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Scrapplings (Chronicles of Anamat) (Volume 1) - Amelia  Smith
  Darna after finding out something from a priestess, in her home city of Tiadun, and with the Prince and his men searching for her she sets off for the city of Anamat - where there are others who can see dragons. It isn't until she gets there, meeting Myril, Iola and Thorat along the way, that she learns the city seems to be as dragon-blind as the provinces they left. When Darna finds out how much an apprenticeship will cost, more than she will earn scavenging and begging, she realises she has to find other means. When she's offered a bag of gold to do a bit of thieving, she takes the opportunity and ends up angering the dragon Anara.

I'm not sure what I thought of this book. The concept seemed good but it wasn't until I started reading how quickly I realised I might not like this book as much as I had hoped. The writing seemed slightly disjointed and for most of the book it didn't seem to be going anywhere. It picked up but it had too many long moments that just seemed to be there just because.

I couldn't really connect with the characters. I just found most of them really irritating and the one I could put up with, Thorat, wasn't as involved in the story. Iola annoyed me with her aimlessly staring into space along with her naivety. Myril was a bit weird, it's hard to describe but if you read it you might understand. Darna made me at times want to put the book down. She was either as stubborn as a mule or a lost sheep willing to do as she's told. She never stuck to one or the other.

I found the fact that it was written in the third person and then every so often a random first person, not spoken, sentence was thrown in rather irritating. I wasn't hooked on this book at all and come the end forced myself to read just to finish it.

If it wasn't for the times it picked up slightly then for me this would have been a one star book.


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Captured Love - Juliana Haygert

Jessica Hayes after discovering her boyfriend, Ryan, had cheated on her and her father humiliated her in front of a load of people fled to Cleveland to live with her grandmother. After four years and the past still not completely behind her she has to return to Lexington as her father is dying. Once there she realises you can't run from your past, especially when there's love thrown into the mix.

This was an interesting read. Although it starts off pretty slow it picks up speed quickly leaving you not only wanting more but keen to find out what will happen next. There were some grammatical errors but they weren't very noticeable and were few and far between.

I loved the characters, especially Ryan and Jessica. I couldn't get enough of them and was rooting for them from the start. I love a feisty but sweet heroine and Jessica was definitely that - more so after a few tequilas. Ryan just sounded like a hunk. Their turbulent relationship the moment Jessica arrived back in town was rocky to say the least. Jessica avoided him so the past could remain hidden and he avoided her for his own reasons. It's not until he eventually tells her how the past four years has affected him that she realises she wasn't the only one hurting. Their love story was brilliant, sometimes cheesy, but brilliant. The supporting characters were great. The friends of both protagonists were supportive through and through.

The story once it really got started was one that kept you hooked and wanting to turn the page, even if it was just to find out that it got better for either protagonists. You were definitely left guessing - cheesy it might have been but it wasn't generic.

How Did All This Happen? - John Bishop

I have been a huge fan of John Bishop for quite a while now. When I first found out he was going to have an autobiography coming out I was excited, to say the least. The only disappointment I had was that it took me so long to get the book.

Throughout John Bishop's autobiography you get a real sense of understanding and appreciation for the man behind the jokes. It's not every day that you come across a celebrity who loves what they do without feeling the need to brag about it. I find John keeps it real. He takes you on a journey through his life and you begin to see that he's not like most celebs - he actually did things before he became famous. He talks about his family, his stumble into comedy, his bike ride across Australia and his Sport Relief challenge with passion and pride.

I did feel that he put maybe a bit too much thought and attention to his earlier life than his comedy career but I didn't for one moment find it dull.

I loved the moment when he cracked a joke about the ex-wife's, in the earlier days, only to then find her face in the audience staring back at him. I found myself, like I do when he's on the TV, laughing constantly.

The book is thoroughly enjoyable and definitely has a huge dose of John's humour in it.


Gabriella having met Troy at a New Year's Eve party whilst on vacation is stunned to see him at her new school. They plan on entering into the school's musical together but it seems that nobody, including their friends, can accept the change in the status quo. They both have to fight to be able to sing together at call backs when their friends and Sharpay and Ryan, The Drama Club kids, try their hardest to stop them singing.

This is the book of the first High School Musical film. It is almost identical to the film which you would expect.

Me and my niece both seemed to have enjoyed it but I did notice it had one of my pet hates in it - could instead of couldn't.

I found most of the characters were alright but some just got annoying. Sharpay was just constantly whining and Ryan was a brown-noser.

The pictures taken from the film were good, though.

Our Zoo: The real story of my life at Chester Zoo. - June Mottershead

This was a charming book about life at Chester Zoo from the very beginning, through World War II and slightly after. June Mottershead, daughter of the founder of the zoo, takes us on a short journey of her past - which there seemed to never have been a dull moment.

After having seen the BBC series I wanted to read the book. I can honestly say I'm glad I did.

This book was a light and easy read full of humour and sad moments in abundance. Although there was quite a few sad moments the mood was quickly changed by one of June's short anecdotes. The best one for me was when one of the bears went missing and it was found to have strolled into the house.

I found the book to have been a pleasurable and enjoyable read. It had almost a conversational tone to it, as opposed to talk at you or down to you. As it was a light read it was easy to get wrapped up into the story and just keep turning the pages.

The pictures throughout the book added that little extra touch to it. You got to see the people and the animals that June was talking about and it made you feel a bit closer to the story.

Double Act - Jacqueline Wilson

Twins Ruby and Garnet are annoyed to find out that not only do they have to move house, and leave their Gran, but that their dad has a new girlfriend - Rose! Ruby is determined to get rid of Rose and even encourages twin Garnet to join in her vendetta. Also with a determination to become famous Ruby follows a TV advert to be part of a TV serial. Garnet wanting to please her sister does everything she can. Can both girls do what they want with their life but still remain on good terms?

This wasn't that good a book. I know I'm not in the intended age group but even my niece, whom I read it too, didn't think it was that good either. The storyline of the story didn't seem to flow that well and overall it was duller than it was entertaining.

The characters didn't seem to have their own personality and eventually reading the book started to become more of a chore than something of enjoyment.

Ruby just grated on me her whole personality was irritating. Garnet was far too much of a push over and always eager to please - brown-noser comes to mind.

Overall this book was a bit of a disappointment. It just wasn't something I was expecting from a children's book.

Paradise Parade - Anne Baker

Emily Barr believes she has finally made a life for herself when she becomes engaged to Giles Wythenshaw, son of the owner of Wythenshaw's jewellery factory. Emily overlooks all of his flaws knowing that he will be the answer of getting out of her step-father's clutches and the fish and chip shop she despises. Giles has other plans and loves and knows he needs a scapegoat if he's ever to keep it all a secret. When all is revealed can Giles keep it all from his wife's ears? Will everything one day be forgiven? For Giles the silver spoon is soon to be snatched from his mouth and have him understand truly how the other half actually live.

This book was good, it was interesting and it read well. It had its moments of dullness but that's really to be expected. It was written quite well. Its just I felt some of the story could have been kept out - it didn't add much to the overall story.

The characters were easy to connect with. The Wythenshaw men really got on my wick. They were far to arrogant, egotistical and hypocritical. After a while I found this got quite old quickly. Emily was very, very naïve almost to the point of being childlike. She took everything for face value and believed all the bull that came out of Giles' mouth. I was glad when she finally found her backbone and told him how it is. Sylveen I had a love/hate relationship with. I loved how she knew what she wanted and her strength but then I wasn't too keen on her willing to lie to keep face and keep what she had.

The story kept me guessing but I wouldn't put it down as a page turner. It just didn't keep me that hooked on it. I found by the end I was forcing myself to read on so I could move on to another book.

The ending was nice and not something I was expecting. It was definitely worth persevering through the boring-ish parts.

Marina - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Óscar Drei is a fifteen year old boy at the local boarding school in Barcelona. One day he stumbles upon Marina when he goes to return a pocket watch he had previously, accidentally, stolen belonging to her father from their home. Their meeting takes them on an adventure that even they hadn't been expecting.

I loved this book from the moment I started reading it; it's very well written. It's a mix of sci-fi, romance, drama, thriller and mystery all resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable read and one that I shall not be forgetting any time soon. I love the cover, it's beautiful.

The book has an aura that makes you not know what is going to happen next and if I was to say I knew what was going to happen next then I'd be lying. The characters made this book something that I was not expecting - they brought it to life.

I was gripped from the start and it took me to boundaries emotionally no other book has, I didn't cry but I think I was close. It touched me because even weird people have feelings. The story is fast paced and full of action and once you've started you wonder where the time has gone to because this book definitely grips you by the gonads and forces you to want to continue reading and enjoy such a magnificent story.

Marina was by far the greatest character in the book. I loved everything about her, her wonderful charm, her loyalty, her fierce protection of those she loves dearly whilst remaining true to herself. She knew her fate but she refused to let the two people closest to her know, I don't think it was out of selfishness but out of love - something she had an abundance of.

I don't think I gave this book the review it thoroughly deserves but I gave it my best shot.

101 Tips for Parents of Children with Autism: Effective Solutions for Everyday Challenges - Theresa C.  Smith, Arnold Miller

101 Tips for Parents of Children with Autism: Effective Solutions for Everyday Challenges was an interesting book that went into great detail on how somebody can help an autistic child be able to associate with themselves, with people around them and their environment. It goes into great and thorough detail on the tips but it is still understandable. Scattered throughout are short stories, that are linked to the tip, from varied sources. Some of those stories were humorous whilst others were sad.

I liked the fact that little or no jargon was used so it's easy for anybody to understand. The ten chapters I found pretty much covered all bases and were to the point. All this leads to a straightforward book that anybody is sure to understand and get a better grasp on autism.

Having never met, or known, anybody with autism, as far as I know, I never understood the struggles that the person and the people they know went through. Of course I'd heard of autism but apart from the name that is as far as my understanding of the disability went. This book gave me a brief view and understanding of autism and of all the struggles, heartache and joy that go along with it.

The Story of Us - Dani Atkins

On the night of Emma's hen party an accident happens that is sure to not only turn her entire world upside down but change the course her future was set to take. On the night of the accident she is saved by none other than handsome American Jack, who becomes smitten with Emma. Does Emma have it in her to be able to forgive and move on without turning cold and bitter?

I wasn't digging this book too much. I found that the story was slow and dull up until the 120-160 page and up until that point couldn't bring myself to read it. After page 120-ish I became gripped by the story and just couldn't put the book down, it became almost a page turner.

I found most of the characters increasingly annoying. Richard was just so full of himself all of the time and that really irritated me. There were times when I thought Emma was going to be a great protagonist but then she'd make a complete U-turn and question herself and her decisions. She was too busy trying to make everybody else happy and then she'd think of her happiness and switch back. Jack was the only good character in the book. He was fantastic and that's all that needs to be said about him. He had charm, humour, looks, everything! Monique, on the other hand, was f*cking AWESOME!

I loved all the parts that involved Jack. I think he made the book better than it would have been had he not been in it. He made it interesting and I was constantly laughing at his humour. On the other hand I just wanted to punch Richard every time he was mentioned because he was just so arrogant and a slimeball.

I would have gave this book more than 3 stars but overall I just didn't find the story that great. I found for me it was just a bit flat too often throughout the book to justify a 4 or 5 star rating.

A Patch Of Blue - Sharon Mikeworth

Carrie Sinclair on witnessing her husband's infidelity decides she needs to get away. When she finds out she can't get on a cruise at short notice, Abby, her travel agent recommends Fiji. Carrie jumps at the opportunity just as long as she's away from her husband. A few days before she's due to return everything changes on the day she goes out to one of the surrounding islands, with a group to go snorkelling.

This was an interesting read. It was well-written apart from the few grammatical errors, kids instead of kind and can instead of came just being a couple of examples.

I don't know why but from the start I assumed this book had something to do with someone falling into a coma - I have no idea where that came from. This book has nothing in the slightest to do with comas. After Carrie's world changed I found the story became a bit too coincidental and far-fetched. I mean everything she wanted she found.

I loved Jesse. He was so damn adorable and very much the gentleman. I'm not sure what I make of Carrie. She was a great protagonist but I seriously wanted to punch her when she walked back to her husband. She had it going good and was prepared to live a lie. I'm glad she realised it all before it was too late. I did feel that as soon as she was back in Fiji, after being rescued, everything went a bit too fast in her life. Maybe that's how it goes after a traumatic experience.

I did get a bit confused at one point because she was on about having called Ally back at the hotel but I'm sure she called Abby! Oh well.

I was not expecting anything that this book threw at me. I liked that. It didn't seem to predictable. I thoroughly enjoyed Carrie's time on the island. It made me think of what I would have done had I been in that position and I don't think I'd have had her willpower. I wasn't jumping for joy to continue reading this book but once I picked it up and started I didn't want to put it down.

Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness and the Perfect Wave - Wilma Johnson

Wilma Johnson after spending a decade as an earth mother decides to up sticks with her family and move to the coast of France, where they don't speak the language. Determined to become a surf chick she starts to follow her motto of "out of the kitchen, and into the surf."

This was a brilliant read. Wilma's self-deprecating humour throughout this memoir is fantastic. There's just enough of it.

I love Wilma, I loved how she told her story from surf widow to surf mama. The best parts of the book is when she's out there on the surf, especially battling it out with the men - which seems to not be the done thing.

She doesn't hold back, she doesn't cover her flaws, she just lets it all out and that I find inspiring. She doesn't make out that the moment she hit the waves she was a professional surfer, her broken bones, bruises, aches and pains give fact to that.

It's made me want to grab a wetsuit, a surf board and learn how to surf.

The Princess Bride - William Goldman

Buttercup has fallen for the farm boy, Westley. He decides to travel to America to make his fortune until the fateful day the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never leaves survivors captures him. On hearing this Buttercup is heartbroken and vows to never love another. She makes her word to wed, without love, but is she in for a surprise?

I saw the film and loved it and thought I should give the book a go as well. Now, had it been the other way around I don't think I'd have given the film the time of day. The book is interesting but it doesn't leave you wanting more. It doesn't make you want to turn the page to find out what happens. There are times when it gets good but overall there's far too much long windedness in between those times.

I found the fact the William Goldman is pretending to be writing the abridged version of a novel by a man, S. Morgenstern, a man who never existed, never mind wrote the book, humorous. The fact that he added a fictional story, with the pretence of it actually happening, is interesting. I think it added some depth to the book as a whole. It's easy to believe it had happened, that as a kid he had pneumonia and his seemingly illiterate father read it to him. As it is an "abridged" version throughout he is constantly adding his narrative to explain what is missing from the "original." I found them to be enjoyable.

I loved Inigo Montoya. He has to be the greatest character in the book along with Fezzik. There were the two least annoying characters. Inigo was a powerful character - he had strength, he had skill, he just didn't have much knowledge and was constantly needing a leader to guide him. The same could be said for Fezzik. I suppose after a while it got a bit tiresome but nothing compared with Buttercup and Westley. They irritated the hell out of me. When they weren't being all lovey dovey they were constantly moaning about something.

I enjoyed reading about the fire swamp and the zoo of death. They were both well described and interesting concepts. For me there was far too much dialogue and not that much description.

I think this book was wasted on me. Read it, you might appreciate it more.

V for Vendetta - David Lloyd, Alan Moore

This is supposedly a great political graphic novel with V a great revolutionary character. The only thing I can say is true is that it is a political graphic novel. Overall it sucked. V was more into personal vengeance than anything else, the graphics were pretty poor and not the easiest to follow and the writing just seemed clunky and more used to force somebody's ideas down your throat.

If it's wrong to love you - H J Martinez

Rosario, Maria and Sara are three women from the same family. Rosario's husband is brutal and she does everything she can to protect the two things she loves most in the world - her children. For Maria things aren't going so well and she flees to start over, abandoning her life. She finds happiness and has a beautiful daughter. It's not until she has an accident and finds herself waking up from a coma and that her daughter, Sara, is in Spain with José, Maria's brother, that Maria is forced to confront her past.

I really enjoyed this book although I did find some parts marginally boring. The twists and turns in the story making it thoroughly enjoyable. The story leaves you thinking one thing is going to happen and then is changes. It definitely ends up leaves you guessing.

I loved Maria. She was kind, caring, loyal and strong, just not strong enough. I thought her and Antonio were great together. It's a shame things couldn't have been better. Sara, was another great character. She was so very much like her mother. I wasn't too interested in Isabel, I'm glad she wasn't too involved in the story and was a minor character. There was something about her that makes me think she'd have made the story dull. The part she had in the story was enough.

One thing I didn't understand though is near the beginning Sara was told things, eg. her grandfather had passed, but yet still asked several pages on what had happened to him. I'm not sure if she's looking for confirmation, or just continuing a conversation with someone, but it left me somewhat confused.

The characters felt real. You could sense their pain, their anger, their angst and heartbreak, even their happiness.

The ending was fantastic. I wasn't expecting it in the slightest but it makes sense. I'm glad that's what happened. I have to say the last 50 pages were definitely my favourite. I loved that after all the pain throughout the book all of the problems were solved, that the characters were no longer hurting because some had suffered terribly.