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Charlie Berry

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First Aid Kit Girl
First Aid Kit Girl
Price: £3.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought this book was totally gripping and I couldn't ..., 27 July 2014
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I thought this book was totally gripping and I couldn't put it down. It all felt so real - scarily so. I felt myself identifying with the main character. I read it in five days, which for me is quick. Really suspenseful in a couple of places too - my heart was literally hammering. The reason I've given it four stars instead of five is because it was very, very dark - more so than I expected, and I guess just a little too close to the bone.


The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy)
The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, Not Astounding, 17 Jun. 2012
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No doubt you've already heard of the Hunger Games thanks to the fact that a movie adaptation has been made of the first book. It's the latest, teen-oriented, multi-novel sensation from America. But is it any good?
The Hunger Games is written from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl called Katniss Everdeen. Having lost her father at a young age, she lives with her mother and younger sister in `District Twelve', which is the last of the twelve districts that surrounds the `Capitol', Panem. Every day is a daily struggle for Katniss; her family live in near-poverty and she has to hunt to get food on the table for her vulnerable sister and her mother, who was almost immobilised by depression after her husband's death. The action is set in a barely recognisable future version of the USA. There was once a District Thirteen, but it was destroyed by Panem for daring to bring about an uprising, and every year, to mark the betrayal of District 13, and as a warning to all the other districts to keep in line, the Capitol stages the so-called `Hunger Games', in which 24 teens between the ages of 12 and 18 - a boy and a girl from each district, are selected to fight to the death via a lottery of sorts, and there can only be one winner.
When her 12 year old sister is selected as the girl `tribute' for District 12, Katniss offers to take her place. And so she is entered into the Hunger Games, with the boy tribute from District 12 being Peeta Mellark, a baker's son, to whom Katniss quite literally owes the life of both herself and her family...
The Hunger Games is a compelling read, full of so many twists and turns it is more or less impossible to quite predict what the outcome will be. Not only is Katniss thrust into an arena full of 23 other tributes out to kill her, but she must work out her feelings towards fellow District Twelve tribute Peeta, and how she will deal with potentially having to kill the person to whom she owes her life. In addition there are traps set by the Gamemakers, who have power over the weather in the arena, and can drown the tributes in torrential rain or blast fireballs at them to spice up the action when things get boring. All of this is filmed and broadcast across the Capitol and the Districts, and is required viewing for everyone. People can place bets on who will survive.
It's like a twisted form of reality TV; Big Brother crossed with a gladiatorial arena
Of course, the Hunger Games is nothing truly new - Collins claims she got the inspiration for the novel while channel surfing one night and seeing footage of Big Brother on one side and real life news coverage of a war zone on the other, and she combined the two together in her mind. The book, however, bears a marked resemblance to the Japanese survival thriller movie Battle Royale, released in 2000, in which a class of teens were entered against their will into a contest in which they were forced to fight to the death on a desert island.
What struck me though, is how awkwardly the moral message of the book is handled, really, considering the weightiness of the issues that make up its foundation. Every now and then Katniss reflects on the unfairness of the Capitol's treatment, but then again, most of the time she is just fighting to stay alive. Perhaps that's all I'd be doing in her situation. Peeta expresses it most succinctly: "(...) (W)hen the time comes, I'm sure I'll kill just like everybody else. I can't go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to... to show the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games." It's all about retaining humanity in a world where you are literally forced to kill, where thousands are gawking at you on a screen, placing bets on how long you'll survive.
The violence in the book is somewhat restrained; a thrown knife here, a splash of blood there, without going into particularly graphic detail; it is a teen novel after all. Perhaps the most gruesome deaths are when a girl is stung repeatedly by giant wasps and when a boy is slowly eaten alive by a band of genetically engineered dog-like creatures called `mutts' that are released into the arena by the Gamemakers (perhaps the most shocking scene in the entire book but because of the nature of the mutts as well as the nature of the boy's murder).
If you like kick-ass heroines, this is definitely for you - Katniss is THE kick-ass heroine. Some of the supporting characters are intriguing too; it's just a shame that not many of them are given a chance to develop. Peeta Mellark is an interesting character but is unfortunately stifled by his role of `is he, isn't he?' lover boy. The book does require some mighty suspension of disbelief at times too, with some of the contraptions that the futuristic citizens of Panem take for granted (there is a sort of box, that when touched, sends an electric current to your head that immediately dries, parts and styles your hair. What?!)
Despite its flaws, the book is a compelling read with plenty of suspense to keep you going until the end, but upon finishing the first book in the series, it seems doubtful to me that there is enough material to work with with which Suzanne Collins will be able to draw out another two books, and yet she has done just that.
As teen fodder goes, this is good, but not astounding.


Tobar 02810 Rubber Duckling
Tobar 02810 Rubber Duckling
Offered by GiftLocalUK
Price: £3.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Duckin' Great, 9 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Tobar 02810 Rubber Duckling (Toy)
This rubber duck is good quality, a nice bright yellow colour and very cute. And - importantly for a rubber duck, it floats! It is very small - just 4cm long, as it says in the product description, but this only adds to its cuteness, and, if you're so inclined, it can be added to a duck family, perhaps as a cousin or something. Use your imagination. Fun and quirky for both adults and children.


S.U.M.O. (Shut Up, Move On): The Straight-Talking Guide to Creating and Enjoying a Brilliant Life
S.U.M.O. (Shut Up, Move On): The Straight-Talking Guide to Creating and Enjoying a Brilliant Life
by Paul McGee
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book!, 7 Aug. 2010
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This book was recommended to me recently when I attended an assertiveness course at work, and it was well worth the money. I love this book. A positive, inspirational read. It's very 'readable' and practical, with small exercises to help you engage with the text, and get you thinking about how you can apply S.U.MO. principles to your own life. A must-read. Life's too short not to read this book!


Boy With the X Ray Eyes
Boy With the X Ray Eyes
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Out of this world!, 11 July 2010
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This review is from: Boy With the X Ray Eyes (Audio CD)
If you're not familiar with the music of Babylon Zoo, than the only thing you'd probably associate with them is the high-pitched, speeded-up vocals at the beginning of their hit single 'Spaceman', made famous by the 1995 Levi's Jeans advert. But oh my word, Babylon Zoo are so much more than that. For a start, the album is heavier than you'd expect judging from that short intro alone. Layers upon layers of fuzzy, distorted guitars and robotic vocals. It's all pretty lo-fi and weirdly spacey. How would you describe this sound? Space rock? There are elements of glam, grunge and goth in there too as well as seasonings of Bhangra (due probably to frontman Jas Mann's Indian descent and Sikh roots) . The songs are all top notch. Really. There's not a bad song in there. The best ones however, in my opinion, have got to be 'Zodiac Sign', 'Spaceman', and 'Caffeine'. The lyrics can touch upon some meaty subjects, of rejection, alienation and paranoia, both in society and on a more personal level. They can also be quite profound and touching, even though expressed at times in the simplest way. Take, for example, "I'm always scared of being alone, everybody wants to be loved", from 'Zodiac Sign'.
I love this album. It has to be one of my favourites of all time. Anyone who is into Placebo, Marilyn Manson or David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust guise should probably give this a go because there are elements of them all in this, though in my experience this album truly stands alone because there is nothing exactly like it out there. I strongly recommend this album. Go on, give it a go. Judging by all the rest of the positive feedback on here, chances are you'll love it too.


The Goddess Experience
The Goddess Experience
by Gisèle Scanlon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My pick-me-up, 3 July 2010
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This review is from: The Goddess Experience (Paperback)
This book is a great pick-me-up for when you're feeling a bit down. It reads a bit like a magazine - it's not exactly highbrow or involving, so it's easy to dip into whenever you feel like it. It's got lots of tips on health and beauty - I really found the section on running inspirational and encouraging, as a runner myself, and its also got loads of fashion and shopping tips, recipes, and delighful randomness such as the best places to buy macaroons and how to make the perfect cup of tea. It's also beautiful just to look at - check out the front cover design! I'm not particularly a girlie girl, but I still liked the book and must admit it'd look nice on a bedside table. So I'd recommend it :-)


Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor AS Speciality Ox Lace-Up Aster Purple 112503 6 UK
Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor AS Speciality Ox Lace-Up Aster Purple 112503 6 UK

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love 'em, 3 July 2010
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I love my purple Converse. They are comfy and I think they look really cool. I wear mine virtually all the time. I think they look great with skinny jeans (which I also wear virtually all the time), but they'd also look good worn with a skirt or a dress for a casual look. They are very versatile!


A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Modern Classics)
A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Anthony Burgess
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clockwork Orange, 12 Sept. 2009
This infamous tale of Alex and his `droogies' is well worth a look. It is well-paced, with a unique language of its own - `nadsat', or `teen-speak', which both veils and distances the reader from the violence described due to the alien lexicon, while at the same time drawing the reader into the violent scenes, with the visceral nature of the narration and fact that a lot of the words used are fairly onomatopoeic. A lot of the nadsat words used throughout the novel seem impressively intuitive. For example there is `toofles' for `slippers'; `creeching' for `crying' and `bezoomny' for `crazy'. The whole story is cleverly constructed, being concerned with cycles and the idea of coming full-circle, even in the very title, `A Clockwork Orange'. For example, there is the recurring question that resounds throughout the novel: "What's it going to be then, eh?", as well as the shifting of Alex's mental states, from his inclination towards ultra-violence at the opening of the novel, to his brain-washing and subsequent sickness during the contemplation of all violent acts, to his relapse back into his former preferences after his attempted suicide, followed of course by his slightly suspicious `softening' at the end of the novel.
This novel works because of its balance. The infinitely charismatic and yet animalistic Alex both repulses and attracts the reader. The blend of the horrifying and the amusing keeps the reader tethered to the story throughout. For this reason, along with the novel language used, the story is like nothing you've ever read before, and so it remains both memorable and vital. It's a twisted masterpiece, and of course it gives the reader a good old-fashioned moral question to ponder:: `Is it better for a human to choose to be an animal than to be brainwashed into being a law-abiding citizen, and so to be deprived of the power of choice: a power which, paradoxically, makes the human who chooses to be an animal human?' Go ponder.


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