Category: Book Reviews

 

Harry Potter

Harry Potter story is set in a fantasy world. Harry is a young wizard with a scar shaped as a lightning bolt. He is famous in the wizard world for surviving an attack from the dark lord. He attends Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry and fights dark powers throughout the series. The books have sold over 325 copies worldwide.

Joanne, or Jo as she prefers to be called, was born 31 July 1965. Her real name is Joanne Rowling; the K was added when the publisher, Bloomsbury, thought a female author wouldn’t appeal to the intended audience of young boys and thought it better to use a two letter pseudonym. Supposedly Joanne chose to add a K for Kathleen, as a tribute to her grandmother.

She wrote down her first story as a five or six years old. But it wasn’t until 1990, when she on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, that she first thought of Harry Potter. The basic idea was a young man attending a school of wizardry. It took a few years for her to complete the novel. Unemployed Joanne completed it in 1995.

The seventh and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has just been published 21 July 2007. Joanne states that an eight book is very unlikely, but that she never says never.

In ten years or seven books Harry Potter has turned from a child into a full grown man or wizard. He’s a young adult with a mission: to save the wizarding world from lord Voldemort a k a He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named a k a the Dark Lord.

The seventh and last book was recently released and fans were standing in line to get it. I bought it the same day, but it was a Saturday and I got some well-deserved sleep before going to the local bookstore.

In my first encounter with Harry’s world he was about to turn eleven; he found out of the magic world and left for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In this book he turns seventeen and is thus of age and allowed to use magic.

Voldemort has attempted to cheat death by splitting his soul into multiple pieces and storing each piece in a special object called a horcrux. In each horcrux his soul lives on and Harry has to destroy the remaining horcruxes in order to finally defeat Voldemort.

The wizarding world is turned upside down. The Death Eaters, followers of Voldemort, rule by terror and hunts down the mudbloods and muggle borns.

I have to admit I really didn’t like the sixth book that much. It seemed a bit too dark to me. But this one I really love.

The story brilliantly builds up from page to page towards the inevitable end.

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Brandon Sanderson)

I’m pretty sure I bought this book a couple years ago when all the booksellers seemed to be going out of business. After having read the author’s work before, I knew this book would be a good read.

Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson, is a traditional type fantasy. Set in the Final Empire, Mistborn mostly follows Vin and Kelsier through their journey to overthrown the Lord Ruler.

Sanderson is a master of plot. This book, though not intricate, follows a powerful plot. Everything is tied together and he shows his attention to detail in the very small things, such as the language the characters speak. I hesitate to say much more with fear of “giving things away,” but there are no plot holes left and very few questions unanswered (I’m hoping that the second book will be giving me those few answers).

His characters are rather plain and somewhat trope-like, but they are still interesting enough that I cared about them. We have Kelsier, a seemingly happy-go-lucky kind of guy (who also turns out to be a thief), and Vin, a distraught lower street thief worried about her next meal and whether or not she will die. While Vin is a character that we see a lot of, including her growth, she is still interesting enough to follow and care about. The breakthrough, for me, in character was toward the end of the novel where I actually felt some powerful emotions in reaction to Vin’s feelings. They are by no means an impediment to the story.

There were a few instances where I was left shaking my head at the choices Sanderson made. For example, he writes this book in third person, mainly from either Vin’s point of view or Kelsier’s. However, he does wander off to explore other points of view that do not enhance the story, I believe, in a way that makes the rather odd shift worthwhile. He could have given the information in another way. He starts the book with three separate points of view and sticks only to the middle (Kelsier’s) later. Upon reaching the next chapter, we are introduced to Vin, so far the fourth point of view. This jumble at the beginning is more an irksome point than anything else.

In regards to world-building, Sanderson did an excellent job. The magic system is well thought out but familiar. Though I considered the “lessons” to be thinly disguised world-building info dumps, they were executed in a way that made sense (if a bit too lengthy—he really wants you to know that he did his work). A few other things felt like they were afterthoughts—good afterthoughts—that worked well in the story but didn’t receive the same attention to detail. Other than the magic, the world building is subtle and left me wanting more information: exactly how I like it. The history is superb and perhaps discovered late in the writing, but I can sense the excitement of those discoveries and it only made me like the writing more.

Overall, Mistborn: The Final Empire is an excellent read. While it breaks with traditional magic usage, there are many familiar elements to fantasy. The novelty of the magic is refreshing and the plot is well-paced and well thought out. Certainly one of the better books out there in the fantasy genre.

An Honest Review of Declutter Fast: How to Get Your Home in Order Almost Immediately

An Honest Review:

Are you… a frustrated Work at Home Mom feeling like she has limited time

Dealing with… a lack of peace and harmony due to your clutter, thus, affecting your ability to build your business?

Or maybe you are… a disenchanted Homemaker

Trying to solve… your dilemma of creating a more beautiful home for your family, one that is free of clutter? Do you desire a home that reflects your individual, inspired style, is always ready to welcome guests and will be remembered by family and friends as warm and comfortable?

If so, Declutter Fast: How to Get Your Home in Order Almost Immediately could be helpful in solving those problems, and many more.

Here are just some of the highlights of Declutter Fast: How to Get Your Home in Order Almost Immediately:

  • Right away, Mimi Tanner gives useful, straightforward advice that is motivating and encouraging. She speaks in a positive voice, like that of a helpful friend whom is right there with you.
  • Then she gets to the heart of the issue of clutter and speaks candidly about what ill-effects being surrounded by clutter may have on our self image. She suggests that it essentially has a negative impact on other areas of our lives too, such as our relationships and finances, etc. She encourages us to face the fears we have that may be causing us to procrastinate by dealing with our clutter. She states that doing this cultivates a better sense of control and thus, improves our self-esteem so that we can move forward. She spends just enough time on this to get us thinking, but not so much that it sidetracks us from the task at hand of decluttering. She also uses her own experiences as examples with a non-judgemental, “I’ve been there” attitude.
  • I was very relieved and motivated by her simple, yet powerful concepts and methods, such as how having a location for our belongings is more important than having our locations organized. It makes it faster and easier to find things when they are grouped together. This was a big successful shift for me. I also liked her “5-Minute Solutions” and the idea that not only does it easily move you closer to your goal of decluttering, but it also helps you build self-discipline. This is paramount in achieving success at decluttering or for developing any new habit for that matter. These are a few of her simple yet powerful tips that make her advice so much easier to implement than many of the other books and systems I have attempted before. I so wish that I had found her e-book sooner! It would have alleviated so much stress and frustration from my life!.

Of course, Declutter Fast: How to Get Your Home in Order Almost Immediately isn’t for everybody.

  • I may not completely agree with her ease of discarding certain items, such as tattered clothing, rather than donating them. I know of at least one organization that recycles even torn clothes in order to make them into rags for service companies. However, one must consider for themselves what the value is of the time, space and energy they will spend in order to pass on ripped and useless items…

But if you’re dealing with any of the problems mentioned above, I think Declutter Fast: How to Get Your Home in Order Almost Immediately can probably save you a lot of time and hassles. Mimi Tanner’s research and experience, as well as a sincere desire to help, come through on every page of the book.