Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

The final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows gives such a satisfactory end. Sometimes it seems like the action is nonstop, but at other times there is extensive dialogue and explanations preparing for the final war and wrapping up everything that led to that point. The epilogue is perfect in spite of Harry and Ginny giving their middle son one of the worst combination of names possible. Once we got a few chapters from the end, we decided to just finish it because we all wanted to see how it ended (in spite of it not being the first read for most of us). Truly an excellent book and series that I recommend everyone of all ages read.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 1
Pages Read in 2021:1
(Read aloud to 12 and 14 year old boys)

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

2020 Annual Wrap-Up

How many books did you read and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?
I read 66 books this year. I beat 52, but I read far fewer books than I have the last few years. Adopting six kids 5 and under certainly had a lot to do with that!

What story stayed with you a long time, left you wanting more or needing time to digest?
The Risk of Us by Rachel Howard. It was written in a really unusual way. I never knew how it was going to end as I was reading it and I really wanted to know more about the characters once it was finished.

What are some quotes that made you read them a second time?
“One is a knife that shoots bullets, and the other is a gun that shoots knives. I might be making that up. Even I can’t tell anymore.” (Only Dead on the Inside by James Breakwell)

“This book now contains one real fact. It’s officially educational.” (Only Dead on the Inside by James Breakwell)

 “‘Listening to the news! Again?’
‘Well, it changes every day, you see,’ said Harry.” (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling)

“‘Now, it is the view of the Ministry that a theoretical knowledge will be more than sufficient to get you through your examination, which, after all, is what school is all about.'” (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling)

“‘This is school, Mr. Potter, not the real world.'” (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling)

Top 5 Books of the Year
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
The Risk of Us by Rachel Howard
The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? by Vanessa Gray Bartal
A Thief Obsessed by Heather Sunseri

Bottom 5 Books of the Year
Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore
Stop Staring at Screens by Tanya Goodin
Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sonderby
Pasta, Pinot & Murder by Jamie Lee Scott
The Shrigley Abduction by Abby Ashby and Audrey Jones

How many books are in your To Read pile right now?
803 (That’s 51 more than at the end of 2019, 142 more than 2018, and 272 more than at the end of 2017 when I started keeping track… I am definitely going in the wrong direction here…)

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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Written alternating present day and 1920s to 40s, Orphan Train is a fabulous book. The writing draws you in and makes you want to know more about the characters and what happened to them. The main two characters are extremely likable. The way the characters’ trauma is written is incredible. It’s just a really great book. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 66
Pages Read in 2020: 20,778
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Wrecked by Elle Casey

One the one hand I really cared about the characters and what happened to them in Wrecked, but on the other hand the writing was not great. The character development was excellent. Each of the four main characters clearly had their own voice. That part was well-written. But the foreshadowing was very badly done and the sex scenes were incredibly cringeworthy to the point I pretty much just wanted to laugh. Overall, I did enjoy the book well enough and it was a pleasant mind vacation.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 65
Pages Read in 2020: 20,500
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Young Adult

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is where it all gets super real and Harry has to grow up and truly face his future. It’s one of my favorite books and reading it always feels like returning to an old friend. The writing is excellent. The story is super engaging. Just a wonderful book (and series) all around.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 64
Pages Read in 2020: 20,064
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson

Reeling from a bad breakup and needing to move across the country, the author set off on a road trip that would double as the inspiration for what became I Might Regret This. Sometimes it’s incredibly meandery and boring. Sometimes it’s funny. But always it’s random. Very random. There is nothing much insightful in this book and it is mostly a waste of time, though there is enough funny in there to make it worth the time it take to read it (it reads fast), particularly for people who are fans of Broad City or Abbi Jacobson.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 62
Pages Read in 2020: 17,802
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? by Vanessa Gray Bartal

Take two very different people living next door to each other, both of whom are not interested in marriage, throw them together a bit, and you’ve got a Hallmark movie in a book. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? ends exactly how you expect it will which is also exactly how you want it to. It’s an easy, short read, a perfect mind vacation. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys very light romance.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 61
Pages Read in 2020: 17,482
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller

I never realized there was so much corruption and scandal in the world of olive oil. I also now want to find an olive oil bar. I found this book to be quite fascinating. You wouldn’t think the topic would be quite so engaging, but it definitely is. I recommend it to anyone who likes olive oil.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 60
Pages Read in 2020: 17,326
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

My Man Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

Every chapter of My Man Jeeves is another story, another comedy of errors, another time Jeeves’ supreme intelligence gets them out of a tight situation. I felt like I was reading an old black and white comedy. It reads fast and is mostly quite amusing and a fun mind vacation.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 58
Pages Read in 2020: 16,189
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Sometimes I was a bit confused about who a section was about because the author chose to write vaguely at some points before suddenly switching to specifics (occasionally randomly switching back to being vague again for no apparent reason). This really reduced the enjoyment of the book for me. What was going on and what the 5th wave actually was unfolded very well, however. It definitely kept me interested. The end was mostly satisfactory and because of that plus the fact that I didn’t love the writing style, I will not be continuing with the series.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 57
Pages Read in 2020: 16,059
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Science Fiction, Young Adult