Saturday Spotlight: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Introducing Saturday Nite Reader’s weekly meme: Saturday Spotlight! Each Saturday I will spotlight a book I have read or am currently reading; and, of course what I think is special about it. I invite you to participate as well! Just link back to my weekly post and don’t forget to add your spotlight link in the comment section for all to see. Happy Sharing! XO, Nikki

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

Published: June 21, 2003 by Scholastic, Inc.
Category: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction

It was 2001, or around that time, that I discovered the HP series. I wasn’t much of a leisurely reader. I was still in college and barely wanted to read any of my textbooks let alone a book for books sake. But, I found myself devouring Books 1 – 4 over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. I had caught up just in time to preorder Book 5: The Order of the Phoenix (my copy shown above).

I will not come to finish The Order of the Phoenix. I was in the middle of reading it when someone asked me if I got to the part where…(well I won’t ruin it for you, the way someone ruined it for me!) After receiving that spoiler, I never picked up the book again. Fast-forward around 15 years later and I still have yet to finish the infamous, popular HP series. I couldn’t even watch the movies for the books I did not read, because I didn’t want the books to be ruined for me (when I eventually started them again).

img_0885I’ve had the book sitting on my bookshelf all the time and just recently opened it to discover my bookmark still in its rightful place: I made it to the start of Chapter 21 (half-way through)!

Now the dilemma, do I re-start where I left off, at the beginning of ‘The Order of the Phoenix’, or restart the whole series because its been too long?

My answer: restarting the whole series over again! I need to reacquaint myself with the characters and the inner workings of Hogwarts. Heck, I still don’t even know which HP House I would be in! Now to just find the time…(the struggle of a book blogger)

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Audiobook Review: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

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3 disco balls

Published: June 5, 2018 by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing
Narrator: Phoebe Strole (whom I just discovered was Penny on Glee)
Length: 8 hours, 46 minutes
Category: Young Adult, Supernatural, Mystery, Thriller

Plot:  2.5 disco balls
Narrator:  4 disco balls

I recently downloaded Penguin Random House’s Volumes app on my iPhone and registered as an audiobook reviewer. I like to listen to at least 1 – 2 audiobooks a month during my short drive to the Path train, and especially while doing laundry. I hate folding laundry but audiobooks somehow make it more doable. But I digress.

My first audiobook through this program was Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl, which my friend recently read and recommended. I am not sure if I would have had a different experience with the story had I chose to read it versus listen to it; there was too much going on. I found myself losing interest and it was almost a DNF had I not wanted to figure out what the heck was going on.

I will preface my review with: I typically do not read supernatural and found myself feeling the story was a bit farfetched, but still with a rather interesting concept so I was intrigued. I know I need to make up my mind.Read More »

Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

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3.5 disco balls

Publish date: April 24, 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

I had a hard time rating this one a 3.5,  but just couldn’t give it a 4 and 3.75 seemed weird. I whipped through this book in two days and love author Becky Albertalli’s writing style. I am a fan of dialogue and witty banter is even better: you get that with this book. I just felt it was missing something. That something special that came with the experience of reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Note: ‘Leah on the Offbeat’ is a continuation of the Creekwood series; Simon being Creekwood #1. It can be read as a standalone – but then you wouldn’t really know the characters and I absolutely recommend reading Simon! That is a given.Read More »

Goodreads Monday: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out Lauren’s Goodreads Monday blog post to share your Monday selections.

I am still on a 5 disco ball book high after finishing Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I loved the movie Love, Simon just as much. Both are a must experience.

31180248One of Simon’s best friends is Leah. And, she is getting her own book coming out the end of this month! If you are like me and missing Simon and his group of friends tremendously, you won’t have to wait much longer. And yes, I already preordered my copy!

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Publish date: April 24, 2018 by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Goodreads Synopsis:
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

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Still haven’t read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda?! You are missing out: get your copy today!


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Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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If you do not own this book yet – go buy it. Like, NOW! You will want to own it and it will sit on the top shelf with all your other favorite books. And then go see the movie. You can thank me later. No really, you will.

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Publish Date: April 7, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Pre-order/Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
William C. Morris Award Winner: Best Young Adult Debut of the Year * National Book Award Longlist

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Goodreads Monday: An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out Lauren’s Goodreads Monday blog post to share your Monday selections.

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An Elephant in the Garden
by Michael Morpurgo
Published: October 25, 2011 by Feiwel & Friends (first published 2009)
Purchase: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis:

With Lizzie’s father fighting in World War II, her mother takes on the job of a zoo keeper to provide for her family. Lizzie, her mother, and her eight-year-old brother Karli have become especially attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene. The bombing of Dresden is imminent and soon, so the zoo director explains that as a precautionary measure all the animals must be destroyed so that they’re not running wild through the city. Lizzie’s mother persuades the director to allow Marlene, the elephant, to come stay in the family’s garden.

As predicted, Dresden is bombed, and the family, including Marlene, is forced from the city. Lizzie and her family aren’t alone. Thousands of Dresden residents are fleeing to find somewhere safe to stay. Lizzie’s mother has to find a different route out of the city to keep the elephant and the children safe from harm. Once they reach the abandoned home of their relatives, they come across Peter, a Canadian navigator who, by putting himself at risk of capture to save the family, gains their trust.

This unlikely grouping of family, elephant, and enemy turned ally come together beautifully to illustrate the importance of love, resolve, and hope.

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Audiobook Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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4_DiscoBalls

4 disco balls

Published: August 16, 2011 by Random House Audio
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOTM $9.99 add on
Category: Science Fiction, YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
Prometheus Award for Best Novel (2012), ALA Alex Award (2012), Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work (2016)

Eureka! I finally found one: an audiobook that I loved. I mean what 80’s baby wouldn’t appreciate an audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton loaded with 80’s pop culture references to boot? Fun Fact: my favorite Wil Wheaton movie is Toy Soldiers.

I will admit that when I first read the synopsis of this book I didn’t think it was my jam. My best friend convinced me otherwise and boy was she right! I loved it! Like really loved it. I am not sure if I would have felt the same way reading the book versus listening; I think since I enjoyed the narration that I was more engaged. Either way I now can’t wait for the movie coming out in March.Read More »