Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sage's Book Review II: The Harry Potter Series, by: J.K Rowling

My Love Affair with the Harry Potter Series by: J.K Rowling, From the Beginning
by: Sage Spelling.

The Harry Potter (HP) seven book series by J.K Rowling is my addiction! I have been obsessed with the series since 2002 when my children’s literature professor added Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to the class syllabus. I remember thinking, you have to be kidding but after I read the first three chapters - I was completely hooked!

The tale stole my heart instantly by explaining Harry Potter’s heart breaking tale of his cruel upbringing by his muggle (non-magical) aunt and uncle (Vernon and Petunia Dursley).
As I read I thought the Dursleys need their behinds kicked for the horrible way they treated poor Harry but my prayers were answered when a half giant (Hagrid) broke down the Dursley's door. Hagrid told Harry that he was a wizard and he was to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn how to use magic!

My love affair with the Harry Potter series is based on the infatuation with the magical world that J.K Rowling created. There were many elements of good vs. evil, humor, sadness, friendship and most of all of love. This was just the beginning of my love affair with the Harry Potter world, there were six other books, three of which I waited in line for at midnight with my many fellow Potter junkies!

I whipped through books 1-4 within the same month that I got my hands on the first one; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4). It was like I couldn’t get enough. Each book seemed to get better and better. I would rush home, not answering my phone as I kept my nose buried inside my precious world.

The world that J.K Rowling built astonished me, owls as the postal service, magic wands that you must be fitted for, expensive flying broomsticks with cool names like Firebolt. A game played on broomsticks with flying balls called Quidditch, chocolate frogs that run way before being eaten and every flavor jelly beans with flavors like ear wax and vomit! Ghost walking the castles, a school curriculum including Charms and Transfiguration where the professor can turn into a tabby cat!

While reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6), I was livid as I witnessed Harry's loss of two men that were like father figures to him due to the violence of Voldemort. The story was unfolding before me but it still left me filled me questions and I hoped that the next book will answer them all.

My questions were, indeed, answered in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) when I returned home at 1:00 AM after waiting in line at my local bookstore. I stayed up reading all night until the following morning, and must have cried a dozen times as I read the many deaths and sadness that jumped off the pages from the very first chapter. When I  finally reached the chapter entitled Nineteen Years Later, all my questions were answered but I still felt cheated somehow, as though there should have been more. After I read the book once more, I realized I would never be satisfied; the world JK Rowling built was one that I could never get enough of.

The Harry Potter Series is one of the most enchanting stories that I have ever read, it took me through a rollercoaster of emotions but I wouldn’t have had it any other way!
I was ecstatic to learn that JK Rowling is working on a book for adults; there is no news of when this book will be on the shelves but I look forward to reading the new adventure that she creates for me! If you’re interested in visiting the Harry Potter world, the complete set is now available in Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Nobles Nook formats.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sage's Book Review I: A Year to Remember, By Shelly Bell

Have you ever read a book and related to the Hero or Heroine’s issues? Have you read a story and thought…hey, that’s me! I totally get it! That’s how I felt when I read A Year to Remember, By Shelly Bell.

Food addict, overweight, single, dateless, and without any decent martial prospects; Sara Friedman is a bridesmaid at her younger brother’s wedding that takes place on her 29th birthday. Her brother’s wedding combined with turning 29, has forced her to re-evaluate why she is still single.

Has she set quality standards that couldn’t possibly be met by a Jewish man? Should she reconsider the qualities she required in her mate and listen to her family, who didn’t understand the reasons why she ended the only few relationships she had?

As her insecurities plagued at her, Sara was forced to make a impromptu speech, but her drunken state has her announcing to 300 wedding guest that she was jealous of her brother for finding his soul mate and promised that she too will be married in exactly one year, by her 30th birthday. Ouch!

When you didn’t think anything good can come from a night like the one Sara had endured, her drunken condition leads her in a dark room where a mystery man steals a kiss. The playful but passionate kiss ignites her in a way she had never felt before, leaving her confused and yearning for more. After her tempter cooled from the mystery man’s kiss, she contemplated why he stayed anonymous? Was he embarrassed of her? The thought left her feeling alone and she confessed that she truly wanted to find her soul mate.

Now you’re probably thinking it can’t get any worse right? Wrong!

The reality of her intoxicated speech hits Sara hard when she learns her speech somehow landed on You Tube and a national morning show offers to follow her during her quest to find and marry her soul mate in one year’s time. With the help of her best friend Missy, she accepts the challenge and begins her search. Sara’s search leads her to a cross road, is she to follow her heart or fulfill her promise to marry by her 30th birthday?

Situations like a food addiction, feeling overweight, being single or dateless without any decent martial prospects in clear view are issues ordinary women and men endure. Shelly Bell’s heroine Sara explores these emotions as she finds herself and faces her internal demons. Characters like Sara are inspirational and their learning experiences can sometimes help a reader through their own demons. For me, A Year to Remember gave me hope that my soul mate may just be under my very own nose!

I can’t say anymore, I want you to read the book but I will give you one small hint: Sara finds out who kissed her in the dark room and she was not in the least bit disappointed!  Neither was I!

Check out Shelly Bell’s website for information on purchasing the book at: