Theatre, KWL Chart
  • Social Studies: Scale Diagram of Hogwarts, Map of Hogwarts, Timeline of Hogwarts vs. Real World…
  • Math: “Design Hogwarts” – based on information provided from the book, students create floor plans, diagrams or models of what they think Hogwarts looks like; “Potions” – students measure and record ingredients for the science part of this lesson (below)…
  • Science: “Potions” – students use correct measurements of ingredients to predict reactions between chemicals, create a set number of reactions, and record the reaction and observations in their science journals…

*Author’s Note: There have been numerous reviews of Harry Potter to date, and  Rowling has racked up many awards for her books.  I’m going to try and stay away from writing things that can be easily found in other reviews from years past. Note that I am now nearly 24 years old and this is my first time reading Harry Potter, which was published when I was in elementary school. I remember my mother reading them, and then my middle brother. I was into other genres, and for some reason I had an unfounded stigma toward Harry Potter. I have seen the first four movies; I didn’t really keep up with the latter movies. But I didn’t know what was going on because I missed out on so much that was in the books! I wish that I had read Harry Potter as I was growing up, instead of waiting – I feel that I’ve lost a lot of the magic in waiting, and also in seeing the movies before reading the books. Also note that there are spoilers in this review toward the end.

We already know from the first book that Harry is going to encounter a scary, dangerous situation while at Hogwarts – and it is all about him. (Cue Voldemort and his minions.)

Each subsequent book in the series brings additional characters into the life of Harry Potter. And with them come more knowledge, more mystery and more story lines. The fifth book of the series is the most volatile of the series so far. Remember how we thought Ron and Harry’s fight about the Triwizard Tournament was a big deal? That’s chump change compared to what’s going on in this installment of the series.

They want to turn you into someone nobody will believe. Fudge is behind it. 

Fudge & Lucius Malfoy

Strange things are going on in the wizarding world – most notably, the Ministry of Magic’s rejection that Voldemort is back and on the prowl. They, and along with nearly daily articles in the Daily Prophet, insist Voldemort is dead, that Harry is an attention-seeking prat, AND that Dumbledore is senile! Indeed, the Ministry (namely, Minister Cornelius Fudge) has removed Dumbledore from every board or committee he sits on – even removed him from his position as Chief Warlock on the Wizengamot, The Wizard High Court. And then Dementors show up at Privet Drive, and Harry must use magic to defend himself and protect his cousin, Dudley. (Why he’d want to do that, I can’t imagine!) And…remember that time Dobby sent the cake flying and Harry accidentally blew up his “Aunt” Marge? Well, Cornelius Fudge is none the nice guy this time around. Harry must attend a hearing about his use of underage magic, in front of a Muggle no less! But Harry is not the only person with a wizarding background who lives near Privet Drive….

The Original Order

Harry is not left to dread the coming day of his hearing. He is swooped up by a group of tight-knit wizards and witches, and taken to a special location: the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. The Order is a collection of witches and wizards assembled to monitor and investigate Lord Voldemort and foil his movements. Dumbledore heads the Order, and Harry learns that his parents, Sirius, Neville’s parents, and many others who died at the hand (or order, rather) of Voldemort. This time around, the Order has taken refuge in Sirius’ childhood home and it is safeguarded by having a Secret-Keeper (none other than Dumbledore himself). Mr. and Mrs. Weasley (and Bill and Charlie) are now members of the Order, with all their children and Hermione already in tow. Percy has had a serious row with his parents, and is cold-stoning them. Members of the Order have various tasks and duties, and it was the negligence of one assigned to be watching Harry on the particular night of August 2nd when the Dementors attacked that got Harry in this ruckus. Along the way, Harry expresses several emotions about Dumbledore and his friends for not revealing the Order sooner, or trusting him with information via owl. He does reconnect with Sirius, albeit Sirius’ grudge of being cooped up. (He is still a wanted man.) Harry learns some surprising information about Sirius’ family that I think will come into play in future books.

Poisonous toadstools don’t change their spots. 

At his hearing, Cornelius Fudge changes the location last-minute, trying to make Harry look bad in arriving late (which he does). Additionally, he has assembled the entire Wizengamot (of which he kicked Dumbledore off) to be present at the hearing. Dumbledore calmly unsettles Fudge, actually bringing him into a fit, over the laws and justification of Harry’s use of magic to ward off the Dementors. Harry impresses many of the Wizengamot that he could do so, but Fudge wants to get the whole thing over with without a proper trial. Dumbledore, of course, calls in a witness to testify on Harry’s behalf. The Council clears Harry of wrong-doing, but there is still a rather bitter, nasty taste left in Harry’s mouth about the whole ordeal, and especially the Ministry under Fudge’s direction.

If Luna was to be believed, the beasts had always been there but invisible; why, then, could Harry suddenly see them, and why could Ron not?

Harry & Luna Lovegood

Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts and readers are introduced to a new character: Luna Lovegood. Luna is a fourth year with Ginny. She’s the quintessential “out-there” person (as perceived by others to be crazy), has an interest in Harry (in terms of his claims of Voldemort’s return), and she can see something no one else but Harry can see. But that’s not the strangest thing about returning to Hogwarts: Hagrid is nowhere to be found, and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor is none other than the toady woman who sat in at Harry’s hearing, employed by the Ministry of Magic to bring Hogwarts under the Ministry’s thumb. Things are not the same at Hogwarts anymore.

Delores Umbridge

Although it’s a benefit that Hermione and Ron have been selected as the Gryffindor Prefects, it doesn’t keep Harry from holding his tongue and telling the truth in a very tense and emotional argument between Harry and the new professor, Mrs. Umbridge, who criticizes Dumbledore openly and punishes those who talk out of turn by ignoring them like a five year-old. McGonagall herself tells Harry to watch his step around this woman, who additionally sparked a Red Scare by encouraging students to come forth with names of others who are supporting the idea that the Dark Lord has returned. Harry is indeed in a very tough spot, as some of his friends turn their back on him based on the Daily Prophet‘s writings, and the whole school is abuzz about his doings as well…and he’s too prideful to consult Dumbledore about any of this, as Dumbledore hasn’t sought him out to speak to him or would even look at him during his hearing. But it doesn’t end there. Cornelius Fudge is growing more paranoid by the day, convinced Dumbledore is preparing an army of wizards to go up against the Ministry…which explains Umbridge’s presence at Hogwarts. He’s pushing educational decrees into legislation, limiting the powers of Dumbledore at Hogwarts. But Fudge goes a step further, creating the very same inquisition at Hogwarts that Umbridge presented in her first class. Since she is not going to teach students, Hermione and Ron have cooked up the idea that Harry teach them! And they learn that Fudge has created the very thing he is afraid of…

With Harry’s volatile emotions and his anger with Dumbledore he begins experiencing some strange things that create tumult. A secret of Neville’s is revealed and Hermione finds a way to stick it to not only the horrible Umbridge, but also Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle and change public opinion of Harry and his revelation of the Dark Lord’s return…and in the process they lose the person they value the most.


Of the series so far this book is set apart. Although Harry’s past at Hogwarts has been checkered with his run-ins with Voldemort and his followers, this one is setting some gargantuan ideas in motion that I think will come to fruition in later books. This book was quite a bit longer and Rowling did some fancy footwork, setting the stage so to speak. If you’ve never read the Harry Potter series, I highly encourage you to do so. It is truly an enjoyable (and easy) read. Check out what Harry, Ron and Hermione will run into in the next book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.