Bloodline (Star Wars) - Claudia Gray

Bloodline (Star Wars) - Claudia Gray

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Star Wars: Lost Stars comes a thrilling novel set in the years before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“Unmissable . . . Bloodline’s tense politics, vivid new characters, and perfectly characterized Leia make it feel as central to the Star Wars universe as one of the films.”Tor.com

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.
Bloodline (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray download or read it online for free
Bloodline (Star Wars) by Claudia Gray

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing. . . .

 


 

 

Praise for Bloodline


“[Claudia] Gray paints a much more complete galaxy than we often get to see on the big screen. . . . Knowing that Rian Johnson (writer, director of Star Wars: Episode VIII) had some creative input on the novel provides hope that we haven’t seen the last of all of these wonderful characters. . . . Star Wars: Bloodline isn’t just a great Star Wars book, or a great Leia book, or a great book; it’s a great introduction into the larger world of Star Wars in general.”ComicBook.com

Bloodline is a nonstop page-turner that grabs at heartstrings that you weren’t aware of and yanks down on every one of them. The story is loaded with context for The Force Awakens that plants the seeds for The First Order in perfectly haunting ways, and leaves the reader grasping for more details on newly discovered favorite characters.”Inverse

Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton download free full watch online epub mobi pdf premium
Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him... or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.




  Reviews

  • Let me start by saying I don’t give out 5 stars easily. It has to be a book I find nothing wrong with, absolutely love, and plan on reading again and again. Rebel of the Sands does all of that. About halfway through I was freaking out because I wanted a sequel so badly. I knew I would need way more of this world and the characters. I seriously cannot recommend this book enough.
The story starts with a shooting competition. Amani is disguised as a boy and needs to win in order to finally have enough money to escape Dustwalk and travel all the way to Izman, the place her mother always told stories about. It was said to be a place where a girl could be free and make her own choices. Her mother died almost a year ago leaving Amani to live with her aunt and uncle. They are awful. Her uncle wants to marry her off so he no longer has to take care of her, but is debating marrying her himself. Dustwalk is clearly a dead-end town for a girl. It make sense that she would rather die trying to escape the town. Amani meets a mysterious foreigner who appears to bring the perfect opportunity for her to finally leave. She has no clue her world is about to be changed forever.

Amani is a very tough, feisty badass chick. She has attitude and a smart mouth, but is determined, strong, and compassionate. She is also incredible with a gun - quite the sharp shooter. She’s actually my favorite heroine in a ya book in quite some time.

Every single chapter ended with something that kept me needing to read. If I could have, I wouldn’t have ever put the book down. The writing is completely engaging, while the world-building is original and exciting. The desert nation of Miraji has stories that read like folktales with all this mythology seeped in. This is where the fantasy genre comes into play. There is magic and immortal creatures like skinwalkers and nightmares that roam the desert. There is also a rebellion with a rebel prince plotting to take back his rightful throne.

There is a whole lot going on, but it all flows together nicely. I enjoyed meeting all of the characters within the story. There aren’t too many to remember, but you definitely meet plenty throughout. I am excited to see where the story goes in the second book. I felt like Rebel of the Sands ended nicely without any crazy cliffhangers, but still left you wanting to read more. There was a nice slow-burning romance that actually felt real the way it developed. The chemistry at one point had me swooning. That just doesn’t happen with me, so consider me hooked. I cannot wait to see where it all goes.

This western twist on an arabic-inspired setting works perfectly.

  • 4.5 stars Guys, meet your new favorite historical fantasy series.

This book has spectacular world-building, nimble dialogue, finely drawn characters, and epic battles with magic--not to mention so much chemistry between the main characters that the air is practically charged with the irresistible pull between them.

This is that sweeping story (and romance) you might've wanted from THE WRATH AND THE DAWN but didn't quite get. I loved the writing, I loved the characters, and I loved that everyone here, good or bad, believed in something bigger than themselves. I hope like hell this makes a lot of bestseller lists. It deserves it.

And holy hell, it's a debut! So excited for more books from this author, and for this story to continue
 

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly download free full watch online ebook pdf mobi epub
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.
For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.
The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews


  • No matter how many books I read about the atrocities of the holocaust, the death camps , the concentration camps, I always feel that each of the stories must be told so it is not forgotten and no matter how difficult these stories are to read , we have to read them. In this novel the story of what happened at Ravensbruck, the concentration camp , infamous for the horrific medical experimentation on young Polish women is told from the perspectives of three women. It spans two decades from 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland through 1959. I have not read a lot about the aftermath of the war and what might have happened to survivors of the camps, and I found the coverage of that aspect here in the third part of the novel , to be a gripping depiction of strength and resilience of some of the survivors but also one of courage, and goodness and strength on the part of people who helped them.

Caroline Ferriday, a former actress , from a wealthy and generous family , volunteers at the French consulate in NYC is one of the narrators . Even though she works hard to provide care packages to French orphans and later is involved in more classified work , her part of the story at first seemed remote and separate from what was happening at Ravensbruck. But that was only at first. I had no idea until I read the author's note that Caroline Ferriday was a real person who not only worked tirelessly to help orphans in France during the war but continued to give of herself to help survivors of Ravensbruck in the years after the war. It is after the war that her story converges with the other narrators.

They are Kasia , an eighteen year old girl in Lublin , Poland who gets involved in the Resistance and is arrested with her sister and her mother and Dr. Herta Oberhauser from Düsseldorf , newly graduated surgeon, who applies for a job and goes to Ravensbruck, thrilled that she will finally practice in a world dominated by male Doctors. That is where Kasia Kuzmerick, her mother and her sister meet Herta - in this horrible place . It's difficult to read about - powerful and painful - just so disturbing to see what these sick minded Nazis do to these women . Yet amidst the horrible things things that Kasia and her sister and other women endure , there are moments of tenderness and care , reflections on mothers and daughters, friendships, love. It was not easy to see things through Herta's eyes , loyal to the Nazi cause and feeling that the experiments are justified. It is Kasia's story that took my heart and is the center of this story.

It was a camp for women only, called a "reeducation" camp but in reality , we know it was a place where women were subjected not only to the harsh conditions with little food , the imminent susceptibility of disease daily and both emotional and physical abuse but also to the atrocities of the barbaric medical experimentation . It was more than gruesome to read about . Yet we have to read it . While this is a fictional telling, it is based on the real Caroline Ferriday and the real Herta Oberheuser. Kasia and her sister are loosely based on two real sisters who survived Ravensbruck . Martha Hall Kelly has done extensive research in preparation for writing this and I highly recommend it . What an effort for a debut ! It has to be read.  

  • Ravensbruck was Hitler's only major concentration camp exclusively for women. The story is centered around three women....each from 3 different countries: Poland, Germany, and, America. ---( before- during - and after World War II) ---all based on the lives of real women in history. There are actually several plots ... not sure any of them are minor. The storytelling is disturbing, gripping and written veraciously.

Caroline Ferriday's was a wealthy American woman who made it her life's work to help the female prisoners. She was a strong quiet woman...yet we felt her suffering ..her aching love for her family -and the women she was helping. Her dedication was endless...a leader who was ruthless and unreasonable -- she stood for justice and was going to make sure the world became aware of the horrors which took place.

Dr. Herta Oberheuser, from Germany, executed the most ghastly and torturous medical experimentation imaginable on these woman in the camps. Her purpose was for the women to conflict pain purposefully -- some crazy type of thinking these woman should be in agony as a type of counterbalance any distress the German soldiers endured.

Kasia Kuzmerick ...a Polish political prisoner, ( is the one fictional female character).
Dr Oberheuser forced her to assist and perform in the horrid medical experimentation
operations.

Martha Hall Kelly's story is emotional, heart wrenching, but not 'all' gloomy.
What stood out for me were the relationships - the real friendships --(women bonding), that developed ...creating the possibility for an optimistic way of being.
They shared experiences of unspeakable memories, and losses, too afraid to hope
alone... but when they confronted their challenges together ...we see a rich
portrayal of female friendship in the face of adversity.

Much pain ... much hardship...much truth!
The factual details of the novel are troubling - yet the storytelling is
persuasive, interesting ...and deeply moving.

The research from Martha Hall Kelly, is quite impressive. The authors notes at the end add a deeper understanding from her years her personal dedication of study.
By the time the reader gets to the end...we can't help but respect the integrity in which
Martha Kelly devoted to the historical facts. Powerful and extremely engrossing reading.

  • No matter how many holocaust stories I read, I still find them disturbing, shocking and heart wrenching. Surviving such a devastating experience brings with it a lifetime of horrors. For no one truly forgets and nor should we.

3 women from 3 different geographies as WWII erupts - Each doing what they can towards the war effort.
Caroline in NYC. Putting care packages together for orphaned children. Going one step further and helping rebuild the country. Falling in love with a foreigner who is forced to return to Nazi occupied France.

Kasia in Poland. The Nazis have invaded and she has been caught working for the underground movement. She's been sent to Ravensbrück and now is infamously known as one of the 'rabbits'. Even with liberation, the polish people were forced to live under communist rule with Stalin's iron fist -from one radical leader to another never experiencing freedom. The losses suffered and the pain endured would be enough to lose hope. But hope is all they had and gave them the strength to survive.

Herta in Germany. A medical doctor working at a concentration camp doing experimental surgeries on inmates. A doctor whose purpose is saving lives is practicing unethical surgeries and murder. Aka The rabbit surgeon. The nazi code so fundamentally f**ked up.

The structure of the narrative told from the 3 perspectives gives a global scope. I would have preferred locking onto one character, but overall this was beautifully written and an amazing story of character, courage, redemption and resilience. 5⭐️
 

 

Unbound by Cara McKenna

Unbound by Cara McKenna read it online or download for free here
Unbound
by Cara McKenna
An all-new novel from the author of After Hours.

She set out to find herself, and discovered the darker side of desire.


Merry’s lost a lot recently—first her mother, then close to a hundred pounds. Feeling adrift, she strikes out in search of perspective. A three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands was supposed to challenge her new body and refocus her priorities, but when disaster strikes, she’s forced to seek refuge in the remote home of a brooding, handsome stranger…

Rob exiled himself to the Highlands years ago, desperate to escape his own self-destruction. Haunted by regrets, he avoids human contact at all costs…but when Merry turns up injured, he can’t very well run her off. And as he nurses her back to health, Rob can’t resist his guest’s sweet demeanor—or her flirtatious advances. The igniting passion between them rouses a secret appetite Rob has long struggled to keep hidden. But Merry craves nothing more than to help Rob surrender to his desires, and the journey draws the lovers into an entirely different kind of wilderness.


George Orwell - Animal Farm

Although Orwell aims his satire at totalitarianism in all of its guises—communist, fascist, and capitalist—Animal Farm owes its structure largely to the events of the Russian Revolution as they unfolded between 1917 and 1944, when Orwell was writing the novella. Much of what happens in the novella symbolically parallels specific developments in the history of Russian communism, and several of the animal characters are based on either real participants in the Russian Revolution or amalgamations thereof. Due to the universal relevance of the novella’s themes, we don’t need to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of Marxist Leninism or Russian history in order to appreciate Orwell’s satire of them. An acquaintance with certain facts from Russia’s past, however, can help us recognize the particularly biting quality of Orwell’s criticism (see Historical Background).
George Orwell - Animal Farm download for free or read it here online
George Orwell - Animal Farm
Because of Animal Farm’s parallels with the Russian Revolution, many readers have assumed that the novella’s central importance lies in its exposure and critique of a particular political philosophy and practice, Stalinism. In fact, however, Orwell intended to critique Stalinism as merely one instance of the broader social phenomenon of totalitarianism, which he saw at work throughout the world: in fascist Germany (under Adolf Hitler) and Spain (under Francisco Franco), in capitalist America, and in his native England, as well as in the Soviet Union. The broader applicability of the story manifests itself in details such as the plot’s setting—England. Other details refer to political movements in other countries as well. The animals’ song “Beasts of England,” for example, parodies the “Internationale,” the communist anthem written by the Paris Commune of 1871.



In order to lift his story out of the particularities of its Russian model and give it the universality befitting the importance of its message, Orwell turned to the two ancient and overlapping traditions of political fable and animal fable. Writers including Aesop (Fables), Jonathan Swift (especially in the Houyhnhnm section of Gulliver’s Travels), Bernard Mandeville (The Fable of the Bees), and Jean de La Fontaine (Fables) have long cloaked their analyses of contemporary society in such parables in order to portray the ills of society in more effective ways. Because of their indirect approach, fables have a strong tradition in societies that censor openly critical works: the writers of fables could often claim that their works were mere fantasies and thus attract audiences that they might not have reached otherwise. Moreover, by setting human problems in the animal kingdom, a writer can achieve the distance necessary to see the absurdity in much of human behavior—he or she can abstract a human situation into a clearly interpretable tale. By treating the development of totalitarian communism as a story taking place on a small scale, reducing the vast and complex history of the Russian Revolution to a short work describing talking animals on a single farm, Orwell is able to portray his subject in extremely simple symbolic terms, presenting the moral lessons of the story with maximum clarity, objectivity, concision, and force.

Old Major’s dream presents the animals with a vision of utopia, an ideal world. The “golden future time” that the song “Beasts of England” prophesies is one in which animals will no longer be subject to man’s cruel domination and will finally be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. The optimism of such lyrics as “Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown” and “Riches more than mind can picture” galvanizes the animals’ agitation, but unwavering belief in this lofty rhetoric, as soon becomes clear, prevents the common animals from realizing the gap between reality and their envisioned utopia.
By the end of the second chapter, the precise parallels between the Russian Revolution and the plot of Animal Farm have emerged more clearly. The Manor Farm represents Russia under the part-feudal, part-capitalist system of the tsars, with Mr. Jones standing in for the moping and negligent Tsar Nicholas II. Old Major serves both as Karl Marx, who first espoused the political philosophy behind communism, and as Vladimir Lenin, who effected this philosophy’s revolutionary expression. His speech to the other animals bears many similarities to Marx’s Communist Manifesto and to Lenin’s later writings in the same vein. The animals of the Manor Farm represent the workers and peasants of Russia, in whose name the Russian Revolution’s leaders first struggled. Boxer and Clover, in particular, embody the aspects of the working class that facilitate the participation of the working class in revolution: their capacity for hard work, loyalty to each other, and lack of clear philosophical direction opens them up to the more educated classes’ manipulation.
The pigs play the role of the intelligentsia, who organized and controlled the Russian Revolution. Squealer creates propaganda similar to that spread by revolutionaries via official organs such as the Communist Party newspaper Pravda. Moses embodies the Russian Orthodox Church, weakening the peasants’ sense of revolutionary outrage by promising a utopia in the afterlife; the beer-soaked bread that Mr. Jones feeds him represents the bribes with which the Romanov dynasty (in which Nicholas II was the last tsar) manipulated the church elders. Mollie represents the self-centered bourgeoisie: she devotes herself to the most likely suppliers of luxuries and comfort.

The animals’ original vision for their society stems from noble ideals. Orwell was a socialist himself and supported the creation of a government in which moral dignity and social equality would take precedence over selfish individual interests. The Russian revolutionaries began with such ideals as well; Marx certainly touted notions like these in his writings. On Animal Farm, however, as was the case in the Russian Revolution, power is quickly consolidated in the hands of those who devise, maintain, and participate in the running of society—the intelligentsia. This class of Russians and their allies quickly turned the Communist Party toward totalitarianism, an event mirrored in Animal Farm by the gradual assumption of power by the pigs. After Lenin’s seizure of power, Communist Party leaders began jockeying for position and power, each hoping to seize control after Lenin’s death. Snowball and Napoleon, whose power struggle develops fully in the next chapters, are based on two real Communist Party leaders: Snowball shares traits with the fiery, intelligent leader Leon Trotsky, while the lurking, subversive Napoleon has much in common with the later dictator Joseph Stalin.
Orwell’s descriptions in this chapter of the pre-Rebellion misery of the farm animals serve his critique of social inequality and the mistreatment of workers. They also make a pointed statement about humans’ abuse of animals. Indeed, the same impulse that led Orwell to sympathize with poor and oppressed human beings made him lament the cruelty that many human beings show toward other species. He got the idea for Animal Farm while watching a young boy whipping a cart-horse. His pity for the exploited horse reminded him of his sympathy for the exploited working class.
Orwell creates a particularly moving scene in portraying the animals’ efforts to obliterate the painful reminders of their maltreatment: this episode stands out from much of the rest of the novella in its richness of detail. In the attention to “the bits, the nose-rings, the dog-chains, the cruel knives,” and a whole host of other instruments of physical discipline, we see Orwell’s profound empathy with the lowest of the low, as well as his intense hatred for physical suffering and its destruction of dignity.

George Orwell - 1984

download here george orwell 1984 for free full watch online Fiction, Science Fiction, Science Fiction > Dystopia, Classics, Literature, Bestsellers, Amazon Bestseller, Goodreads Bestseller, Google Bestseller,
George Orwell - 1984
The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.






Review

  • “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

    This changed the way that I looked at ideologies and changed the way I looked at leadership. Cynical, scathing, and not without its flaws, this is still a stark, haunting glimpse at what could be.

    “War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.”

    Chilling.

    The closing lines still come to me sometimes and remind me of depths that I can only imagine.

    “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.

    He loved Big Brother”
     
  
  • I kind of hate reviewing classics that I just missed the first time around for whatever reason. What am I supposed to say that hasn't already been said, and much more eloquently? I'll just say that the book's reputation is well deserved. It's a little dry (hence the 4 instead of a full 5 stars), but the world it creates and the rules for it's dystopia remain chilling (and hit a little too close to home in the era of Trump). I'll admit that Trump's America was my catalyst for finally getting around to reading this, and I'm glad I did. In some ways, it feels like a handbook for the Republican Party. I can only hope our ending is better than Winston's
  • “There were four ministries the government was divided. The Ministry of Thruth concerned itself with news, entertainment, education and fine arts. The Ministry of Peace concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which maintain law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak : Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv and Miniplenty.”

    For me, this book is an epic. An absolute masterpiece. A book that accurately translate collective human nature greediness over power.
    “To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone-to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone.

    From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink-greetings!”
    “And the people under the sky were also very much the same-everywhere, all over the world, hundreds of thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same-people who had never learned to think but who were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.“
  • WAR IS PEACE.

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

    Those words keep sounding in my head since I read this book. Gosh, probably the most haunting not to mention frightening book I've ever read. 1984 should also be included in the horror genre.

    1984 describes a Utopia. Not Thomas More's version of Utopia, but this is one is the antithesis, i.e. Dystopia. Imagine living in a country, whose leaders apply a totalitarian system in regulating their citizen, in the most extreme ways, which make Hitler, Mao, Stalin and that old bloke in V for Vendetta look like sissies.

    Working, eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, thinking, procreating...in short living, all are controlled by the state. Any hint of obedience or dislike can be detected by various state apparatus such as the Thought Police, telescreen, or even your children, who will not hesitate to betray you to the authorities. Even language is modified in such ways that you cannot express yourself, since individualism is a crime.

    The past is controlled, rewritten into something that will strengthen the incumbent ruler. Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. There is no real truth. The "truth" is what the state says it is. Black is white, 2+2=5, if the state says so.

    The world in 1984 is divided into three states, originated from the ashes from World War II: Oceania (British Isles, the Americas, Pacific, Australia), Eurasia (Europe & Russia), and Eastasia (the rest of it). Continuous warfare between those three (who hold similar ideologies) is required to keep the society's order and peace. Si vis pacem para bellum. That's describes the first slogan.

    The second slogan, freedom is slavery, means the only way to be free is by letting you lose yourself and to be integrated within the Party. That way, you'll be indestructible and immortal.

    Ignorance is strength, means the division on high, middle, low classes in society will never be changed. The middle wants to be the high and they'll act "on behalf of the low" to dethrone the high. Afterwards, a new middle class arises, all will change except the low. The high and middle make and uphold the law, the low (proletarian) is just too stupid to revolt. The state maintains its structure by torture, intimidation, violence, and brainwashing.

    Blimey, Orwell's Animal Farm is already depressing, but 1984 gives "depression" a new meaning, at least for me.

  • In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith is an open source developer who writes his code offline because his ISP has installed packet sniffers that are regulated by the government under the Patriot Act. It's really for his own protection, though. From, like, terrorists and DVD pirates and stuff. Like every good American, he drinks Coca-Cola and his processed food has desensitized his palate to all but four flavors: sweet, salty-so-that-you-will-drink-more-coca-cola, sweet, and Cooler Ranch!(tm). His benevolent overlords have provided him with some war happening somewhere for some reason so that he, and the rest of the population, can be sure that the government is really in his best interests. In fact, the news always has some story about Paris Hilton or yet another white girl who has been abducted by some evil bastard who is biologically wired by 200,000 years of human evolution to fuck 12-year-olds, but is socially conditioned to be obsessed with sex, yet also to feel guilty about it. This culminates into a distorted view of sexuality, and results in rape and murder, which both make for very good news topics. This, too, is in Winston's best interests because, while fear is healthy, thinking *too* much about his own mortality is strictly taboo, as it may lead to something dangerously insightful, and he might lose his taste for Coca Cola and breast implants. The television also plays on his fears of the unknown by exaggerating stereotypes of minorities and homosexuals, under the guise of celebrating "diversity", but even these images of being ghetto-fabulous and a lisping interior designer actually exist solely to promote racism and homophobia, which also prove to be efficient distractions.

    For some reason, Winston gets tired of eating recycled Pop Tarts and eating happy pills and pretending to be interested in sports and manufactured news items. But, in the end, they fix him and he's happy again. Or something.
     
  • YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good."

    Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.

    This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of to enhance and expand it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George travelled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.

    I read Fahrenheit 451 over ten years ago in my early teens. At the time, I remember really wanting to read 1984, although I never managed to get my hands on it. I'm almost glad I didn't. Though I would not have admitted it at the time, it would have gone over my head. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully.

    From the start, the author manages to articulate so many of the things I have thought about but have never been able to find a way to put into words. Even in the first few chapters I found myself having to stop just to quietly consider the words of Mr Orwell.

    For instance, he talks about how the act of writing itself is a type of time travel. It is communicating with the future. I write these words now, but others may not discover them for hours, weeks, or even years. For me, it is one time. For you the reader, it is an entirely different one.

    Just the thought that reading and writing could one day be outlawed just shivers my timbers. I related to Winston so much in that way. I would have found a way to read or write.

    The politics and psychology of this novel run deep. The society in the book has no written laws, but many acts are punishable by death. The slogan of the Party (War is Peace...) is entirely convoluted. Individuality is frowned upon and could lead to being labeled a traitor to the Party.

    I also remember always wondering why the title was 1984. I was familiar with the concept of Big Brother and wondered why that wasn't the name of the book. In the story, they don't actually know what year it is because so much of the past has been erased by the Ministry of Truth. It could very easily have been 1981. I think that makes the title more powerful. Something as simple as the year or date is unknown to these people. They have to believe it is whatever day that they are told it is. They don't have the right to keep track. Knowledge is powerful. Knowledge is necessary. But according to Big Brother. Ignorance is strength.

    1984 is written in past tense and has long paragraphs of exposition, recounting events, and explaining the society. These are usually things that distance me from a book and from the characters, but Orwell managed to keep me fully enthralled. He frequently talks in circles and ideas are often repeated but it is still intriguing, none the less. I must admit that I zoned out a bit while Winston was reading from The Book, but I was very fascinated by the culture.

    Sometimes it seems as though the only way to really experience a characters emotions is through first person. This is not the case with this book, as it is written in third person; yet, I never failed to be encompassed in Winston's feelings. George manages to ensure that the reader never feels disconnected from the events that are unfolding around them, with the exception of the beginning when Winston is just starting to become awakened. I developed a strong attachment to Winston and thrived on living inside his mind. I became a member of the Thought Police, hearing everything, feeling everything and last but not least, (what the Thought Police are not allowed to do) questioning everything.

    I wasn't expecting a love story in this book, but the relationship between Julia and Winston was truly profound. I enjoyed it even more than I would have expected and thought the moments between them were beautiful. I wasn't sure whether he was going to eventually betray Julia to the Party or not, but I certainly teared up often when it came to their relationship.

    George has an uncanny ability to get to the base of the human psyche, at times suggesting that we need to be at war for many different reasons, whether it's at war with ourselves or with others. That is one thing I have never understood: why humans feel the need to destroy and control each other.

    It seems that the main and recurring message in this book is about censorship and brainwashing. One, censorship, is limited and little exposure to ideas of the world; the other, brainwashing, is forced and too much exposure to a certain ideas. Both can be extremely dangerous.

    Inside the ministry of Truth, he demonstrates the dangers of censorship by showing how the Party has completely rewritten the past by forging and abolishing documents and physical evidence. We also spend quite a bit of time with Winston in the Ministry of Love, where the brainwashing takes place. Those who commit thoughtcrime are tortured until they grow to love and obey Big Brother and serve only the interests of the Party.

    A common theme occurred to me throughout the book, although it wasn't necessarily referenced consistently. The good of the many is more important than the good of the one. There are so many variables when it comes to this statement and for the most part it seems natural to say, "Of course, the many is more important than the one", but when inside Winston's head, all that I began to care about was his well-being and not if he was able to help disband or conquer the Party and Big Brother. I just wanted him to be at peace.

    Whether or not the good of all is more important than that of the one, I can't answer. I think most people feel their own happiness is more important than the rest of the world's, and maybe that's part of the problem but it's also human nature. I only wish we could all accept one other regardless of belief and culture and not try to force ways of life onto other people. Maybe I'm naive for thinking that way, but so be it.

    I almost don't know what to think about this book. I'm not even sure my brain still works, or if it ever worked right at all. This book has a way of making you think you know exactly what you believe about everything and then turning you completely upside down and making you question whether or not you believe anything at all about anything. It's the strangest thing. Hmmm. Doublethink? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    Everything about this book is captivating. It's groundbreaking yet at the same time, purely classic. Ahead of its time, yet timeless. From Big Brother to the Thought Police, I was hooked and wanted to know more about it all.

    Basically, I think everyone should read 1984 at some point. You really have to be in the mood to work at reading it, though. But it's all worth it in the end. It's absolutely incredible and I loved it. I don't re-read many books but this will definitely be one of them. It is a hard read, but more importantly, it is a MUST read.
     

Behind Closed Doors - Paris, B A

If you love "The Girl On The Train" by Paula Hawkins you will love this too!

Behind Closed Doors - Paris, B A
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

Below, you can download for free this ebook in three formats, including: PDF, EPUB, MOBI.









Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 03 - Mockingjay

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
Check the other series:
  1.  Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 01 - The Hunger Games
  2. Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 02 - Catching Fire

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.


Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 02 - Catching Fire

Introduction

District 12 is celebrating the return of Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch, victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games. Yet, the celebration rings hollow for Katniss who knows her final act of defiance in the arena has made her a target for the Capitol. Unrest is stirring within the districts while the Capitol seeks revenge on the face of the rebellion: Katniss. Relationships are shifting, tension is mounting, and retaliation is threatening in Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins’ thrilling dystopian series, The Hunger Games.
Also read  
Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 01 - The Hunger Games 
Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 03 - Mockingjay

The 74th annual Hunger Games has ended and the victory belongs to Katniss and Peeta. Despite the excitement and celebration of District 12 there is an underlying feeling that the Capitol will find a way to curtail any threat of rebellion. Katniss knows her defiance has lit the kindling of something greater than herself and she is ever alert and anxious about her surroundings.

Attempting to bring some normalcy to her pre-Hunger Games existence, Katniss describes daily life as, “I hunt. He (Peeta) bakes. Haymitch drinks,” but simplicity is not meant to be hers. Katniss returns home to find her relationships with Peeta and Gale strained and confusing. She is trapped between wanting her independence and submitting to her status as the symbol of a rebellion. To further complicate her life, Katniss receives an unexpected visit from President Snow who advises Katniss to calm the uprising.

He issues thinly disguised threats warning her that if she cannot stop the rapidly growing revolution, then those she loves most will be killed.

Sixteen-year- old Katniss must now decide if she’s willing to lead an uprising against the oppressive, volatile, and dangerous Capitol or continue a charade that would require her to marry Peeta and for the remainder of her life worry about the threat of the Capitol.

Although she wants to run away, Katniss ultimately decides to protect her loved ones by becoming engaged to Peeta and continuing on with the victory tour. Despite her attempts to appease the Capitol, she is unable to stop the districts’ increasing demonstrations of rebellion.

In a surprising change of events, the Capitol announces that for the 75th annual Hunger Games, there will be a reuniting of past victors. Once again Katniss and Peeta are thrown back into the arena where they must fight to the death, and this time their defiance will not be in question.

Catching Fire sets the stage for a major uprising against the Capitol and solidifies Katniss’s role as the symbol of the rebellion. In this second installment of the exciting series, readers will finally learn more about the twisted plots of the Capitol, understand the mystery of District 13, and see a clear development of a love triangle. 



Charlotte Stein - Addicted

Kit Connor has always led a safe, cautious life. But when her friend points out that her erotic writing lacks something, she decides to attend a Sexual Healing group to improve her knowledge.

Kit expects to find the gritty underbelly of sex, and instead finds louche, laidback, sex-loving Dillon Holt.
He makes a suggestion to her: that he will tell tales of his sexual excess, and help her book get the realism it needs. She agrees, but hasn't the least idea of what she's getting into.
Dillon doesn't have simple advice in mind … he has lessons to teach her. Lessons on everything she's never dared to experience, from kink to real passion.

Now Kit is never sure: is Dillon the addict, or is she just addicted to him?






Storm and Silence (Storm and Silence, #1) by Robert Thier

Freedom—that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, not a brood of squalling brats, and certainly not love, thank you very much!

But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end—until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever...


Enter the world of Mr Rikkard Ambrose, where the only rule is: Knowledge is power is time is money!





Review


This book was bloody awesome! It was so much better than I had expected. Even though it was quite a lengthy book, I had enjoyed every moment in it. This book reminded me of my favorite novel Pride and Prejudice. The characters are the best thing in this book that made me love it so much. It is a well written book that was set in 19th century LONDON and it is  the best historical romance I’ve ever read. I always love to read romance books with lots of humor and this book is definitely a laugh riot. Lily Linton and Mr. Ambrose are really amazing characters and I can never get enough of their quarreling.

The story was set in a 19th century London where women aren’t permitted for voting and working. 19 year old Lily Linton is a feminist who always fights for women’s rights and thinks that woman should have a freedom to vote. She along with her five sisters lives with her aunt who was looking forward to get them paired to a guy that can help her improve her social status in the society. Lily doesn’t want to get married, she always wanted to do a job so that she could earn some money to escape the life she was living and live the way she wants. One day, during her disguise as a guy her paths crosses with dark and dangerous guy named Mr. Rikkard Ambrose who is quite wealthy and powerful person in London. Mr. Ambrose mistakes her for a boy and offers her to be his assistant in his office. Lily can’t believe her luck when she was offered to a job which is her only ticket to freedom but unfortunately woman aren’t allowed to work and when Mr.Ambrose finally finds out that she was actually a girl, he was totally against it but Lily is quite stubborn and she wouldn’t give up that easily.

Lily is totally an awesome character!  She is stubborn, clever, fun, witty, reckless and brave. She is someone who wouldn’t back down easily. She is everything I was looking for in a female protagonist and she has became my new favorite female character. Mr. Rikkard Ambrose is quite a  stern guy who is also handsome, authoritative and Class A Arrogant. He is a complete miser who loves money more than anything.  He always has this intimidating and dangerous vibe to him that makes people run in the other direction but Lily is the only person who doesn’t get effected by it. Lily and Mr. Ambrose absolutely hate each other but they are a perfect match. Whenever Mr.Ambrose gives her a hard time, she always fights back and I was like “YOU GO GIRL”. Their Constant bickering and  taunting are the parts I loved the most reading. The scene where Lily acts funny after getting drunk really cracked me up and the kiss after that was totally hot.  There is lots of sexual tension between them which is both frustrating and tempting. I really enjoyed their hate/love relationship and I pretty much loved it. As for the supporting characters, I liked Karim, Ambrose’s bodyguard who thinks Lily is a dangerous creature and calls her an Ifrit, a powerful half demon.

The plot was really intriguing and very well written. It was a perfect blend of humor and romance.  All the characters are well built and I liked each and every one of them. The pacing was great and even though this book was nearly 600 pages long, I wasn’t bored anywhere. The author has filled this book with lots of humor and intrigue in it that you wouldn’t want to part with it. I loved the witty writing style, it was simple but captivating enough to like it. The entire book was written in Lily’s POV but after reading a short POV of Mr.Rikkard Ambrose at the end, I wished there was Ambrose’s POV too. The book finally ended with a cliffhanger and I’m dying to know what’s gonna happen next.

Overall, I freaking loved it! I hugely thank the author for letting me review this amazing book and I’ll look forward to the next installment until then I might check out his other works too.

Storm And Silence is a YA historical romance filled with adventure, humor and romance. It is a hit Wattpad novel and also winner of People’s Choice Award in the Wattys 2015. I highly recommend everyone to read this. Even if you aren’t into historical romance just read it.




One with You - Sylvia Day

One with You - Sylvia Day free full ebook kindle download here myfreekindle.blogspot.com blo blogger booklovers booklikes amazon goodreads bestseller
One with You - Sylvia Day

Gideon Cross. Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I've ever done. It happened instantly. Completely. Irrevocably.


Marrying him was a dream come true. Staying married to him is the fight of my life. Love transforms. Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one.


We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws ... and all the beauty I couldn't see. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me. Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us.


But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free ... or break us apart.





Colleen Hoover - It Ends With Us

Colleen Hoover - It Ends With Us download free ebooks in pdf epub mobi download free kindle ebooks amazing romance cute pink awesome
Colleen Hoover - It Ends With Us
Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.


This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

 
Review

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.  


 

Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter 07 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter 07
Harry Potter
and the Deathly Hallows
It's no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it's up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.

Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.

The ultimate battle between good and evil that closes out this final chapter of the epic series takes place where Harry's Wizarding life began: at Hogwarts. The satisfying conclusion offers shocking last-minute twists, incredible acts of courage, powerful new forms of magic, and the resolution of many mysteries.

Above all, this intense, cathartic book serves as a clear statement of the message at the heart of the Harry Potter series: that choice matters much more than destiny, and that love will always triumph over death.







Reviews

This is just a pithy review on the Harry Potter series as a whole. It is not an in-depth analysis of the work in general, nor is it a review on any one particular installment.

Harry Potter is a work of art. I got made fun of once¹ when I was out to dinner with some friends, because while we were discussing these books I made the mistake of referring to them as “literature.” I felt like I had to defend that assertion because, although the definition of literature is pretty broad, it seems like it should really only apply to works with some definable qualitative value or literary merit. In this case, my friends were wrong—Rowling explores themes and concepts in this series that I think are valuable to children and young adults who look to her characters for qualities they seek to emulate, and I believe her works will have lasting impact on this and future generations.

I’ve heard it said before that everything you need to know you’ve learned in kindergarten. Well, that might be somewhat of an oversimplification, but I do think children or young adults who grow into this series, seeing Harry and his friends mature as they themselves mature, can glean some pretty important life lessons from it. They are impressionable human beings who are learning about themselves and are starting to make the choices that reflect the kinds of people they want to be.

So what does Harry Potter teach them? Well, here is a bullet list of what it has taught me. And if you’re good, I’ll think about turning this into a PowerPoint presentation. Or maybe not.

• The quality of your character is not a reflection of where you come from or who your parents are; rather, it is a reflection of the choices you make, so make them wisely.

• The way you treat other people, especially those less fortunate than you, reveals your true colors more quickly and more completely than almost anything else you do.

• It is a good thing to have dreams and ambitions, but that alone is not enough. You cannot expect success without effort.

• It is far less important what your abilities are than what you actually do with them. Your abilities alone do not define you.

• Nobody likes to fail, but to refuse an attempt at success on the grounds that you’re afraid to fail is failure in itself.
Growing up is about figuring out who you are and coming to terms with your strengths and weaknesses, and it is about deciding how to utilize the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses in order to become a better person. It’s a lifelong struggle, but it starts early, and I think Harry Potter offers the tools to help achieve that. It can help young people find their way, and maybe that’s an oversimplification for a seven-volume series of novels, but that’s what I got out of it, and that’s why I will recommend this to my kids as they start to become ready for some life lessons of their own.

¹This is misleading; I’ve been made fun of countless, countless times. 

Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter 06 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar faces. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter 06 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince free pdf ebook epub mobi download
Rowling, J.K. - Harry Potter 06 - Harry Potter
and the Half-Blood Prince
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate—and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business, Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help form the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort—and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.
If you live with anyone under the age of 20, you might have noticed them looking longingly at the calendar and marking off the days (indeed, you might be marking off the days yourself). School's already out, summer's well along, the final Star Wars movie hit the screens weeks ago, and Christmas . . . well, even the stores don't start playing carols until October. So what's causing the sighs and anticipation?

Why, it's the magical arrival—on July 16—of the sixth book about the young wizard in training. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (or HBP to fans) has a first printing of 10.8 million copies, the largest initial print run for any book in American history. But exactly what happens in book six, no one, except J.K. Rowling and her tight-lipped editors, can say. The book has been treated with a level of security worthy of a state secret, and with remarkably fewer leaks to the press. It's harder to get an advance copy of HBP than it is to Disapparate from Hogwarts. Unless you have the Inner Eye of Professor Trelawney, you'll just have to wait with the rest of us Muggles until July 16. (Bookstores around the country are hosting midnight parties and will start selling the book just after 11:59 p.m., July 15.) Depending on your budget, you can choose between the regular edition of HBP and the deluxe edition, a slipcased beauty with special artwork and a retail price of $60.
Needless to say, the secrecy hasn't stopped a steady stream of speculation and even outright wagering as to the plot, events and characters. Whole Internet sites are dedicated to analyzing the least little clues, from the cover art to offhand remarks by Rowling. Recently, bookies in the U.K. refused a flurry of wagers on who gets killed off in book six, in part because the wagers originated from the town where the books are being printed. Rowling has since downplayed the rumors, though not so far as to rule out the prediction.
The two great mysteries of HBP are the identity of the Half-Blood Prince and the question of which favorite character will die. As for the latter, Rowling has stated that no one (except Harry and Lord Voldemort) is 100 percent safe, and has kept mum otherwise. The identity of the Half-Blood Prince has seen a few more tidbits spilt; it is not (as some speculated early on) either Harry or Voldemort (or his teenage counterpart from Chamber). Could it be a character whose mixed heritage is already known (such as Hagrid, Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas and a few others) or a character who is well-known but whose origins are not (Snape is a favorite, as is Dumbledore) or a character not yet introduced or one mentioned but never encountered (such as Godric Gryffindor, co-founder of Hogwarts and ancient defender of Muggle-born students)?
If you want to join the speculation, a great place to start is Rowling's official website, www.jkrowling.com. It's a delightfully animated exploration of Rowling's cluttered desk, brimming with clues, hints and hidden oddities. From there you can follow links to Potter-fan web sites and Rowling's American and British publishers. The Scholastic site offers a glossary and an audio pronunciation guide for wizardly words—a great boon to Muggles like me, who discovered that I said many things woefully wrong.
Howard Shirley is a writer in Franklin, Tennessee, who is convinced that Godric Gryffindor is the Half-Blood Prince. Unless, of course, it's Hagrid. Or someone else.