Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in 2017, 5 stars, Book Review, Jim Kay, JK Rowling | 2 comments

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling with art by Jim Kay
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling with art by Jim Kay

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Oversized Hardcover
Series: Harry Potter #2
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 259
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Award-winning artist Jim Kay illustrates year two of Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts, in the same beautiful, gift-ready format as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike
And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.
But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone — or something — starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?

My Thoughts:
I’m not going to bother to talk about the story because we all know it. I’ve read it multiple times, listened to it once (the Jim Dale versions) and plan to listen to it again (the Stephen Fry versions) so obviously, I love it.

I adored the illustrated edition of the first book. I read it last January and after I bought this one in October I knew I’d save it to read after the New Year. I hope to make that an annual tradition if the publisher and Jim Kay can get them out every year.

It’s an oversized (coffee table size) book printed on high quality paper with an attached ribbon bookmark. I’m still a little worried about what they’re going to do with Order of the Phoenix. I have to think it’ll be a two volume set or I won’t be able to lift it.

Jim Kay has done a masterful job with the illustrations. They are beautiful. I am amazed that he has managed to create these images. They are wholly new, yet at the same time remain true to both the drawings in the original editions and the sets and actors from the movies.

I felt that Jim Kay managed to take the images in my head and make them even more beautiful than I hand imagined.

The tough part was all the spiders. I had to read the pages with spiders very fast. Aragog doesn’t really bother me because he is so not a real spider. There is one two-page layout that I had to flip as quickly as possible and was very thankful there was no text on that page. Nightmare inducing for us arachnophobes.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in 2016, 3 stars, Book Review, JK Rowling | 2 comments

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Children’s High Level Group
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 108
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, contains five richly diverse fairy tales, each with its own magical character, that will variously bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril.

Additional notes for each story penned by Professor Albus Dumbledore will be enjoyed by Muggles and wizards alike, as the Professor muses on the morals illuminated by the tales, and revealed snippets of information about life at Hogwarts.

A uniquely magical volume, with illustrations by the author J.K. Rowling, that will be treasured for years to come.

My Thoughts:
I actually bought this little book several years ago but it’s been sitting unread on my shelf since then. When I decided that I was going to make an effort to Read My Own Damn Books in 2016 I put all my unread books that I still wanted to read on a couple of shelves and this one was included.

I decided to read it this week because I was still in a Harry Potter mood after reading the Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s a cute little book. There are five stories that are introduced as the wizarding world’s version of our familiar fairy tales. After each story are notes by Albus Dumbledore about the tales and how they had been received over the years among the wizarding world.

In retrospect this book is much more closely related to the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I will likely read it again before I get around to that volume of the series on my next reread or listen.

It’s a little side note in the world of Harry Potter, it’s certainly not required reading but I’m glad I read it anyway.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in 2016, 5 stars, Book Review, JK Rowling | 2 comments

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling with art by Jim Kay

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Oversized Hardcover
Series: #1 in the Harry Potter series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 247
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation’s favourite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

My Thoughts:
I’m not going to bother to talk about the story because we all know it. I’ve read it multiple times, listened to it once (the Jim Dale versions) and plan to listen to it again (the Stephen Fry versions) so obviously I love it.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Hogwart's Express
I was interested as soon as I heard this illustrated edition was coming. Then I saw a preview of some of the artwork and I started counting the days until it would be available. I picked up my copy the first week and it’s simply gorgeous.

It’s an oversized (coffee table size) book printed on high quality paper with an attached ribbon bookmark. My first thought after picking it up was that I don’t think I’m going to be able to lift Order of the Phoenix when it hits the bookstores. Seriously, we’re talking potential for back injury if they don’t split that one into two volumes.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Hagrid rescues Harry
Jim Kay has done a masterful job with the illustrations. They are beautiful. I am amazed that he has managed to create these images. They are wholly new, yet at the same time remain true to both the drawings in the original editions and the sets and actors from the movies.

Because Alan Rickman is on my mind today, I’m including Kay’s Snape here. It’s not Alan Rickman, yet at the same time it’s not exactly not Alan Rickman.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Severus Snape
I felt that Jim Kay managed to take the images in my head and make them even more beautiful than I hand imagined.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Diagon Alley
I cannot wait for the next book in this illustrated editions series.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Audiobook – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Posted by on Oct 26, 2010 in 2010, 5 stars, Book Review, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Support Your Library | 3 comments


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (Audio)

Genre: Fiction
Series: #7 in the Harry Potter series
Publication Date: 2007
Read by: Jim Dale
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #44
Source: Library

The Short Version:
The finale of the series is an exciting, entertaining and thoroughly satisfying conclusion.

Why I Read It:
Obviously I didn’t finish listening to this entire series before the Harry Potter Reading Challenge ended, but I didn’t care and wanted to finish listening to them back to back.

The Book:
As I’ve said before on the re-read via audio posts, I’m not going to bother with any kind of plot summary. By now you either know it or you don’t want to know.

My Thoughts:
Wow. Just Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the series back to back. It took months because I only listen to audiobooks when I’m in the car by myself so it’s a lot of short bits of listening time. I had spread the reading of the books over several years. I found a few advantages to listening to the series as a re-read. First of all, knowing what happens later makes many little small events and mentions early in the series that much more meaningful. Secondly, listening to the books back to back kept me in the mood and world of Harry and his friends. Thirdly, Jim Dale is fabulous. Yes, his Hermione seemed just whiny and all wrong at the beginning of the series but I think that was toned down as the books progressed.

This was such a wonderful way to re-experience an amazing series that I heartily recommend it.

This last book was difficult at times, though. The sad parts of the story almost seemed sadder when I heard them rather than read them. I was a bit weepy several times. I think I came out of this experience with a much greater appreciation and love for both Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. They both became favorite characters for me this time around.

While I missed the deadiine of the Harry Potter Reading Challenge by a mile (or several), I’m glad I stuck with it. On the other hand, as much as I enjoyed this way of listening to the series, I’m ready for something else in my audio reading. While I’ve been listening to Harry and the gang, I’ve amassed quite the extensive list of audiobooks in waiting in my itunes library. I’ve missed a few of my favorite characters from the other series I only read as audiobooks and I’m definitely looking forward to getting back together with them.

Rating 5/5

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Audiobook – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Posted by on Sep 10, 2010 in 2010, 5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Support Your Library | 2 comments


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Audio)

Genre: Fiction
Series: #6 in the Harry Potter series
Publication Date: 2005
Read by: Jim Dale
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #36
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Harry’s sixth year at Hogwart’s is complicated both in class and out as he faces new dangers and learns more about Voldemort’s history.

Why I Read It:
Obviously I didn’t finish listening to this entire series before the Harry Potter Reading Challenge ended, but I didn’t care and wanted to finish listening to them back to back.

The Book:
As I’ve said before on the re-read via audio posts, I’m not going to bother with any kind of plot summary. By now you either know it or you don’t want to know.

My Thoughts:
There was so much in this installment of the series. Harry’s mysterious potion book that used to belong to the Half-blood Prince is a source of intrigue not only for what it contains, but also for the mystery of its original owner. The kids are old enough that the normal on and off teenage relationships are a normal part of everything and have some expected and also sometimes humorous complications. The resurgence of Voldemort and his Death Eaters is finally out in the open and there are potentially deadly consequences at nearly every turn.

My favorite part of this book however was the way that Voldemort’s own history was revealed to Harry via the memories Dumbledore shows him in the pensieve. Their travels through the past together in Dumbledore’s own memories as well as those from others are fascinating.

The first time I read it I had a hard time believing that the events at the end really happened and had to back up and reread. Listening to the audio had me a teensy bit weepy.

I can only continue to recommend the audio versions as a great way to re-experience this series and listening to them back to back has been great fun.

Rating 5/5

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Audiobook – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Posted by on Jul 16, 2010 in 2010, 5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Support Your Library | 2 comments


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (Audio)

Genre: Fiction
Series: #5 in the Harry Potter series
Publication Date: 2003
Read by: Jim Dale
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #28, The Harry Potter Reading Challenge #5
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Things got a little darker in the fourth book and they get downright intense and scary in this one plus it has the deliciously fun to despise Dolores Umbridge.

Why I Read It:
While there’s no hope of me finishing listening to the whole series by the end of this month, The Harry Potter Reading Challenge gave me the push to use the audio versions as a way of re-reading the series back to back and I’m more than happy to fail the challenge and just continue with the last two books beyond the end date.

The Book:
As I’ve said before on the re-read via audio posts, I’m not going to bother with any kind of plot summary. By now you either know it or you don’t want to know.

My Thoughts:
I was curious about how Jim Dale would voice Dolores Umbridge. She was one of my favorite despicable characters in the series and I think he did an excellent job with her voice. He captured her prissiness and her “Hem Hem” interrupting cough perfectly.

Harry is quite the selfish teenage whiner for much of this book, but he’s a 15 year old boy so it’s not out of place. Dumbledore finally gets around to explaining some of Harry’s history and helps him understand why he had to live with the Dursleys.

I noticed on the re-read of this one that there are lots of hanging plot threads from earlier books picked up again as well as a lot of development toward what is to come in the final two books. Little things are mentioned that either have now become important or will be soon.

I’m really enjoying the secondary characters as I re-read the series. I liked the way Ginny is becoming more of a presence and I absolutely adore Luna Lovegood. Even without knowing what was to come in the final two books this was the point where I developed a real soft heart for Neville Longbottom. After learning about his parents and their torture at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, it was great to see him develop his abilities in the secret DA meetings and to be a part of the battle at the Ministry of Magic (albeit with a few typical Neville Longbottom type results).

I can only continue to recommend the audio versions as a great way to re-experience this series and listening to them back to back has been great fun.

Rating 5/5

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