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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling

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In the second installment of the Harry Potter book series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter is home for the summer from Hogwarts and is being treated terribly by the Dursleys. Then, receives an unexpected visitor in the way of Dobby, a house elf, who warns Harry to stay away from school or else disaster will strike. When Harry goes back to Hogwarts, everything goes wrong . . . mishap after mishap, and then, students start being turned to stone.Although Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) came out in 1998 just after my nineteenth birthday. I don't remember hearing too much about this book or the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) . . . just some murmurings of children and teens saying how good it was. I don't recall the exact year when I started hearing other people (i.e. adults) talk about the series, but they too were gushing about it. I resisted …

Book Review: More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories, #2) by Alvin Schwartz

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Since Halloween is right around the corner, I decided to reread a favorite book from my childhood . . . More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories, #2), which is a collection of stories from folklore and retold by Alvin Schwartz. I first read this book and the other two books in the trilogy, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Scary Stories, #1) and Scary Stories 3:  More Tales to Chill Your Bones (Scary Stories, #3), in middle school, and I had fond memories of them. I also remember being terribly spooked after reading them, especially by the grotesque illustrations. If memory serves correctly, our teachers weren't thrilled with students reading them.My favorite stories in this edition are Something Was Wrong and The Wreck. I also enjoyed A Ghost in the Mirror. These were the spookiest of the stories. The latter story made a friend and I try to summon "Bloody Mary", and we completely freaked ourselves out. So, this was a great read for nostalgia reasons.
With th…

Book Review: Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum, #3) by Janet Evanovich

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Stephanie Plum is at it again in Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum, #3) by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie has been having a bad hair day for a month and is driving a powder blue Buick. Her latest skip that Stephanie has to apprehend is Trenton's adored ice cream shop owner Mo Bedemier, who was arrested for carrying a concealed gun and missed his court date. To top it off, Vinny's file clerk, former hooker Lula, now wants to be a bounty hunter and assist Stephanie.As in the previous two installments, One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) and Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum, #2), Stephanie Plum is a terrible bounty hunter. It's amazing that she stays employed, but I guess it helps that her cousin, Vincent "Vinny" Plum is her boss. I did enjoy that Stephanie's ex-husband made an appearance in Three to Get Deadly. It made the book more interesting.
What I detested was the exercise routine Stephanie started with Ranger because she had gained a few pounds. It's…

Book Review: Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum, #12) by Janet Evanovich

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In Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum, #12) by Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum finds herself being stalked by a woman dressed in all black, carries a 9mm Glock, and reveals that she has a connection to Carlos "Ranger" Manoso. When someone dies and a child goes missing, Ranger and Stephanie team up to find the culprits. As the two become friendlier with each, Stephanie's boyfriend, Joe Morelli, steps up.What I enjoyed about this book is that Stephanie finally tells Joe that she loves him, and I felt like she was finally growing and maturing as a character. I also appreciated that we learned a lot more about Ranger in this edition. It made his character a little more three dimensional. However, there were things that I didn't like as  well. In the previous book, Eleven On Top (Stephanie Plum, #11), Stephanie had quit her job as a bounty hunter and went to work for Ranger's security company. In Twelve Sharp, she's gone back to being a bounty hunter with no explanation…

Book Review: Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum, #20) by Janet Evanovich

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When Trenton's beloved mobster Salvatore "Uncle Sunny" Sunucchi goes underground after murdering a guy, Stephanie Plum is tasked with bringing him in for his court date. However, no one is willing to turn him in, especially not the Morelli family because Sunny is Joe Morelli's godfather. To top things of, Ranger has given Stephanie an assignment of his own . . . find the murderer of a client's bingo loving mother.Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum, #20) by Janet Evanovich was not one of my favorites. I'm not sure if it's because I've binge reading the series or not, but the book was a bit of a let down. With that being said, it did give me an escape from reality and held my attention well enough.
One of the featured characters was a giraffe named Kevin that roamed the streets of Trenton, New Jersey. I found this to be a bit far fetched, especially when the reason why was given because it made it even more far fetched. Lula was also featured more heavily t…

Book Review: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum, #19) by Janet Evanovich

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In the latest edition of the Stephanie Plum book series, Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum, #19) by Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum finally receives a high paying skip to retrieve . . . Geoffrey Cubbin, who embezzled millions an assisted living facility. When he mysteriously disappears from the hospital after surgery, Stephanie has to enlist Grandma Mazur to go undercover at the assisted living facility. To make ends meet, Stephanie takes on a secondary job with Ranger where her life is in danger.
There were a few books in this series that I thought were just okay, but the last few were better, and Notorious Nineteen was a breath of fresh air. New characters were introduced and Lula seemed to take a back seat for a change. I loved that Joe Morelli and Ranger were both featured heavily. Even though the storyline followed the same formula all the other books in this series do, it was more interesting and a bit different from all of the other storylines. It seemed more mature for lack of…

Book Review: Mallory and the Trouble With Twins (The Baby-Sitters Club, #21) by Ann M. Martin

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Mallory and the Trouble With Twins (The Baby-Sitters Club, #21) by Ann M. Martin is told from Mallory Pike's point of view. When Mallory gets a consistent babysitting job watching over the Arnold twins two days a week, she's thrilled. That is until Marilyn and Carolyn switch places and act like spoiled brats.This edition of The Baby-Sitters Club took me down memory lane as I was obsessed with this series in middle school and desperately wanted to start my own babysitting club. Rereading this as an adult, I was not disappointed. The only thing I remembered about this book was that Mallory desperately wanted pierced ears, but I had forgotten the rest of the storyline. The thing I most enjoyed about Mallory and the Trouble With Twins is that it explored how twins felt about being treated like the same person just because they look alike. It just shows that there are underlying reasons for why kids may be acting out other than just being a brat. The thing I liked least about this …