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Mrs. E. Mclaughlin

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Attack On Titan 1
Attack On Titan 1
by Hajime Isayama
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shingeki no Awesome, 12 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Attack On Titan 1 (Paperback)
I was apprehensive about reading this manga as I had heard it was dreadfully violent and gory and I usually avoid things like that, however after doing a little research and I saw how many people were raving about how brilliant it was, I decided to give it a go and I am so glad I did. Firstly, I would like to defend the art in the manga, as many people were saying how terrible it was. I admit that sometimes the faces look a little off and the bodies can also look very awkward but somehow it fits the feel of the manga and in all honesty there are only a few panels which look strange. Some of the panels are absolutely genius though and reminded me of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch in their grossnes. Also, Hajime Isayama really knows how to draw facial expressions very well and the characters themselves seem very realistic despite being cartoons. I feel a lot for each character, they react realistically, if one of them freezes in fear, I understand them and I literally cheer them on or cry for them depending on their situation. There are points where you feel the fear too, your palms sweat, you shake and your heart is beating really fast in your chest, and although it can be very uncomfortable to read, that's what makes it so good; you react with the characters and care for them. I don't think I have felt this passionately about a manga since I first read Naruto! But now I really think this is better than Naruto and that's saying a lot! I hope if you decide to read it that you feel the same way! It's really a great read, it keeps you in your toes and gets you thinking about it even after you have put it down to recover from the intensity and suspense of the plot. It is a must read, even if you don't like blood and gore and suspense!

(Apologies for the poor quality of my writing, I had a lot to say and got a little over excited, but basically, you should read this manga, it is fantastic!)


Shadows on our Skin
Shadows on our Skin
by Jennifer Johnston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 22 April 2013
This review is from: Shadows on our Skin (Paperback)
I read this in Derry when I was visiting my Grandparents and I loved it from the first page. It is a book which engages the personal and political aspects of Derry in the Troubles, but through the eyes of a young boy. His innocence perhaps makes some of the wider themes a little more difficult to understand if you don't know some of the history surrounding the Troubles, but even as a novel about a boy trying to cope with his stressful home life, this book is wonderful. The fact that
it works on so many different levels is what makes it such a treat to read! Also, as someone who demands realistic and well developed characters, this book provided me with something very satisfactory. Each character has a distinct personality and despite their flaws, it is easy to sympathise with each. When the story reaches its end you will find understanding for all of the characters, though you may not agree with their actions.

From the fear of the British Army and the IRA, to fear of the darker aspects of each characters in the book, there is certainly dynamic realism which well represents the political and private aspects of Ireland in the 70's, and how they connected. I don't want to ruin the plot, so in order to find out how you'll have to read it for yourself! You won't be disappointed!


Genesis
Genesis
by Bernard Beckett
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 22 April 2013
This review is from: Genesis (Paperback)
Genesis is one of those books in life which makes you say "wow" when you finish reading it. Although it is quite complicated and extremely philosophical there is a distinct plot and great characters who are realistic and likeable. It engages with notions of person-hood (what makes a person a person) and the ethical dilemmas that come with it, all wrapped into the intense circumstances of an exam, which the main character, Anax, is taking. If that isn't enough to make you want to read it, then just wait for the mind blowing twist at the end, it is truly and honestly awesome. I did not expect such a great ending and when i put the book down, I was so satisfied with it. What makes the end so great is that the plot is well tied up and yet it still leaves you with a lot of questions, not about the book, but about the nature of reality and existence as we know them. I felt that it was a great gateway into the ethics of artificial intelligence and the nature of humans.

I don't want to say much else in case i spoil anything but I'll just summarise by saying; if you want a book to make you think a lot, that makes you engage with the characters and the questions they raise, as well as giving you a great plot twist at the end, then this is the book for you!


Angel Blood
Angel Blood
by John Singleton
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 22 April 2013
This review is from: Angel Blood (Paperback)
This is a really unique and imaginative read. It takes you on a journey you would never expect to be taken on and introduces you to characters who will stick with you long after you have finished the book. It is beautifully well written and engaging to the end. Although it is very strange it has such a lovely warmth to it, the utter innocence of the characters and the way they grow and interact with one another is what makes this book so light hearted despite its dark themes. And what's more is that the characters are very realistic which is hard to find in teen books these day. They carry you through the situations fluidly and their development is not too rushed, they open up slowly and reveal their unique characters one by one.

In short, this book is vastly under rated but it is a hidden gem to be sure, anyone who has stumbled across it will be pleasantly surprised. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a little different from their reading experience. ;)


Stargirl: Pink
Stargirl: Pink
by Jerry Spinelli
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for star girl!, 10 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Stargirl: Pink (Paperback)
If I could give this book more stars then I would! It was simply fantastic! Although it is a slice of life, teenage novel it has a wonderfully dreamy quality which just sums up the character of Stargirl. Unlike so many other teenage novels it has a wonderful and spiritual air that makes it very unique, it puts books like Looking for Alaska, which also attempt to be spiritual, to shame. Instead of stating the laws and beliefs of Buddhism Jerry Spinelli has intelligently hinted at them and tied them very subtly into the essence of the books plot and characters. It is very well thought out, and the concept of another character narrating Stargirls actions allows her to keep an air of mystery which I think is so essential to the beauty and intrigue of her wonderful personality. The whole thing is just fantastic and when I first read it as a 12 year old girl I was absorbed. Every young person feels different and being young can be difficult, but this book provides, almost a manual, on teenage life and the way in which teenagers treat one another and specifically those who are different. They don't get much more different than Stargirl! I would reccomend it to anyone as it can be read and enjoyed by people of all ages! It deals with universal human relations which can be applied outside of the school environment. If it sounds like the kind of thing you would like then definitely buy it, you won't regret it!


Dolce Vita
Dolce Vita
by Iseult Teran
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 8 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dolce Vita (Paperback)
I first picked up this book in a charity shop when I was about 16 because it sounded interesting, however what started out as a impulsive buy actually turned out to be one of my favourite books! The main character, Una, is a 16 year old girl who is living in Paris in the late 80's. I found her to be very relatable in her somewhat ideallistic thoughts on love and naive outlook on life but she was charming and funny and carefree despite her strange and unsettling circumstances. The prose is well done, it flows and yet it has the quaint charm of a hand written diary (which is what it is meant to be after all). The characters are believable and totally captivating, as a rather sheltered young lady I was completely intrigued by the cast of rock stars, transvestites and strippers who take on such a harmless and almost friendly vibe through the innocent eyes of Una.

I could continue to praise this book to infinity and beyond however I will just finish by saying, whether you are growing up or have already grown up this book has a unique and inspiring voice which will leave a mark on your memory... well, it did for me anyway!


Looking For Alaska
Looking For Alaska
by John Green
Edition: Paperback

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing, 14 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Looking For Alaska (Paperback)
A lot of people were raving about this book on the internet, however when I read it I was dissapointed. I found the main character most disagreeable, he came across as cold and very self righteous, he only seemed to want to be friends with people in his new school because they were good looking or "cool". Perhaps this is an accurate portrayal of the modern teenage boy, but I did not like it in the slightest. He reminded me of Holden Caulfield, but worse! It attempts to connect with teenagers but I found most of the characters and the situations they found themselves in very unbelievable, especially the haunting climax that happens right in the middle of the book. I felt the dramatic turn of events was a bit abrupt and I didn't have any time to settle into the story before I was blasted with the shocking pinnacle of the book. I recall it talks about philosophy a lot, but I found this attempt at depth very strenuous and shallow. What I will say for this book is that is very well written. Some of the descriptions are wonderful and made me smile, but it didn't make up for the poor plot and irritating characters. Also I would have liked to get to know Alaska a little more, she seemed an interesting character and given the title of the book I would have thought more would have been said about her nature and interests. The main character is infatuated by her so I would have expected more to have been said about her, but I was left dissapotinted and without having found Alaska at all... However this is just my opinion, I know a great deal of people loved this book and found it invigorating and very satisfying to read, but I however did not.

In conclusion, despite some very pretty prose and an interesting character in Alaska, I was left high and dry with this book. Not very interesting or deep at all even though it attempts to be so. The literary equivalent of that God awful TV series "Skins".


Delirium (Delirium Trilogy 1): 1/3
Delirium (Delirium Trilogy 1): 1/3
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book!, 14 Aug. 2012
Initially I was concerned about this book as it was compared to Twilight in one of the reviews, however it couldn't be more different as it is actually interesting and well written! Yes it has some cheesy romance, but the beauty of the descriptions and the well thought out characters make it feel much more believable. I have nothing negative to say about this book, the concept is interesting, and when mixed with the believable romance and the beautiful writing it makes for a wonderful and thought provoking read!

P.S. Even my dad enjoyed this one and he is a very critical man!


The Other Hand
The Other Hand
by Chris Cleave
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Little Bee was the books only redeeming feature, 14 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Other Hand (Paperback)
When I picked up this book on a rainy day in Waterstones I was absorbed by the first paragraph about "wishing to be an English pound coin." However after reading the first chapter I realised I had been wrong to judge this book so positively. Firstly I felt the blurb was misleading because it is absurdly vague and says something like "the beauty is in how this story unfolds" when I found it very predictable and boring. The blurb set me up for dissapointment. Secondly I hated Sarah's character. I can't quite put my finger on why, but she just seemed to be such a weak and not very well thought out person. And her son, please excuse me for criticising a child, was even worse and I really disliked him and found him urksome to say the least. Also I wished that Little Bee had stayed with Yevette or at least met up with her again at a later point in the story, it almost seemed like the other refugee girls were going to have a more pronounced role in the plot, but alas they did not which I thought was a real shame. I also felt the way Nigeria and its people were portrayed was very patronising, a product of middle class guilt for Colonialism, I'm sure that Nigeria is not as bad as it is portrayed in this book although I know dreadful things have happened there in recent times. Lastly I thought the ending was rushed, and confusing and pointless, it didn't tie up any loose ends and I was left wondering what actually happened once the book ended. Were Little Bee and Sarah okay and where did they end up? I really found it unsatisfactory, it seemed to build up to such a positive outcome but just ended up being confusing. The only good things I have to say about this book is that it is very well written, there are lovely descriptions and analogies to help you keep going throughout the dreadful plot and annoying characters. And also that Little Bee is a lovely character, although I have seen many say she is a stereo type of the "good black girl", I just thought she was sweet and it was her and her lovely narrative that kept me going through this book.

So, in conclusion, this book is dissapointing and is not what you will expect it to be from what you read of it on the back cover, but it's main character Little Bee and the way it is written make it slightly more tolerable. All in all it's nothing special.


Sun Dog
Sun Dog
by Monique Roffey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 16 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Sun Dog (Paperback)
I simply adored this book! The characters were engaging and likeable, despite their flaws,and the descriptions were so beautiful that at points I had to stop reading and just absorb the powerful imagery and feeling that came with the words. It's certainly a unique book that combines the mundanity of everyday life in London with a subtle fantasy. Trying to pull together a book about both normal life and magic or the superntural is often hard as it can become cheesy and immature but Monique Roffey, in my opinion, created a beautiful adult fiction about both to great effect. It's definitely worth buying!


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