Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

prisoner of azkaban

Reviewed by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Format: Hardback
# of pages: 435
Grade Reading Level: 5.9; Ages 11+

Summary: School hasn’t even started and there’s and escapee from a high security wizarding prison out to kill Harry Potter. He has been warned not to be looking for Sirius Black by Arthur Weasley, but as Harry said to Arthur, “Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me?” At school the Ministry of Magic has put a guard in place made up entirely of Dementors. The Dementors are only suppose to be in charge of the wizard prison, but Cornelius Fudge seems to think their presence will inspire confidence in the populace. Though how we do not know as Sirius Black has escaped the guards once already! Harry’s life is in danger in more ways than one this year.

Why I Started the Book:

I read this book because I’m continuing to reread the Harry Potter series.

Likes:

  • I liked it when Malfoy got his “just desserts” for insulting Buckbeak the hippogriff.
  • Rowling came up with a really fun artifact– the time turner. I especially enjoyed its use and the turn of events at the end of the story. I thought Dumbledore’s omniscient handling of the predicament to save Buckbeak and Sirius Black was excellent.
  • The Marauders Map was awesome! I liked how it showed where everyone was and where they were going. Now if only it showed the difference between a person in Animagus form and the normal human form.
  • The Dementors were scary, but awesome, and I loved reading the parts where they were mentioned.
  • Remus Lupin is a fantastic character! He was helpful, knowledgeable, and patient. The best Defense Against the Dark Arts teach to date in the books!

Dislikes:

  • I greatly disliked Draco Malfoy and his father. Yes, they’re characters to love to hate, but it really is unfair what they can get away with because they’re Malfoys. For instance when they got Hadgrid in trouble after his first Care of Magical Creature lesson. It clearly wasn’t his fault.
  • I didn’t like Hermoine deceiving and depriving Harry of his new Firebolt. She could have handled her concerns better instead of going above Harry to a teacher.

Last Minute Thoughts: This book is where the series takes off and fleshes out.

Buy: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Paperback), Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-7), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Audio Book), Harry Potter 1- 7 Audio Book Collection

Book Rating: I give this book 5 treasure chests for cleverness, creativity, and creepy creatures!
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Review: Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Will Work for Prom Dress
Author: Aimee Ferris
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 272 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12-16

Summary: Quigley Johnson and her best friend Anne Parisi have joined together to get jobs, buy dresses, find dates, and go to prom. It’s all part of the betterment plan. But playing a corpse or dressing as pickle aren’t exactly glamorous, that’s why when Anne’s designer mom offers them positions as models for fledgling designers they both jump on it. They like 2 young men there, but with two boys courting them at school it’s hard to know who to ask as their formal date.

Why I started this book:

Goodreads recommended it to me based on books in my TBR pile.

Likes:

  • How Quigley handles David throughout the book and especially at the end when his pranks are hurting others.
  • Poor Quigley goes through a lot of minor mortifications – face full of dressing as the corpse, having to dress as a pickle, etc. She gets through it all with aplomb.
  • I like how she gets her art focus and pursues it almost absently. Additionally I love how her anger at life gives her a great idea for a speech.

Toss up:

  • Anne is sort of a good friend. There are things she does well, like stick with Quigley through thick and thin, but then there’s a lot she does not. One of which is leaving Quigley behind while chasing after boys. She also gets into a scrape with the police for vandalism.

Dislikes:

  • Zander was really harsh at one point in the book and honestly I don’t feel Quigley should have gotten back together with him, despite his reasons. They could have been friends. I would have preferred that honestly.
  • This book was one I picked up and put down a bit, but once I pushed through the slow part it was smooth sailing.

Buy: Will Work for Prom Dress

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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Review: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace by Eric Wight

by Gangplank Gigi, guest reviewer

Title: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace
Author: Eric Wight
Format: Kindle ebook
Page Count: 96 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Frankie Pickle has a secret life inside his imagination (this aspect is in a graphic novel format). Frankie draws all over his math test as his imagination leads him, but he is given an extra few days to re-take it. Over those days, he is so busy he doesn’t have time to do any studying, but he finds out that his parents have been teaching him math through the things he does in life (such as baking with his father.)

Why I started this book:

I read this book to my 6.5 year old grand daughter after reading it for myself. It was bought on my Kindle.

Likes:

  • This book is a good one for boys, because it is about Frankie.
  • He happily passes the re-take, even if he still uses his imagination.

Dislikes:

  • It was very difficult to read the graphic novel portions on the Kindle. It was black and white both on Kindle and on iPad. (Probably because I bought it as a Kindle ebook versus through the iPad store.) The graphic sections are much easier to read on iPad.

Buy: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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Review: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 1) by Jennifer Estep

Reviewed by First Mate Keira 

Title: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 336 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: Mythos Academy is a boarding school for children of myths and legends. Gwen is a total outcast because she’s a Gypsy and has no special fighting abilities and in point of fact doesn’t really believe anybody is related to the gods. But Gwen has a gift which only Mythos can teach her about – she can wield psychometry, which allows her to see a person’s memories, feelings or thoughts when she touches objects – and so to Mythos she goes. Surviving high school has taken on a whole new meaning.

Why I started this book:

I saw how many people were reading it and were loving it so I had to get a copy and see for myself!

Likes:

  • Hot Spartans, especially deadly Logan Quinn. It’s cute that he calls her Gypsy Girl (mostly to grab her attention/get under her skin.)
  • The girl sleuthing going on trying to figure out who killed Jasmine Ashton at the Library of Antiquities and stole the Bowl of Tears.
  • Gwen and Daphne Cruz’s change from enemies/acquaintances to friends.
  • Gwen becoming the champion of Nike.

Dislikes:

  • Gwen Frost lands a spot at Mythos Academy when she helps stop a girl from her old school getting raped by her stepdad. Was this really necessary? I get the girl power side of the equation but still it’s a little overkill. Why couldn’t Gwen’s mother’s tragic car accident be the only reason she was going and leave the fact that she never went before to family politics between the dead mother and living grandmother?

Last Minute Thoughts: Ready for book two please!

Buy: Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy)

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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Review: All American Girl by Meg Cabot

bookreview

by Captain Yarr

Title: All American Girl
Author: Meg Cabot
Narrator: Ariadne Meyers
Format: Unabridged Compact Discs
CDs + Minutes: 6 CDs (7 hours and 10 minutes)
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12+

Summary: Sam is a not so ordinary girl who wears all black and has a talent for drawing. She is in love with her sisters’ boyfriend Jack, who is an artist also. Her parents sign her up for art classes that she doesn’t want to take, and one class she decides to skip. While she’s waiting for class to be over she sees the president of the United States and an assassin trying to kill him. One quick thoughtless decision and she’s a hero for saving the president. At a celebratory dinner at the White House she reconnects with the presidents’ son, David from her art class. Does stay true to Jack or will her heart fall for a new love?

Why I Started This Book:

One day I went to the library and I guess it caught my eye from a lineup of audio books. I’m a big fan of audio books as you know.

Likes:

  • I liked David. He was both mysterious and sweet with a wide teasing streak.
  • I enjoyed the chapter where Sam and her family were at the White House for dinner. Sam’s a picky eater and ended up putting about half of her dinner into her napkin to avoid eating it.

Dislikes:

  • While I was listening to this book Meg Cabot would write “I mean” this and “I mean” that. When read aloud it was way too much. Eventually I got sick of hearing the words and would groan every time I heard them.
  • I didn’t like how Sam dyed all of her clothes black. If I had to do that I’d die of hideous fashion shame.

Last minute thoughts: I didn’t really understand why this book was called “All American Girl,” after all how many American girls save the president and find love with his son?

Buy: All American Girl (Audio Cassette), All-American Girl (paperback)

Book Rating: I give this book 3.5 Treasure Chests.
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Movie Review: Easy A starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, and Dan Byrd

by First Mate Keira

Title: Easy A
Director: Will Gluck
Run Time: 92 minutes
Rated: PG-13

Summary: Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) is invisible to the student population of Ojai High until one day a popular Christian leader at the school (Amanda Bynes) overhears Olive tell a fib to her best friend in the girl’s bathroom. Overnight Olive goes from invisible good girl to the most talked about floozy in school. Olive decides she likes the attention and offers to help her gay friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) in order to keep up appearances. Olive will soon learn that there can be too much of a good thing.

Why I watched this movie:

I had to do a The Scarlet Letter presentation when I was in school, which I still have lying around somewhere. It was a silent film reenactment done between me and my two friends. I’m sure it’s hilariously bad. Anyway I wanted to see Easy A because of the high school connection and also because of how cool it looked. Easy A totally blew my school project out of the water… lol

Likes:

  • Who knew the The Scarlet Letter could be so much fun? Easy A, like Clueless, is a modern retelling of a classic novel with a strong young adult teen thread that makes it both educational and hilariously entertaining. I really like the idea of taking classic novels and giving them a modern twist.
  • Emma Stone is fabulous in this role. She’s feisty, quirky, funny, and thoroughly entertaining. She’s really coming into her own as an actress. I hope to see much more of her in the future in roles as good as this one.
  • Amanda Bynes is a perfectly awful good girl. I love it. Bynes really breaks out of her mold as the good girl sweetly quirky heroine and manages to do it while still portraying a “good girl.” I love it!
  • The dialogue, script, storyline, acting, it was all great!

Dislikes:

  • Brandon (Dan Byrd) was probably my least favorite character. Mostly due to the ridiculously bad sex scene. It’s funny, but Byrd’s acting in it, is just over the top for me.
  • I don’t get why telling the teacher about his cheating spouse is a bad thing? Dude – the woman has an STD – that alone should be reason to tell him… not they they were having sex.
  • Todd (Penn Badgley) should have had a larger part. He’s slightly too marginalized for my tastes.

Last Minute Thoughts: Other than a few quibbles, Easy A is an A+ movie!

Buy: Easy A

Rating: 5 Treasure Chests

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