BLURB: “It has been a year since Gemma Doyle first arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy, and much has changed.Having bound the wild, dark magic of the realms to her, Gemma has formed unlikely and unsuspected friendships with Ann and Felicity, and Kartik, the exotic young man whose companionship is forbidden. She has also come to an uneasy, tenuous truce with the fearsome creatures of the realms. But now, the time has come to test the strength of these bonds. As her friendship with Felicity and Ann faces its gravest trial, and with the Order grappling for control of the realms, Gemma is compelled to decide once and for all which path she is meant to take. Her destiny threatens to set chaos loose, not only in the realms, but also upon the rigid Victorian society whose rules Gemma has both defied and followed. Where does Gemma really belong? And will she, can she, survive?”
REVIEW: I have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this trilogy, and found the final installment just as gripping and tense as I did the first time around; even though I knew what was going to happen I still found that I couldn’t put the book down and found myself sobbing at the end just as I did the first time. In this book, the magic is loose in the realms and despite Gemma’s alliances with many of the creatures, there is civil war within, particularly between the forest folk and the untouchables. Gemma is also preoccupied by visions of a woman named Wilhemina Wyatt, who seems to be trying to tell Gemma something important about the Order from beyond the grave. This book has an extremely lengthy and complex plotline, full of magic, desire, betrayal and friendship, and I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling the ending for first-time readers. All I will say it that after reading it a second time I have confirmed for myself that this series is one of my favourite of all time, and I would highly recommend it – though be warned, the story is often dark and the ending will break your heart!
BLURB: “Lou Clark knows a lot of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is that she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time”
REVIEW: Both my Mum and a very close friend of mine first read this book when it came out, and have been encouraging me to read it for years, but I always had too many books of my own to read! When the trailer was released for the newly released film adaptation, however, I decided I simply had to read the book before watching the film (I hate doing it the other way around and always avoid it if I can). I am so glad I finally decided to read this amazing, heartbreaking book. I simply couldn’t put it down and finished it in less than 24 hours. The book tells the story of Lou, a slightly eccentric and bubbly young woman who still lives at home, despite having been with her gym-bunny boyfriend for six years, and has constantly felt overshadowed by her cleverer sister Treena, who also has a little boy called Thomas. When Lou loses her job at the local cafe she is devastated, particularly as her family depends on her for much of her income, and hurries to find a new job to tide them over. Much to her surprise, she is appointed to help care for a quadroplegic man at his home, a job she feels she is nowhere near qualified for, and one she certainly doesn’t enjoy at first; Will, the young man in question, is both rude and disdainful of even Lou’s smallest attempts to cheer him and care for him, but the money means she has to stick with it. When Lou finds out about Will’s plans to kill himself, however, in a special care facility abroad, she finds herself determined to stop him and throws herself into planning new activities and events that she and him, along with his medical carer Nathan, can undertake together, in order to give him a new lease of life and hopefully dissuade him from ending his life. This sudden determination to help will leads Lou to become estranged from her boyfriend Patrick, despite them recently moving in together, and this becomes ever more apparent as Lou begins to realise that she has developed feelings for Will. The ending of the book is both heartbreaking and, in a sense, bittersweet, and I will not reveal the ending here. Safe to say I would recommend this book very, very highly, and can’t wait for both the sequel and to see the new film.
BLURB: “First published by Macmillan in 1894, The Jungle Book is the classic collection of animal tales that shows Rudyard Kipling’s writing for children at its best. The short stories and poems include the tale of Mowgli, a boy raised by a pack of wolves in the Indian jungle. We meet the tiger Shere Khan, Bagheera, the black panther, Baloo, the ‘sleepy brown bear’, and the python, Kaa. Other famous stories include the tale of the fearless mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and that of elephant-handler Toomai of the Elephants.”
REVIEW: What little I knew of ‘The Jungle Book’, prior to reading the lovely copy I picked out on a birthday bookshop trip back in February, was – unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me – was gained from watching the Disney version many, many, MANY times. What I didn’t realise, however, was that the original text of ‘The Jungle Book’ does not just consist of the familiar – and very enjoyable – story of the man-cub Mowgli; it also contains a number of other short stories based in the Jungle, including the story of the mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, which was probably the one I enjoyed the most after the traditional Jungle Book tale. For the purposes of this review, I will focus on ‘The Jungle Book’ story itself, as this is the one we are all the most familiar with. Although all of our favourite characters remain; the brave Mowgli, bold Bagheera, bumbling Baloo, sinister Kaa and the terrifying Shea Khan; many aspects of the story are changed and become, in fact, far more disturbing. The meeting with the monkeys – King Louis in particular – one of the most famous parts of the Disney film, does not in fact happen, or if it does it was done so briefly that I missed it entirely. The orginal tale by Kipling is also much more gruesome, and for example we see Mowgli skinning Shea Khan and holding up the removed fur to boast of his killing of the tiger. The other stories I did not find particularly memorable, and I did not even enjoy the original Jungle Book story as much as I thought I would. I do think, however, that my love of Disney may have blinkered my interpretation of the book, and therefore I would still urge you all to read it, as I know it is regarded as a much-loved children’s classic.