Read A thread by Tom Nichols (Twitter)

“Quote-tweeting my answer to @GerLuongo not as criticism, but because my answer to her is to everyone:
Do not engage your Fox-watching relatives on this. There is no convincing them, because they do not – and will not – understand any of it. Nod and express quiet disapproval. /1”

ReadFinished Reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he’s after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can’t imagine that Sirius or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair. Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry’s success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father. Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem. Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

Rated this 5 out of 5. Still enjoying rereading this. And Prisoner of Azkaban is, I think, my favorite of the books, and definitely my favorite of the movie scores.
ReadFinished Reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by an author

Ever since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry 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 who says that if Harry 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 and a spirit who haunts the girls’ bathroom. But then the real trouble begins – someone is 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!

Rated 5 out of 5. My favorite character in this book is Dobby, and my favorite scene is when he is freed.
ReadFinished Reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

John and I started rereading these because they’re fun. Rated: 5 of 5.
ReadFinished Reading: Texas! Lucky (Texas! Tyler Family Saga, #1) by Sandra Brown

Lucky Tyler attracted trouble–and women–like a lightning rod. But the night he stepped in to rescue a mysterious redhead in a seedy bar, he got more than he bargained for!
The lady excited him, challenged him, drove him wild with desire–then vanished without a trace. Lucky was desperate to find her, to brand her with his heat–and when the police were called in to investigate a suspicious fire at Tyler Drilling, his family business, he needed her for an alibi!

Torn between anguish and ecstasy, Devon Haines tried to refuse Lucky’s pleas for help, but the reckless blue-eyed devil wouldn’t take no as an answer from her… not when his touch could make her burn, could make her his.

Framed by old enemies, Lucky knew his only hope to clear himself rested on solving the crime, but Devon feared when his innocence was proved, she would lose the handsome cowboy who possessed her heart and soul Would the tragic vow that made their love forbidden cost her forever in his arms?

I rated this 2 out of 5 and I have no regrets.

John and I had planned to read this trilogy, but neither of us were thrilled with the first book, and while I don’t know why John wasn’t, I can tell you why I wasn’t impressed.

The main characters weren’t anything I could relate to, let alone empathize with. And then there’s the “liberal virgin who’s wound too tight learns that sex with the small-town guy who’s Oh so chivalrous but also gets into tons of fights over stupid shit saves her from the hell and damnation of being without said guy in her bed” trope.

I have no idea if that trope has an official name, (will have to ask the romance experts on my various timelines), but that’s what I’m calling it, and it’s old and played out. It also has a correlary of actual barbarian/pirate replacing impossibly chivalrous but also needlessly violent guy.

And on top of all that, there wasn’t any sort of interesting scenery or other characters to make up for any of this.

So yeah, it got 2 stars.

ReadFinished Reading: The Blood of the Lamb by Thomas F. Monteleone

In his thirtieth year, Father Peter Carenza, the handsome,charismatic priest of a Brooklyn church, discovers he has miraculous powers. He can heal the sick, raise the dead, and walk unscathed through fire.
An apocalyptic thriller set in the final days of the 20th century. The roller-coaster plot involves biblical prophecy and the promise – or fear – of the millennium, and features a vicious clerical assasin and a beautiful American reporter.

I really enjoyed this book, and I was going to say something about wishing there were at least one sequel, but it turns out that there are a series of three.

I pulled this book up on Goodreads to copy the description, and it turns out that there isn’t much of one. So, off to Google I went, and Library Thing informs me that there are other books.

There’s no website for the author, so I linked to the Wikipedia article for him.

Rated this 4 out of 5.

ReadFinished Reading: Walk the Wire (Amos Decker #6) by David Baldacci

Amos Decker — the FBI consultant with a perfect memory — returns to solve a gruesome murder in a booming North Dakota oil town in the newest thriller in David Baldacci’s #1 New York Times bestselling Memory Man series.

When Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are called to London, North Dakota, they instantly sense that the thriving fracking town is ripe for trouble. The promise of a second gold rush has attracted an onslaught of newcomers all hoping for a windfall, and the community is growing faster than houses can be built. The sudden boom has also brought a slew of problems with it, including drugs, property crimes, prostitution — and now murder.

Decker and Jamison are ordered to investigate the death of a young woman named Irene Cramer, whose body was expertly autopsied and then dumped in the open — which is only the beginning of the oddities surrounding the case. As Decker and Jamison dig into Irene’s life, they are shocked to discover that the woman who walked the streets by night as a prostitute was a teacher for a local religious sect by day — a sect operating on land once owned by a mysterious government facility that looms over the entire community.

London is a town replete with ruthless business owners, shady government officials, and religious outsiders, all determined to keep their secrets from coming out. When other murders occur, Decker will need all of his extraordinary memory and detective skills, and the assistance of a surprising ally, to root out a killer and the forces behind Cramer’s death. . . before the boom town explodes.

I rated it 4 out of 5.
ReadFinished Reading: Starfire (Supernova Alpha, #2) by an author

Earth has been ravaged by galactic disaster–but the real devastation is yet to come.

The end draws nigh….

The year is 2053, and Earth has barely recovered from the Alpha Centauri supernova that destroyed much of the planet’s infrastructure. Now the supernova’s residual effect–a storm of high-energy particles–is racing toward Earth, and an international effort has been launched out of the Sky City space colony to save the planet. But the controversial plan–to build a giant protective shield for Earth–is falling dangerously behind schedule. A series of unexplained murders has disrupted the Sky City workforce, so much so that a brilliant but monstrous criminal has been enlisted to track down the Sky City killer.

Then comes more startling news. Evidence indicates that the original supernova was caused deliberately, and that the lethal particle storm will arrive sooner than anyone expected. But who–or what–tried to destroy the Earth? And will the answer come in time to save it from its final apocalypse?

ReadFinished Reading: Siege of Stone (Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles, #3) by Terry Goodkind

The ramifications of Shroud of Eternity extend throughout all of the Old World as familiar allies, dangerous magic, and creatures created by twisted sorcery all work at cross purposes to either save or destroy Ildakar in Terry Goodkind’s Seige of Stone

The Sorceress Nicci, the Wizard Nathan Rahl, and the young swordsman Bannon remain in the legendary city of Ildakar after a great internal revolt has freed the slaves and brought down the powerful wizards council. But as he fled the city, capricious Wizard Commander Maxim dissolved the petrification spell that had turned to stone the invading army of General Utros fifteen centuries earlier. Now, hundreds of thousands of half-stone soldiers from the ancient past have awakened, led by one of the greatest enemy commanders in history.

Nicci, Nathan, and Bannon have to help Ildakar survive this unbreakable siege, using all the magical defenses of the legendary city. Even as General Utros holds Ildakar hostage and also unleashes his incredible army on the unsuspecting Old World, an equally powerful threat arises out in the sea.

Nicci knows the battle won’t remain in the city; if she can’t stop this threat, two invincible armies can sweep across the Old World and destroy D’Hara itself.