Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

harry potter1

I found the idea of this series of books wonderful. When they were released there were not a lot of children’s books that were set in the world of magic. I think for me the greatest thing about this book is, it teaches children and adults alike that, you can achieve anything you wish even when you think that it is impossible. I also think the theme of friendship is important, people can be friends whether you agree with everything about them or not, Hermione is a great example of that throughout the book, she is more of a straight-laced student but she befriends Ron and Harry. She tells them it is to keep them out of trouble, but I believe deep down she is actually happy that she has found people that like a bit of adventure, it is something new to her.

One aspect of the story that there has been a lot of discussion about is, why Harry was left with the Dursley’s after the death of his parents. Although it is clear that Harry is not treated very well at all, I think this was the best place for Harry to grow up. Although he cannot understand why they do not like him because of his magical ability, they teach Harry a very valuable lesson…kindness, when he comes across all different kinds of people at Hogwarts, he is more prone to showing kindness to them after the way he has been treated by the Dursley’s. They also have taught him how to stand up for himself when he is taunted by Draco Malfoy.

Rowling has the ability to create a world that every reader of these books wishes to enter and never leave. With owls that deliver the mail, a magical school where anything is possible and lets not forget the moving pictures, Hogwarts is a place that will live in the hearts of fans for years to come.

All and all a great start to what looks like a fantastic series. If you are a fan of all things magical and have not delved into the world of Harry Potter yet, I would highly recommend you give this series a chance.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

PandP

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well known and treasured love stories in the world today, and with very good reason. Jane Austen had a talent for making her characters very real, with lots of faults. From Elizabeth to Mr Collins, there are characters galore for the reader to fall in love with and despise. She also understood how to use humour in a way that makes the reader laugh at something even though they know they probably shouldn’t. It is a book that totally polarises the reader, you either love it or you hate it. I personally believe that a lot of readers do not understand the complexities of the time. I have read some reviews of the book which stated that they could not understand why Mrs Bennet was so obsessed with her daughters finding husbands. We live in totally different times to the characters in the book. If you were a gentleman’s daughter you were expected to marry and to marry well. It is that simple, there was very little freedom in that and if you happen to find someone you love, then you were very lucky indeed.

If you are new to Austen’s works and do not quite grasp what all the fuss is about, a bit of research on the time period the books are set in, looking up the manners and etiquette of the time period, might help to understand how all the relationships in the book work. It is a great study of human nature, its success, its failures, and its prejudices.

Highly recommended.

Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange

wickham's diary

The bad boy of Pride and Prejudice finally tells his side of this most famous of tales and what a side he has to tell. Brought up by a mother who has only his best interests at heart, but those interests are to get her son in a position in life that she missed out on. One that would see him married to a rich wife and have a high standing in society. Despite his mother’s plan Wickham, has other ideas.

Wickham wishes to have all the things in life that his childhood friend Fitzwilliam Darcy has had the privilege of enjoying but instead of working hard and take on the employment that was granted to him by Darcy’s father, Wickham moves through life living off the generosity of others until their generosity runs out, then, he moves onto his next pursuit. He is the worst kind of scoundrel, one that tries to gain the pity of others through lies and deceit.

Amanda Grange takes us on another interesting inside look at the characters of Pride and Prejudice. Once again captures the very heart and soul of those characters that have become like a family to those that love Jane and her books. The writing is flawless, flows wonderfully and is very Austen in its delivery. Grange writes such a convincing tale of Wickham that you could be forgiven for thinking this book was a prequel to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen herself.

Mr. Darcy’s Diary (Jane Austen Heroes #1) by Amanda Grange

mr darcy's diary

If there was ever a “he said” book that you should read then this is it. Fans of Jane Austen’s timeless classic will fall in love with Darcy all over again when they read the inner most thoughts of a man whom the world sees as proud and self righteous.

Amanda Grange stays as close to Pride and Prejudice as possible in her re-telling of the timeless classic. There are enough similarities that I believe even Jane Austen herself would happily add this book to her collection. I have read quite a few reviews that state this is nothing like the original and I think they have missed the whole point of the book. It is not meant to be like the original or is it trying to be. What this book gives us is an insight into Mr Darcy, a deeper look at a man that has captured the hearts and minds of millions worldwide. I have had this book in my collection for quite a few years. I kept putting off reading it as I did not want to be disappointed if it fell short of the image of what kind of man I believe Mr Darcy to be. It did not disappoint, in fact, it excelled all expectations.

Although the book is written in diary form, you can easily connect to the characters. It is a delight to read exactly what Mr Darcy thinks of all of the people in his acquaintance. From the carefree and friendly manner of Mr Bingley, to the ridiculous and improper Bennet family. There is nothing about this book that I can fault and I hope that fans of Jane Austen will find as much pleasure in reading it as I have found.

Highly recommended reading.

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

anna dressed in blood

Cas, like his father before him, is a ghost hunter, with the Athame that was handed down to him after the death of his father, Cas goes around the globe hunting the dead to send to their rightful place and secretly seeking revenge for his father’s untimely death. When he moves into another town, to kill yet another ghost, something happens to Cas. Anna happens to Cas. He finds himself drawn to the ghost that has torn hundreds of victims limb from limb, but to Cas she is different. Will Cas find a way to save the girl dressed in blood or will her fate be like all the others that have come before her?

I absolutely loved this book. It is clearly marketed towards the teenage and young adult audience, but it has everything that any age group can enjoy. I am a bit of a sucker for ghost stories and I have to say this did not disappoint.

I have read comments that say it was not scary enough, or was really disappointing, but if you look at it in terms of being on R.L.Stine’s level of creepiness then I am sure that you will love reading it. The story flows really well, with enough action to keep you wanting to find out what happens next. The characters are all really well written with a depth that makes you want to invest your time in reading about them. The character that the book is written around “Anna” is both scary and worthy of the reader’s sympathy when it is revealed how she died. The secondary characters are just as masterfully written and bring further depth to the main characters. The ending will have you screaming NO!, at the book and have you going to your local book store or library in search of the sequel. I really do not have a bad word to write about this book at all.

Highly recommended if you love creepy tales, with a bit of gore and if you are a fan of YA and R.L Stine.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gone girl

I have to be honest for the first time since I started reviewing books, I do not know how to write a review, so I will just write what I feel about the book, if you like it, then thank you in advance.

I am so conflicted with the way I feel about the characters in Gone Girl. I love them and I love the story, I think the plot is extremely clever, the writing witty. I decided to read it after seeing the movie, which for me personally does not do the book justice, but is a great movie.

The thing that I keep coming back to is, do these characters deserve each other, or would they be better off being apart? Amy is a character that I love, she is so beautifully written in her all complexities. I can understand why she is like she is, with parents who tell her she was named Amy because, all the other babies before her were named Faith, but by the time she was born they had lost faith. That in itself would scar any child, but then to use her as a product to push the children’s books called Amazing Amy, it is easy to see why she is the way that she is.

When I read a book I try to put myself in the position of at least one of the characters and when I was looking at the world through Amy’s eyes, I can see why she exhibited the behaviour she does. I think what I like about Amy, is how clever and dedicated she is, when she sets her mind to something she sees it through to the end. Only a really dedicated person could do what she does with all the planning involved. She takes the reader where it is uncomfortable to go, into the mind of someone who wants revenge, whether it is deserved or not. Characters that take the reader out of their comfort zone have always appealed to me and Amy has all that and more.

Her husband Nick is another story completely. I wanted to like him, but I just couldn’t. He seems to be like a plane stuck in a holding pattern, he wants to land but he seems unable to. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone but he doesn’t want to be where he is. As Amy’s past becomes known to him, I held out hope that he would be able to claw back his dignity and put her in her place. Unfortunately, he seems powerless against her and in the end is starting to become like her. Here is where the dilemma with the book starts with me, do they deserve each other or not? He says in the book that what would he be without Amy, would any other woman be able to take her place in his mind or would he always want to come back to her.

What ever your take on Gone Girl is, whether you embraced these weird and sadistic characters, or held them at arms length, one thing is for sure, I will most likely still be pondering what they mean to each other for years to come.

Tin by K.S. Thomas

Tin

E-book was gifted by the author for review.

When I started this book I had no idea what a roller coaster of a ride I was about to embark on. Tin is the story of two broken people, Quinn and Riker, they are broken both emotionally and physically by their pasts. By accident, they find each other and before long they realise that even the most broken of souls can be mended again.

I finished this book a week ago, but I had to let the emotions that it brought up with me to settle before writing this review. Quinn is a young woman who has suffered physical and mental abuse at the hand of her ex (whom is now dead, will not give any more detail than that as it will spoil the story for the people that have not read it as of yet). Riker is a man who has suffered from the death of family members and a marriage that never should have been. I connected with them on so many levels, especially Quinn, understanding domestic violence on a personal level made this book very hard to read at times but I believe I am a better person for it. The characters have such depth that it could be you or me or even the person that you pass in the street that they are based on.

I have read a few books by K S Thomas, personally I would have to say that this is her best work thus far. Her style of writing is very in your face, she does not sugar coat the issues that she writes about, instead she tells it how it really is but, with such love and care that you can not help feel strong emotions for the characters. One of the things that I think this book does, is, educate people about domestic violence and helps the reader understand people who go through it that much better. People often say when it comes to domestic violence, ‘why does the person who is being abused stay with them?’ It is a complex question, but I believe that if you read this book you will start to understand the answer.

Highly recommended.

Warning: Strong Language and Sex Scenes. 18+