books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read this series so many times, I've stopped putting in the dates.  Usually I listen to the audio tapes when I have some work to do that doesn't use all my senses,  but keeps my attention only partially.  While the story is one I know by heart, I am always amazed as another of the numerous incidence of the series plot is laid down to be harvested in a later book.

In this book we see our three heros as teenagers, and they really are!  I think they are bickering and quarreling through the whole book!  I found it annoying, but so totally accurate for their age that it made me smile.  They are constantly at cross purposes and cross with each other.  In this book, the writing takes a much darker turn and younger kids who enjoyed the first four books may find this one a little too dark and dangerous.

The story starts with Ron and Hermoine knowing about the Order of the Phoenix and Harry being kept in the dark.  The problem is that Voldemort is back and he wants to kill Harry. The Order members know how much danger Harry is in and they want to protect him.  The Ministry of Magic is no help because they are determined to believe that Voldemort is not back despite all the evidence.

Voldemort also wants the prophecy concerning Harry Potter which is held at the Ministry of Magic down a dark corridor.  Harry is getting glimpses of what Voldemort sees as he works his evil.  This is helpful when the snake, Nagini, bites Mr. Weasley and leaves him is dying.  Harry is able to alert Professor Dumbledore and someone is at the Ministery of Magic immediately.  Since Harry is being kept out of a lot of the business of the Order, he is determined to find the prophecy himself.

The best part of this book is Delores Umbridge.  The Ministry of Magic is trying to squelch all rumors that Voldemort has returned and so they install Umbridge as the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher.  The Ministry doesn't believe the children should actually practice defensive spells because there is no need.  They believe that the students should read carefully edited text books about dark arts in the past.  Delores, however, in her fluffy pink everything, is just pure evil.  She's a villan you love to hate.  Every time Harry and crew do something, she has poor old Filch hammer up another decree on the wall.  Eventually, just about everything is banned, but the kids, of course, have found a way around the rules.

(Just a little note, the casting in the movie for the part of Delores Umbridge, I think, was wrong.  It would have been better to cast someone whose character was evil posing as someone who is good rather than the other way around.  Delores doesn't ring true until you have seen the movie a couple of times and have already identified with her as an evil person.)  

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Death on the Downs

Death on the Downs (Fethering, #2)Death on the Downs by Simon Brett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another adventure from the village of Fethering featuring the odd couple of sleuths, Carol Seddon and her friend, Jude.  Carol stumbles on some bones in a barn while sheltering from a storm.  She has to try to find out who the bones belonged to and, unfortunately, who murdered the victim.  This sets up the amateur detective scenario in which the two friends bumble into the clues and then the solution.

The book is charming because of the characters and environment.  The mystery is just the vehicle to propel us through the charming village of Fethering and the Weldisham Downs.  While the mystery is interesting, the lives of the main characters is what brings me back to these books, that and the probably non-existent village life of the English countryside.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The House of Velvet and Glass

The House of Velvet and GlassThe House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was very interesting.  A young woman finds that under certain circumstances, she is able to see the future.  As she begins to work to change some events by interfering, she finds that changing the future has some unexpected and unpleasant consequences.

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Kissing Christmas Goodbye

Kissing Christmas Goodbye (Agatha Raisin, #18)Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was one of the better books in this series.  Agatha Raisin is still irritating as usual and obsessed about James Lacy and the perfect Christmas, but she shows compassion for her young detective, Toni, whom she rescues from and abusive home.  Toni is a wonderful addition to the Agatha Raisin stories and breathes new life into the series.  She is talented and personable...a perfect foil for Agatha.  James is his usual wooden self and Agatha's obsession with him is irritation as usual.  In some ways, I keep coming back to Agatha just like she keeps coming back to him.  She irritates me with her shallowness and grousing, but I find myself looking at the library shelves for the latest in the series.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #2)

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #2)The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in this wonderful series and the governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, has managed to somewhat tame her young charges and help them deal with the constrictions placed on young children of wealthy and socially prominent parents.  It hasn't been easy though.  For one thing, their mother has absolutely no idea how to raise a child, in fact, she is often more of a child than her children.

As the children come to the city, more and more things don't seem to add up.  There is some connection to them and a mysterious society and it involves a hidden room in the Art Gallery.

There are also some disturbing questions about Miss Lumley's parents and the roll of her mentor and teacher at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females.  Why is her hair turning the same color as that of the children?  Why does her mentor require her to use a special conditioner for her hair that changes the color and texture.  What has really happened to her parents.

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