Monday, June 26, 2017

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

Slowly but surely we are getting through this series with my oldest. He is a huge fan of Harry Potter and knows his trivia already. The look of his face when we got to the end and the big surprise hit was priceless. If you have read this book or when you read this book you will know exactly to what I refer. 

Book 6 in this series is dark. The wizard world now officially knows that Voldemort has returned. Now that the world knows Harry and Dumbledore are not crazy, the pressure on them has become tougher than ever. Everyone may know Harry was right but now they know he is the chosen one. Harry is in fact the one person to end Voldemort. This book has two story lines that progress through the book. 

The first story line leads right into the title. Harry is taking potions this year and he didn't expect to The reason is Snape is now the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher and since the new teacher isn't as strict Harry can follow his school plan to be an Auror. Since he wasn't expecting to take the class he has to use an old book. While using this book he finds little notations in the margins. These notes were made by none other than the the Half-Blood Prince. These little notes help to make Harry the best student in the class which will come in handy if he wants to get the information he needs for Dumbledore out of Professor Slughorn. 

This leads us to our second plot line. Dumbledore is away from school a lot but he is taking time to work with Harry on a very important back story. I know what you may be thinking, this is the 6th book I think we know everything there is to know about Harry's backstory. This book isn't about Harry's story but rather the early days of Voldemort. Dumbledore and Harry have to find out what secrets Voldemort is hiding and the best way to defeat him. 

I love this book. This is my second read of this series and I have to admit that my opinions haven't changed at all. I have re-read other series and found that the books didn't hold the same magic as when I read it for the first time. The Harry Potter books have remained some of my favorites. and now that my wife and I take turns reading this to our 7 year old  there is even more magic watching his face as we read these. I stay firm on my 5 out of 5 rating. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Song of Susannah by Stephen King

I enjoyed this book both times I have read it now. I went back and read my old review on Goodreads from when I read this back in 2011 and I was disappointed with my write up. It is really hard to write up a book in a series towards the end of it. As I have written more and more reviews I have come to terms with the fact that when I read a series I cannot write to those who have never read anyof the books in the series. I will not spoil the book but I will write a true review that will possibly spoil parts of the previous books. I say this so that you are officially warned. If you have any interest in reading the Dark Tower, read the other books before this review. 

This book picks up right where Wolves of the Calla leaves off. Susannah has gone through a door in the cave of the Mani and Jake, Roland, and Eddie are left to find her and save the tower. As our heroes wonder what to do next a beam quake hits hard shutting the door way into our world and Jake is the only one who can get it back open. The Mani have plans to send Jake through the doorway since he is strong in the touch and can open it but Eddie has other plans. I would too if it was my wife gone missing through a strange door into a different where and when. 

Susannah has crossed into our world but she isn't in control. A new personality has taken over Susannah and her name is Mia. Her whole purpose is to make sure the Chap is born and to care for the baby. Now Roland and Eddie have to do what they can to protect the rose while finding a way to get to Susannah and keep her from being killed by her Chap and the things that want it.

I'm going to be honest here and this is something you don't really think about until the second read. In this book Stephen King is actually in it. Eddie and Roland are in our world and find King in his home and have a few questions for Sai King. When I first read this book I thought this was so cool. I loved that the characters got to meet the creator. However, on a second read I don't find this as cool as I once did. I found this very vain and kind of a waste of time. Considering the ending of this book and the beginning of the next, if this section was cut out then more could have been covered in this book which either would have shortened the Dark Tower book 7 or allowed for just more.

I still enjoyed this book but I think I will have to change my original review from 5 out of 5 stars, to 4 out of 5. I still enjoyed this book but it wasn't as good as I remembered it. There was a slight hint of disappointment this time around with book 6.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wonder Woman Vol 2: Year one by Greg Rucka

DC knew what they were doing when they did a Year One story for Volume 2 to coincide with the Wonder Woman movie that also has an origin/year one story. I have loved reading Wonder Woman but have missed a few during New 52. I will catch up at some point but for now I am trying to keep up with Rebirth and not miss a thing. Thanks to NetGalley and DC Comics I was able to read this for an honest review. I fell down on my reading a bit so I am a bit late getting this review up but I'm back and ready to read. 

Greg Rucka is a great writer and I have loved his stories in the past. This one just wasn't my favorite. I really liked Vol 1 of Wonder Woman. Diana is dealing with conflicting memories of her origin and has partnered up with Cheetah to take down a demon. It had a really goo start to a larger story line and then it was a bit unsettling to interrupt that with a Year One story. I'm not saying this isn't a good book, just that the timing on this book was a little poor. It is great that it came out with the release of the movie, but here I got all excited to continue on with what I read in Vol 1 only to go backwards and move away from that story.

We still got a very good Wonder Woman story it was just out of place for me. Instead we get to see Diana train to become the champion of the Amazons. We get to see her meeting with Steve Trevor and the tough decision to leave everything behind to help save the world of Man and stop Ares from his torment over mankind. 

Ares is impressive and I always enjoy the stories he is in. I feel like I am being a little unfair on this book just because it didn't really fit in with what my expectations were. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars, I still look forward to getting to vol 3 now that the year one story has been done I hope to get back to the now. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wonder Woman (2017)

One word... FANTASTIC!!!!! My wife and I have been waiting for this movie for so long that at Christmas time we asked for Movie gift cards so we could seer this and Justice League because we knew money would be tight. We waited in anticipation until the day came this came to theaters and I want to go see this again. 

The movie fits in with the current universe of DC movies as it opens but hten this is a flash back origin story in the best way. Gal Gadot was absolutely impressive in Batman versus Superman and she surpassed that performance in this movie. We see Dinana Prince walking into the Louvre on her way to work and a Wayne Enterprise truck shows up to deliver a case to her. This is where the story flashes back to when Diana is just a little girl on Themyscira growing up under the shadow and protection of her mother the queen. Here we get to watch Diana grow up until the world of the Amazons is shattered by the arrival of Steve Trevor as his plane crashes through the magical barrier. 

We then get to see Diana defy her mother's wishes and take Steve Trevor to leave Themyscira and head to the world of man to help end Ares the god of War and stop World War 1. There are some great lighthearted moments, like Diana's discuss at how women are treated in 1918 London. How women are supposed to fight in the layered dresses. Also, Steve Trevor's secretary is quite funny and her interaction with Diana is just great.

All that aside I am humbly moved by this movie. I have always been conscious of the struggles women face and I hope everyday that my daughter doesn't have to deal with the same hurdles when she grows up. She always wants to be Batman or the Flash and never wants to be Batgirl. I want my daughter to be proud to be a woman and have a strong role model other than my wife to look to. Wonder Woman, I mean Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins are those women. I had no idea that I had been waiting all my life for this movie until I saw. it. I want my son to know that Women can be strong and deserve respect so I am as much excited for my daughter to watch this movie as I am my son. I was moved to tears at one point and had goosebumps through the whole movie. 

This is easily the best movie I have seen all year and I'm so glad I finally got to see it. My wife and I loved this and wish we could go right back to the theater to watch this again. If you haven't seen this movie yet I beg you to go. It doesn't matter if you are a comic book fan or a Wonder Woman fan this is just a very well done movie with a moving story and a cast that was perfect for every role. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and will give it 10 out of 5 just because this is my blog and I make the rules. Check out the trailer below.