Archive | December, 2011


29 Dec


Book 13 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

27 Dec

Book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Author: J.K. Rowling

Description: There is a door at the end of a silent corridor, and it’s haunting Harry Potter’s dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?

Here are just a few of the things on Harry’s mind:

• A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey
• A venomous, disgruntled house-elf
• Ron as Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team
• The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams

. . . and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

In the richest installment yet of J.K. Rowling’s seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts.

Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew; boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice.


(52/52: the official challenge!)

Deck the halls!

23 Dec

I’ve been listening to Christmas music 24/7 for a couple weeks now and am so excited to head back to South Bend tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with my family.


We are pretty big Christmas Eve people in my fam. We typically go to Mass and then head home for a huge dinner that includes everything you can imagine. For a number of years it was my mom, sisters and me, which was perfect in its own way, but soon boyfriends/husbands/kids/in-laws came into the picture and we happily expanded. Christmas Eve is when we exchange inter-family gifts, but this year we agreed that we’re only getting the kids gifts, which I’m still super excited about giving them. The big kids are getting Roald Dahl books and the little boys are getting toys.

Christmas Day has always been spent opening gifts, making “Christmas Morning Breakfast” and spending the day in pjs watching Christmas movies. Last year my mom and I didn’t move from the bed where we watched Food Network Christmas specials all day and played with her new computer in our pjs.  Trish, Jonathon, Joey and Grace (Thomas wasn’t born yet) stopped by later in the day and when I answered the door I was greeted with smiles, hugs, and a loud “MERRY CHRISTMAS, AUNT SARAH!!” from the kiddos. Love.

Erin stopped by a little later and I must have been drunk with Christmas cheer because on my way to the door I completely wiped out. I fell and stayed there for a few seconds before getting up and hobbling to the door. Poor Erin didn’t get quite the lively greeting that the earlier crowd did! But we all enjoyed the warmth of the bed and talked about how amazing the beef stew was that I had made for lunch. (It was the first and last time I made it that I could say with full confidence that it was good)

This year I’ll be at Bob’s (Erin’s father-in-law) house Christmas Eve and will be enjoying their traditions. Then I’ll head over and spend time with T&J plus kids.

I still have so much to do before tomorrow! Wrapping, cleaning, packing, boyfriend time, etc. I hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Merry Christmas!!

Book 12 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

19 Dec

Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Author: J.K. Rowling

Description: Harry Potter is back in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and this time, the magic gets out of hand!

First, imagine if you will, the sleepy but mysterious village of Little Hangleton, and what happened at the Riddle House. No, the Riddle House is not a place for riddles, but a home where the family died of fright. The man accused of murdering them was eventually released, but when he returns to the Riddle House, he overhears a curious conversation between someone named Wormtail and a terrible, dark presence by the name of Lord Voldemort — oh, so sorry He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Volde… (oops, almost said it again) He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is one of the most powerful Dark wizards — and he wants Harry Potter.

When Harry wakes from a particularly vivid dream, the scar on his forehead throbs, and he knows something is up. Harry’s been living in a dreadful house on Privet Drive with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and greedy cousin, Dudley. They won’t even let him do any wizardry — you know Muggles, how they can’t really handle that kind of stuff.

Harry’s uncle and aunt like to let the neighbors think that Harry goes to St. Brutus’s Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys rather than to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He has to hide his magic — and even broomsticks aren’t a suitable topic of conversation in the Dursley household. But everything is about to change for Harry, beginning with this particular summer vacation.

It starts with a letter from Mrs. Weasley, Harry’s friend Ron’s mother. She invites him to come spend the rest of the summer with the Weasleys and to go see the Quidditch World Cup. Quidditch is Harry’s favorite sport in the world, and it isn’t often that the Quidditch World Cup is in Britain. Faster than you can say “Hogwarts,” Harry travels by fire to the Burrow, and the dark and threatening adventure begins.

On the way, Harry discovers that his interest in girls is becoming more nerve-wracking — how is a young wizard to ask a girl to the Yule Ball? And what of the Goblet of Fire itself? And the Triwizard Tournament? And then, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named might be seeking Harry out even now!


(52/52: the official challenge!)

Book 11 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

18 Dec

Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Author: J.K. Rowling

Description: J. K. Rowling continues to bewitch readers everywhere with the third book in her magical Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry’s ongoing exploits, along with those of his contemporaries, teachers, and relatives, are as imaginative, entertaining, and mysterious as ever. For during Harry’s third year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he must face his greatest challenge yet: a confrontation with Sirius Black, an escaped convict and madman who is rumored to be in cahoots with Harry’s archenemy, the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort. This alone would be daunting enough, but Harry’s task is made even more trying when he discovers that Sirius is suspected of being the one who killed Harry’s parents.

For Harry, the Hogwarts campus has always been a sanctuary, but when Black escapes from the horrifying clutches of Azkaban Prison, all clues suggest the madman is headed for Hogwarts and Harry himself. As a result, the school starts to feel more like a prison than a sanctuary as Harry finds himself constantly watched and under guard. What’s more, the terrifying Dementors – the horrifying creatures who guard Azkaban Prison – are lurking about the campus looking for Black. And their effect on Harry is a devastating one.

Still, life at school offers plenty of distractions. Harry really likes the new teacher for Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Lupin, who might be able to teach Harry how to defend himself against the Dementors. But Professor Snape’s behavior toward Lupin has Harry wondering what secrets the two men are hiding. Harry’s friend Hermione is also acting very strangely. And, of course, there is the tension caused by the ongoing Quidditch competition between the Gryffindors and the Slytherins and the never-ending bullying of the Slytherin leader, Draco Malfoy.


(52/52: the official challenge!)

Book 10 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

15 Dec

Book: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author: J.K. Rowling

Description: The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and WIzardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girl’s bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone – or something – starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects… Harry Potter himself?


(52/52: the official challenge!)

Book 9 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

14 Dec

Book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Description: Harry hates living with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and their spoiled-rotten son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny closet beneath the stairs, and the entire family treats him with disdain. What’s more, Harry keeps getting into trouble for making strange things happen – things he seems to have no control over. But then Harry discovers the truth about himself when a determined messenger delivers an enlightening message. It turns out that Harry’s mother was a witch, his father a wizard. And not only is Harry also a wizard, he’s a famous one! His survival of the attack by the evil wizard who killed his parents has marked him as a legendary hero – as has the lightning-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead.

Soon Harry finds himself attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he receives training in some magic basics, masters riding a broomstick, and discovers his incredible talent for a game called Quidditch, which is played in the air on flying brooms. And for the first time in his life, Harry has friends who care about him: his fellow students Hermione and Ron and a giant named Hagrid. But all is not rosy when Harry discovers his true destiny and finds he must once again face the evil one who killed his parents. His survival will depend upon the help of his newfound friends, as well as his own wit and powers.


(52/52: the official challenge!)