Publisher: Scholastic


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater | Mini Audiobook Review

October 26, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 2 ★★★★★

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater | Mini Audiobook ReviewThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic on October 18, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: 409
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
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5 Stars
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I read and loved Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy years ago before I started blogging, and was captivated by her storytelling and beautiful writing style. The Scorpio Races sounded like something I would love and I immediately aded it to my TBR, but then The Raven Boys came out a year later and I DNFed it (I know, I know… total black sheep here), so I was worried Maggie was a one hit wonder for me (especially since Books of Faerie duology was just ok for me). Needless to say, I was worried that I’d never love another Stiefvater book and that broke my heart a little. But I LOVED it. I’ve broken this review up into sections: my thoughts on the audiobook and my experiences listening to it, and then my thoughts and feelings about the story itself and the world and the characters. If you’re not interested in the audiobook, feel free to skip the first section!

Audiobook Thoughts:

While looking for a great audiobook to listen to, I remembered how much Brittany loved Steve West’s narration of The Scorpio Races, and that he made her really fall in love with Sean Hunter. I listened to the sample and YES STEVE WEST, so I jumped right in. Basically, the stars aligned and I took a leap of faith regarding Maggie and audiobooks (because those don’t always work for me either). I am so glad I did, because I loved this book and I loved listening to it more than I think I would have loved reading it. Steve West’s voice drew me in and took hold of my heart. His voice drips with emotion and feeling, and he brought Sean to life. I think I fell a little in love with both Sean and Steve. Hehe. Whoops. Fiona Hardingham’s voice really complimented Steve’s. I loved listening to both of them, and the personality and depth they brought to the characters. I loved the musical bits that were composed by Maggie throughout the book. It totally set the celtic tone of the story and transported me right to the beaches of Thisby. I tried to actually read the book instead of listen to it one day because then I could read faster, but I just couldn’t do it. I made it a page and things felt so wrong. This is truly a book to listen to.

Story Thoughts:

This. Story. It has become a part of me, and I loved it so much. It’s very simple: a girl named Puck feels compelled–both by the need for money and the need to prove herself to herself–to enter the races and become the first female ever to do so. Sean, the reigning champion of these races needs to win, too, but not for the same reason Puck does. They both need it, they both need each other, they both need Thisby, and they both need their horses. This is their story. It’s not just about racing. It’s not just about horses. It’s about two lonely, incomplete souls risking everything to gain everything. They are both incredibly flawed and lost, and they find something in each other. I wouldn’t say this is a romantic book in the lovey-dovey sense. There’s definitely intrigue and feelings, but it’s romantic in the sense that it’s emotional. There’s so much feeling and mystery surrounding the water horses and the people who ride them. The mystical aspects of the island and the races themselves made me forget I was even reading anything. It’s really hard to explain.

Maggie’s prose and style is so breathtakingly beautiful that it almost hurts. I love how she so intricately weaves her words together to create such a perfect and mesmerizing atmosphere. The story alternates back and forth between Sean’s and Puck’s points of view, and it’s done in first person. I usually do not like first person or multiple points of view, but they are both done so well in this book.

There’s so much I can say about Thisby and the characters and the yummy food, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I think the synopsis is vague for a reason. That’s the magic! Bottom line, I LOVED The Scorpio Races. It’s the perfect fall story, with an eerie atmosphere; biting, salty winds; harsh waves; and monstrous creatures that will take you a bit by surprise, with their viciousness and intellect. These horses are magical in more ways then one. I do hope you pick up a copy and discover the magic and mystery of autumn on the tiny island of Thisby.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling | Mini Book Review

February 19, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 17 ★★★★★

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling | Mini Book ReviewHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Series: Harry Potter #1
Published by Scholastic on September 1, 1998
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 309
Format: eBook
Source: Bought it!
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5 Stars
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.

Wow. I know, right? You’re probably thinking, “Wow. It took Jana a REALLY long time to review this book, since SURELY she read this ages ago.” Well, you’re wrong. I just read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time in my entire life! FINALLY, right? I was scared of this book. I was not a fantasy fan when these books came out, so I could not have cared less about reading them. And then when I finally became a fan of fantasy, the books had received so much praise and proclamations of undying love, that I was too scared to read them! Of course, no book could EVER live up to the hype generated by millions and millions of devoted fans! I wanted to pass that right of passage, though. I’m going to school to be a young adult librarian! How could I not read these? So, I lowered my expectations and forced myself to begin. And much to my surprise…

I LOVED IT. And now, if I ever find someone like me who has not read Harry Potter, I will do this. Because seriously. Someone should have done this to me:

read the book

 

I SO wish I had been interested in these books as a child, because every child needs to believe in the possibility of magic. Every child who hates their life (not that I did, I’m just sayin’), needs to believe that there’s more waiting for them out there in the world.

Hogwarts is just… magical! This world is so exciting and dynamic and it feels HUGE. I finally know what muggles are! And I finally understand why people are waiting for their Hogwarts letter. And I get the owl thing. And I understand who this creepy Voldemort guy is. And Hagrid! I love him! And Hermione is quite annoying. And Ron is adorable. And I want to smack Draco. And Harry is this sweet little skinny thing who I just want to hug because of his terrible childhood. I love that he became special, and recognized it.

I was not expecting Harry Potter to be a funny story! But it is! Hagrid had me laughing so much. And some of the things these kids say to each other is hilarious. Even the professors have their little jokes. I was not expecting my imagination to be so stimulated. This book made me hope that all this magical stuff is real. I was not expecting Harry Potter to read like such a universal book. I mean, these kids are little young things but I did not feel like I was reading a book for children.

I don’t really know what to do. I’m jumping from thought to thought, and there’s really no organizational schematic to this post. Harry Potter has been reviewed and reviewed and talked about for YEARS. There is nothing else I can say. So basically, I’m going to cut this thing short, say “ditto to all the 5-star reviews”, and go stalk the mail for my really pretty 15th anniversary boxed set I just bought. J.K. Rowling has another fan! I’m a cool kid now! I can’t wait to finish the series. :)