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Rachel Holton (Glasgow)
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The Worst Witch (Young Puffin Story Books)
The Worst Witch (Young Puffin Story Books)
by Jill Murphy
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pre-Hogwarts Adventure, 20 Jan 2013
First of all, this is one of the books I read as a child which has really stuck in my mind over the years. I am a huge fan of the fantasy genre and this magical tale of the accident-prone Mildred Hubble was an introduction of sorts for me.
This would be a great read for children who are too young to read the Harry Potter series as The Worst Witch with it's more whimsical tone doesn't share the darker themes of the Potter books.
Nevertheless this is a great pre-Potter read, Jill Murphy also combines magic with the old boarding school genre which I absolutely love.
The main character Mildred is the perfect hero for children, always getting into mischief and trying to keep up with the resident 'goody-goody'. The magical element is also great, there's potions classes and broomstick flying and much more in this fun read.


It's Kind of a Funny Story
It's Kind of a Funny Story
by Ned Vizzini
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.41

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Depression and Humour!, 9 April 2012
I first picked up this book because I was struggling with depression myself and was curious how it would be portrayed in this young adult novel.
First of all I was really surprised at how many of the protagonist's feelings and situation mirrored my own. It seems that Ned Vizzini has accomplished the feat of putting emotions into words in this refreshing novel.
In the story Craig has found his life becoming too much for him, feeling immense pressure from all angles such as his family, friends and teachers. He cannot cope to the point that he considers committing suicide. Instead however he admits himself into the psychiatric ward of his hospital. While there he meets a number of charming and troubled characters and tries to find his way back from the depths of depression. Never an easy task!
What I enjoyed most about this book was how the author not only dealt with the despair of mental illness in such a way that it isn't trivialised or melodramatic, but also managed to inject some humour into the story. Craig is such good representation of what it's like to be a teenager today and you may find some of his predicaments familiar and amusing. Craig's fellow patients in the hospital are also hilarious and will change you ideas of what people with mental illness are really like.
Finally I must point out that the story feels very authentic throughout, which is largely because the author himself has been there and experienced the highs and lows of life and depression. So I urge you to give this book a go. Especially if you are suffering from mental illness, read and know that you are not alone and it can get better!


The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read Alert!, 16 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Hunger Games (Paperback)
An absolutely amazing read! When I picked this up I felt really skeptical, I read the blurb and didn't really think it was for me. However when I started reading I just couldn't stop and proceeded to finish it in one day.

First of all I really liked the setting. Suzanne Collins introduces us to a dystopian America called Panem which is divided into 12 districts and the evil Capitol. In order to punish the districts for rebellions in the past the hold the annual Hunger Games, a contest in which children and teens fight to the death. This is also broadcast on television to serve as a warning to the districts of the power of the Capitol.
Our hero of the story, Katniss lives in district 12. She is such a great character and a refreshing change from the usual female protagonists you find in young adult novels. Katniss is a real survivor, she takes care of her family, hunts in the woods to put food on the table and even ends up taking her sisters place when she is called up to participate in the deadly Hunger Games.

Now I don't want to give any more of the plot away but I will saw that it is immensely gripping. My heart was pounding throughout, particularly when Katniss enters the Hunger Games arena. There is plenty of action, but in my opinion what makes it so exciting is mainly the characters. You will fall in love with these fictional characters and will be desperate to find out what happens to them and who will make it out alive and who will kill.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone, you don't have to be a teenager! Read it now!


Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web
by E. B. White
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story, 6 Jan 2012
This review is from: Charlotte's Web (Paperback)
A beautifully written children's book about friendship. Wilbur the pig is a runt and discovers his fate is porcine persuasion. Miserable, Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte who is determined to help him survive. In her attempt the spider spins the words 'Some Pig' into her web hoping the farmer will believe that Wilbur is something special.
The book is simple and enjoyable for children to read. But what's really great about it is readers of every age can gain something different from the story. The characters are very lovable and the wise spider teaches us the importance of friendship and appreciating everything in the world around us.
A must read for anyone.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Magical and More-ish, 5 Jan 2012
This is pretty much as close as you get to a perfect children's book. That's not to say adults won't love it too! Roald Dahl takes us to a place I'm sure many of us dream of - a chocolate factory!
Our hero, humble Charlie wins a golden ticket giving him a chance to enter the magnificent place. Along with another 4 terrifically horrible children and their guardians, they encounter strange creatures, the wacky Willy Wonka and more chocolate than they can imagine.
The descriptions of the different candies are mouthwatering and the drawings are really fun. Definitely a page turner and a must read.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Celebratory Edition)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Celebratory Edition)
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 5 Jan 2012
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a huge book but amazingly each page is as enthralling as the next. In Harry's fourth year things get dark and complicated as the evil Lord Voldemort is gearing himself up for a comeback. And if that's not enough a Triwizard Tournament is taking place at Hogwarts.
J.K. Rowling's fourth book is packed with new and interesting characters as well as a fresh mystery for us to sink our teeth into. There may even be a little romance.
A fantastic installment to the franchise. Read it now!


(500) Days of Summer [DVD] [2009]
(500) Days of Summer [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional Rom-com, 5 Jan 2012
To be honest, when I went to the cinema to see this I was skeptical at first. Expecting the usual cliche ridden rom com I was delighted when this turned to be very unique and funny. I loved how the love story was told through the guys eyes for a change, especially as the character Tom is extremely likable. The whole vibe of the film is very indie/retro so if that's your style, this is for you. However, the reach goes farther than the hipster crowd as the story and characters are down to earth and fun. I keep coming back to this film and it's now one of my very favourites. I highly recommend it.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Celebratory Edition
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Celebratory Edition
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!, 29 Dec 2011
Fans of the first two Harry Potter books will certainly not be disappointed with J.K. Rowling's third installment The Prisoner of Azkaban.
The murderous Sirius Black has escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban and the magical world is once again in danger. A follower of Lord Voldemort, it becomes clear that Black is headed for Hogwarts and could it be?......Harry? And that's not the only question raised in the novel as there is a new teacher and even a close friend with secrets of their own. What's more, the terrifying Azkaban guards lurk around the castle on the lookout for black and their effect on Harry is devastating.
This third book is definitely the darkest one yet and you get the sense that the story is now building towards something. The creatures are more terrifying, the adventures are more dangerous and although they stay true to themselves, the characters are well and truly growing up. Moreover some key characters are introduced.
There is also a lot of mystery involved. Many questions are raised and I find that J.K. Rowling has the perfect balance of answering some questions and leaving us in suspense about some of the others.
I'm not sure what else to add as it is a well known fact that these books are well loved. So all I can say is try it for yourself! In my opinion some of the highlights of these books are in the little details; a sneaky reveal, a magical object or even a funny conversation with the Weasley twins. It's difficult to add that into a review, so I suggest you go ahead and enjoy discovering it all for yourself!


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2): Celebratory Edition
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2): Celebratory Edition
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 6.27

5.0 out of 5 stars A great sequel!, 16 Dec 2011
We are back to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
In Harry's second year there is more danger when the Chamber of Secrets is opened unleashing a mysterious monster which threatens the lives of all the muggle born students. But Harry wants to know who opened the Chamber and what lies within. So along with Ron and Hermione, Harry sets out to track done the "Heir of Slytherin" and stop them before it's too late.
In this sequel Harry's magical world is not only as fantastical as ever, but it becomes bigger as we are introduced to the magic of floo powder and flying cars as well as he addition of more magical creatures such as the lovable house elf, Dobby.
The atmosphere in Hogwarts this year is also more heated as students turn against each other in suspicion. The plot is so gripping and mysterious that it keeps you guessing right until the very end and prepare to be shocked even before then!
This is of course a must-read for anyone who read and enjoyed the first book. You won't be disappointed!


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Interesting, 16 Dec 2011
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close really took me by surprise when I first read it as it is an incredibly unique read.
The books narrator is a nine year boy named Oskar whose father was killed in the 9/11 bombings. One day Oskar discovers a mysterious key amongst his father's belongings and immediately sets out to find the lock as well as some answers along the way.
The story follows Oskar's journey but is also made up of letters written by Oskar's grandparents who tell their own tragic story of the bombing of dresden and their lives afterward. There are also several photographs taken by Oskar on his travels included in the pages, which I think is also a nice touch.
The book is very well written and I particularly like how we are given an insight into how the different members of Oskar's family are dealing with the tragedy as well as a snapshot of the lives of the people Oskar encounters.
I found the characters very different to any others I have encountered before, from Oskar's quirks and inventions to his grandfather's lack of speech. But it got me thinking how after such tragedies as they have encountered it is impossible to survive emotionally unscathed. But these characters are written so beautifully that even though they may be damaged it is still easy for us to see some of ourselves in them and relate to their pain.
I love how the story is wrapped up and find the ending very satisfying, which I think is so important. It certainly left me with a lot to think about.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is definitely worth a read, don't be put off by the tough subject matter because although there are some heartbreaking moments, this is in no way a depressing read.


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