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Hufflepuff Pride ~ My Response to The Goblet of Fire

Cover of The Goblet of FireThe Goblet of Fire brought us to and then past the halfway point of the Harry Potter Readalong Shelia at Book Journey is hosting. Reading this book was quite an experience for me. My feelings about the book and my desire to read it waxed and waned and then I couldn’t put it down to save my life. Most of all, I wish I had been reading this book right along with someone else.

From here one out this post will be full of spoilers. In case I’m not the last person on earth to read The Goblet of Fire, beware!

My Reading Experience

When this book opened with that scene with Harry eavesdropping on You-Know-How and the unfortunately alive rat formerly known as Scabbers, I was so excited. I was glad to have a reprieve at least at first from the Dursleys. They get on my last nerve every bit as much as they do Harry’s. And it was so dark, different in tone immediately from any of the other books thus far. I was sure I was going to breeze through the book. Then, beginning slightly during the Quidditch match and then growing after the Triwizard Champions (no great shocker there that Harry was picked), each page felt like it was 100 pounds as I turned it. It wasn’t as if the book was boring. It was more like I was experiencing some burn out. I’m sure that living in the midst of all those hormonal teenagers played a huge role. There’s no doubt about it. Rowling captures adolescents perfectly.

This changed dramatically as the third and final challenge of the Triward Tournament drew near. Suddenly a chapter went by at lightning speed. It was clear that Rowling had me exactly where she wanted me. As if someone cast a spell on me, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the book to save my life. I was hurtling with Harry toward his destiny. What a punch in the gut it was. I kept thinking, “This! This is why people cannot stop reading these books. This!” All of my plans to take some time off from the series vanished. I can’t remember the last book that left me feeling the way that I did as I finished it. Wow! I’m surprised I’m still not wiping away the tears.

Rita Skeeter and Hermione

There is a special place in hell for Rita Skeeter and anyone else who would do to Hagrid what she did to Hagrid. I good great pleasure in her comeuppance. Hooray for Hermione! I may have been as annoyed as Ron was with S.P.E.W., but I love the way she is coming into her own. She didn’t let Rita Skeeter keep her down. She took action. She also did a great job making Ron very jealous. You go, girl!

Ron

Jealousy is an ugly. Luckily true friends forgive you your stupidity. Now stop it! Oh, and dance with the girl you invited to the Yule Ball. It might help to take your focus off what Harry has that you don’t. Oh, wait. You were too pre-occupied with the girl you should have asked to the ball right from the very beginning. I hope you wise up soon, pal. A girl like Hermione is going to make her own destiny – with or without you.

Mad-Eye Moody

What a character! Typically anything that has to do specifically with eyeballs freaks me the heck out. How I made it through this book with his special eye I do not understand. By its very nature it should have turned my stomach. From the very started I just I loved him. I even loved him when he wasn’t him. I loved that he was the twist I hadn’t been expecting for a second. I do not know where Rowling comes up with these characters, but she is amazing.

Cedric Diggory

For those of you who have followed my journey through Harry Potter from the beginning know that I am a proud Huffepuff. I was disappointed in their lack of participation early on and I vowed to be a Hufflepuff hero until there was one in the book. From the moment Cedric and the Hufflepuff Quidditch team beat the Gryffindor team, he took hold of that special place in my heart. He was such a stand up character. I want a Cedric in my life. I want to be a Cedric in someone else’s life. When he was killed and throughout Harry’s ordeal in the graveyard with Voldemort I held on to the belief that Dumbledore could do anything. Cedric couldn’t be dead. Like Wesley, he was just mostly dead, right? That’s why his ghost asked Harry to bring his body back. He wanted to be with his parents, yes, but that would give Dumbledore the opportunity to say those magic words. He just needed to cast that special spell. I couldn’t have been sadder when I had to let that hope die. I cried for Cedric. I cried for Harry. I cried for Mr. and Mrs. Diggory. And I cried my eyes out during Dumbledore’s speech. I raise my glass to you, Cedric Diggory, and I will keep this flame burning for you here as long as this blog shall exist.

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Thanks to Sevenoaks Art for making the perfect gif available.

 

Best Audiobooks of 2015 Blog Hop

Best Audiobooks of 2014 Blog Hop 600x407

Once again The Book Nympho, The Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog, and Hot Listens are hosting a blog hop for audiobook lovers to share their favorite listens of the past year. I am very happy to be participating in this big week full of audiobook celebration. We’ll each be sharing our five favorite listens of the year. So add some extra support beams to your TBL piles and let’s get started. Just for coming here today, you can enter into the 3 audiobook giveaway hosted by this blog hop at the end of this post. You can earn additional entries by visiting other blog hop participants. Click on this link to visit them all:

 

I will also be giving away one of my favorite audiobooks via Audible. Leave a comment here telling me which of my favorites you’d want to enjoy for yourself. I’ll pick one lucky winner on February 2nd and I’ll send the selected audiobook to them through their Audible account.

2014 was a good year for audiobooks. I had a hard time narrowing down my list to five favorites, but here are the five audiobooks that made my year:

Cover of An The Spinning Heart
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Narrated by Wayne Farrell
Published by Steerforth Press
4 hours and 48 minutes long

Words cannot express my love for The Spinning Heart. With a story about Ireland’s financial crisis, Donal Ryan grabbed hold of me and never let me go. His ingenious storytelling was perfectly complemented by the narration of Wayne Farrell. He gave flesh and bone to each and every one of the characters. I never stopped marveling at his work. This is not only one of my favorite audiobooks from last year, it is one of my favorite audiobooks period.

Cover of The Paying Guests

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
Published by Penguin Audio
21 hours 28 minutes long

Set after World War I, The Paying Guests begins with a mother and daughter having to economize and take in “paying guests” in order to keep their home. This is the perfect setting for a Sarah Waters novel and Juliet Stevenson made it magic. It drew me in and kept me on the edge of my seat. Stevenson’s voice is lovely and full of passion. I couldn’t imagine experiencing this story any other way. I would listen to anything Stevenson narrates (and I’m still waiting for a book narrated by her and Simon Vance), but why not have her and one of the best novelists around? It’s a good time to be alive!

Cover of An Untamed State
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
Narrated by Robin Miles
Published by Audible Studios
11 hours and 35 minutes long

An Untamed State is a difficult novel. The story of a woman brutalized as she’s held hostage in Haiti may not be for everyone, but it is a powerful experience. It was so hard to read this book. I can’t imagine what it was like for Robin Miles to narrate it. I was amazed at what she did with Mireille, both at her strongest and at her weakest moments. If I ever meet Miles in person, I will give her a standing ovation. This performance deserves an Audie Award. Experiences like this are treasures.

Cover of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Narrated by Scott Brick
Published by Highbridge Audio
7 hours and 2 minutes long

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is such a heartwarming story that centers around a man and his bookstore. Scott Brick did an excellent job with Fikry’s cranky snarkiness. The scenes that brought out the bookish snob in Fikry had me laughing out loud. Likewise, as Fikry opens his heart back up, Brick helped bring me to tears. Scott Brick is one of the best audiobook narrators there is. I’ve previously only ever experienced his work with darker books. He was just as amazing here if not even a little bit more.

Cover of Station Eleven
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Narrated by Kirsten Potter
Published by Random House Audio
10 hours and 41 minutes long

Station Eleven is a post apocalyptic novel set in Michigan. Right then and there I was invested in this book, which followed a band of traveling actors and musicians. The setting and Kirsten Potter’s narration made for an excellent read. This was my first experience with her work and I was very impressed. I plan to listen to this audiobook again because I’m sure there are many things I missed. It will be a pleasure to listen to each and every time.

Those are my five favorite audiobooks of 2014. Do we share any favorites? Which one interests you the most? Let me know and then visit the other blogs. I wish you all many, many wonderful hours of audiobook listening in 2015.

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Thank You!

Last Saturday marked my 8th anniversary as a book blogger. I missed this date last year and I had every intention of celebrating this year. As this post illustrates, I missed the date yet again. Thank goodness Literate Housewife is a forgiving thing or I’d be in the dog house. This blog has brought wonderful […]

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Monday Mini ~ Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little (Audiobook Review)

Cover of Dear Daughter

Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review. I love a good suspenseful audiobook. When I received the 3rd Quarter […]

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It Happened in Boston? by Russell H. Greenan ~ Audiobook Review

Cover of It Happened in Boston

It Happened in Boston? by Russell H. Greenan Published by: Random House Published: 1968 Page Count: 304 Genre: Literary Fiction My Reading Format: Audiobook provided to me by the publisher for consideration. Audiobook Published by: Blackstone Audio Narrator: Robert Fass Audiobook Length: 10 hours 59 minutes Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from […]

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Book Lover’s Page-A-Day Calendar Experiment

BookCalendar

In the very first Quarterly box from Book Riot I received my very first Book Lover’s Page-A-Day Calendar for 2014. I was excited to bring it to work to have something bookish in my space every day. I was excited for the new year to begin. The book for the very first day was Catherine the Great: […]

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Weaveworld by Clive Barker ~ Audiobook Review

Cover of Weaveworld

Weaveworld by Clive Barker Published by: Poseidon Press Published: 1987 Page Count: 672 Genre: Fantasy My Reading Format: Audiobook downloaded from Audible.com with a credit provided by the publisher for review consideration. Audiobook Published by: Crossroad Press Narrator: Simon Vance Audiobook Length: 21 hours 12 minutes Available Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from […]

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Thoughts on The Prisoner of Azkaban

Cover of The Prisoner of Azkaban

We are almost officially halfway through Shelia’s Harry Potter Readalong. I finished up The Prisoner of Azkaban just before the holidays. I loved it. Thanks again so much for prompting me to read this series, Shelia! From here one out this post will be full of spoilers. In case I’m not the last person on earth […]

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Stuck on an Escalator

[I’m so stuck on this escalator that I started writing this post in early December.] 2014 has been a transformational year for me. You wouldn’t necessarily notice this on the outside. I regret to report that I’ve gained back most of the weight I lost late last year and earlier this spring. Despite taking a […]

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The Best Novels of 2014

Best of 2014

Another year has come and gone. This year it left so many wonderful books in it’s wake. I’ve selected 10 books released in 2014 that made me a very happy reader. As I prepared this list it highlighted to me just how hard a time I’ve had this year reviewing. 60% of my list is […]

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