Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

No. of pages: 607
Rating: 10/10
Series: Harry Potter (Book 7)

Synopsis: Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.

Review: This was a fantastic ending to the series, I really enjoyed re-reading this book. Having only read it once before and disliking it then, I couldn't remember barely anything about what happened in this book, so it was almost like reading it for the first time. You finish Half-Blood Prince with a lot of answers and Rowling keeps you waiting in the finale, not letting you know the truth until near the end of the book, but keeps you going with lots of anguish and action. Finding Voldemorts Horcruxes is the basis for this book, and that's what majority of the book is about. I enjoyed the ending, with the surprises that it brought, although some bits made me sad. My one concern about this book, is being that it's plugged as a children's book, yet there's a sudden appearance of swear words, such as b*stard, and I'm not sure that's very appropriate.

This is a great series overall, and should be recommended to every young and old reader alike, because although it's said to be a children's series, people of all ages can appreciate and enjoy the series.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

No. of pages: 607
Rating: 10/10
Series: Harry Potter (Book 6)

Synopsis: Lord Voldemort is acting out in the open, continuing his reign of terror which was temporarily stopped almost 15 years ago. The press have been questioning the events at the Ministry which led to the admission of Voldemort’s return, and of course Harry’s name is mentioned a number of times. Harry’s got his problems, but his anxiety is nothing compared to Hermione’s when the OWL results are delivered. There’s a new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, an assortment of new characters and creatures, and startling revelations about past characters and events. Accepting his destiny, Harry continues to behave as teenagers do, enjoying his time with his friends, developing his relationships outside of his usual circle, and learning more about how he must, eventually, do what he is destined to do.

Review: This was a really enjoyable read and definitely one of the better books of the series. I could barely remember anything when I started re-reading this book, so it was almost like reading it for the first time again, and it was great! Shrouded in mystery from the very first page, it keeps you eager to read on. This book has moved on completely from the last book with regards to Harry's stroppy behaviour, and I was very glad of that. In this book Harry moves from anger to obsession, which is much more readable, and I could feel the dread growing throughout the book, knowing that the ending would be a big one. It was both shocking and terribly sad, and makes you much more aware of what you might be going into in the 7th and last book. This book has some very powerful scenes, and a lot more character development for some of the 'background' characters such as Ginny, Luna and Draco, making the series so much more compelling. Rowling uses this book to pave the way for the ending and she does it very well, leaving readers eager for the final volume.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

No. of pages: 766
Rating: 8/10
Series: Harry Potter (Book 5)

Synopsis: Over the summer, gossip has turned Harry's tragic and heroic encounter with Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament into an excuse to ridicule and discount the teenager. Even Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the school, has come under scrutiny from the Ministry of Magic, which refuses to officially acknowledge the terrifying truth: that Voldemort is back. Enter a particularly loathsome new character: the toad-like and simpering Dolores Umbridge, senior undersecretary to the minister of Magic, who takes over the vacant position of defence against dark arts teacher--and in no time manages to become the high inquisitor of Hogwarts. Life isn't getting any easier for Harry Potter. With an overwhelming course load as the fifth years prepare for their examinations, devastating changes in the Gryffindor Quidditch team line-up, vivid dreams about long hallways and closed doors, and increasing pain in his lightning-shaped scar, Harry's resilience is sorely tested.

Review: I think this has now become my least favourite of the series. It dragged on for what seemed forever, and it was only in the last 125 pages that the book became more engaging. I think Rowling could have cut out most of the long Umbridge passages and the book wouldn't have lost anything at all. I also disliked how Harry suddenly changed so much between the end of Goblet of Fire, and the beginning of this book, and I just found all the angry shouting quite annoying. I also hated the big twist at the end, and wish that hadn't happened. I did enjoy some things about this book though, like Fred and George, the battles and Dumbledore's revelation at the end of the book. I just can't help but think there was no need for this book to be so long, and I think that would be a negative for a lot of readers.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by J.K. Rowling

No. of pages: 636
Rating: 10/10
Series: Harry Potter (Book 4)

Synopsis: Once returned to Hogwarts after his summer holiday with the dreadful Dursleys and an extraordinary outing to the Quidditch World Cup, the 14-year-old Harry and his fellow pupils are enraptured by the promise of the Triwizard Tournament: an ancient, ritualistic tournament that brings Hogwarts together with two other schools of wizardry--Durmstrang and Beauxbatons--in heated competition. But when Harry's name is pulled from the Goblet of Fire, and he is chosen to champion Hogwarts in the tournament, the trouble really begins. Still reeling from the effects of a terrifying nightmare that has left him shaken, and with the lightning-shaped scar on his head throbbing with pain (a sure sign that the evil Voldemort, Harry's sworn enemy, is close), Harry becomes at once the most popular boy in school. Yet, despite his fame, he is totally unprepared for the furore that follows.

Review: Filled with action from the beginning, this is a fantastic book that will keep you gripped from the outset. The two main plot points of the story are the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, which are both darker than previous storylines. Rowling has also written this book in a more mature manner, which I think could be a bad thing for the younger readers, who may not understand some of the words. The length could also be a problem, as it's over double the size of Prisoner of Azkaban. But the story does keep flowing very well, and you're not always aware of the size of the book, and it certainly never drags enough for you to think of it. Mad-Eye Moody is a great addition and provides a lot of entertainment during the story. You're very aware during this book that Harry, Ron and Hermione are growing up and leaning towards adulthood, although there is still the magical atmosphere that is present in the first three books. This is most definitely the best book in the series so far, each book keeps getting better and continues to draws you more and more into the world of magic and Hogwarts.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

No. of pages: 317
Rating: 9/10
Series: Harry Potter (Book 3)

Synopsis: The escape of Sirius Black--one time friend of Harry's parents, implicated in their murder and follower of "You- Know-Who"--from Azkaban, has serious implications for Harry for it would appear that Black is bent on revenge against Harry for thwarting "You-Know-Who". Back at Hogwarts, Harry's movements are restricted by the presence of the Dementors--guards from Azkaban on the look out for Black--however, this doesn't stop him throwing himself into the new Quidditch season and going about his normal business--or at least attempting to. Despite warnings Harry is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Sirius Black--how could this one-time close friend of his parents become the cause of their deaths?

Review: This is the third book in the series, and starts to pick up in pace and bring in events that lead into the future books. The style of writing is very easy to get into whether you're a child or an adult, and that's why this series has such wide spread appeal, to people of all ages and nationalities. I loved how this book didn't have Voldemort as the main "bad guy", but was still gripping and dark. Rowling does a great job of describing the Dementors, and how they affect people, in particularly Harry, and you can clearly imagine how awful it would be to be locked up in Azkaban with them surrounding you. Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark-Arts teacher, is introduced in this book and it's enjoyable to read about him and his lessons, the boggart one in particular. And of course, we can't forget the escaped convict Sirius Black, who is out to kill Harry for thwarting Voldemort as a child. The Sirius Black storyline is my favourite so far in the series, it keeps you guessing all through the book, and then surprises you at the end.

I've given this a 4.5/5 as it's a fantastic book and the series is definitely getting better, but it hasn't peaked yet, there's still so much more to look forward to and enjoy reading in this series. I would definitely recommend this, to both adults and children who will enjoy the antics of Harry, Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts. It's something fun and easy to read, but is still incredibly enjoyable!

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

No. of pages: 251
Rating: 8/10
Series: Harry Potter (Book 2)

Synopsis: Harry is returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after the summer holidays and, right from the start, things are not straightforward. Unable to board the Hogwarts express, Harry and his friends break all the rules and make their way to the school in a magical flying car. From this point on, incredible events happen to Harry and his friends--Harry hears evil voices and someone, or something is attacking the pupils. Can Harry get to the bottom of the mystery before it's too late?

Review: This has always been my least favourite book of the series, so I was surprised when I read it through this time and actually liked it a lot more than I have previously. This book is much more eventful than The Philosopher's Stone, so it draws you in much faster. The chamber of secrets makes a good plot line, and the book flows well, and finishes with a gripping conclusion.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

No. of pages: 223
Rating: 8/10
Series: Harry Potter (Book 1)

Synopsis: Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand and jellybeans that come in every flavour, including strawberry, curry, grass and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself! In the non-magical human world--the world of "Muggles"--Harry is a nobody, treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who begrudgingly inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort. But in the world of wizards, small, skinny Harry is renowned as a survivor of the wizard who tried to kill him. He is left only with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, curiously refined sensibilities and a host of mysterious powers to remind him that he's quite, yes, altogether different from his aunt, uncle, and spoilt, pig-like cousin Dudley.

Review: As this is a re-read, I've only given this book a 4/5 because I know there are others in the series I prefer, but this is still a fab beginning to a great series. I forgot just how short this book is, and so the action ending is wrapped up pretty quick, using most of the book to introduce Harry to the world of magic and Hogwarts. It was enjoyable to start over and get to know all the characters again, although Dumbledore still remains my favourite. I think it's been about 8 or 9 years since I first picked this book up, and I do still love the series as much as I did in my teens, so now I'm eager to move on to the rest of the books in the series.

Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty

No. of pages: 152
Rating: 1/10

Synopsis: It was only once, but she's pregnant. When Helen discovers she is expecting a baby, she cuts off her relationshop with Chris, the boyfriend she loves very much. She's confused and tormented, and so is he. Separately, the two high school seniors must come to terms with their childs future-- and their own.

Review: I found this so utterly boring, to the point I wanted to give up on it, but persevered purely because it was such a short book. The premise of the story is good, but I found it poorly written and it just dragged so much. An author I wont be bothering with again!

Men Of The Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

No. of pages: 369
Rating: 10/10
Series: Women Of The Otherworld (Short Stories)

Synopsis: I don't remember the first time I changed into a wolf. One night I passed out, and awoke to find my body covered in yellow fur. My brain was beyond reacting. It took this in its stride, as it had everything else in my new life. I got to my feet and went in search of food. As a curious and independent six-year-old, Clayton didn't resist the bite, he asked for it. But as a lone child werewolf his life is under constant threat. So when enigmatic Pack member Jeremy Danvers saves him, Clayton is determined to protect his adoptive father, no matter what the cost. So begins this gripping collection of four tales chronicling the bloody feuds of the American Pack, and the coming of age of Clay Danvers, a very powerful, and very singular werewolf.

Review: This is a book pretty much completely about Jeremy and Clay, and it's fantastic. I love Kelley Armstrong's series, and had no doubts that this would be a good book, but it was better than even I imagined. Jeremy and Clay are great characters, and this really helps in building them up in your head, and you begin to understand why they act the way they do. I know most of these are posted on Kelley's website, but not only is it lovely to read them in book form, it has a new story, shedding light on Jeremy's mother, which has never been revealed before. This is a definate for fans of the series, and I can't wait for the next installment next year!

The Treatment by Mo Hayder

No. of pages: 397
Rating: 6/10

Synopsis: Midsummer, and in an unassuming house on a quiet residential street on the edge of Brockwell Park in south London, a husband and wife are discovered, imprisoned in their own home. Badly dehydrated, they've been bound and beaten, and the husband is close to death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing. When DI Jack Caffery of the Met's AMIT squad is called in to investigate, the similarities to events in his own past make it impossible for him to view this new crime with the necessary detachment. And as Jack digs deeper, as he attempts to hold his own life together in the face of ever more disturbing revelations about both the past and the present, the real nightmare begins...Horrifying, unforgettable, intense, The Treatment is a novel that touches the raw nerve of our darkest imaginings.

Review: I didn't realise when I started reading this, that there's another book that proceeds this one, and it's referred too quite a lot during this book, so you'd really need to read Birdman first. As for this book, it's very dark, I found it hard going to keep reading about something so depraved, but I perservered, and then felt frustrated at the ending. The storyline is not to my taste really as the whole book revolves around a pedophile ring that like young boys, but I didn't realise that before I started reading. I found it a bit too graphic, and felt that more language was used than really necessary. But the mystery part of the book is woven well, and I was surprised at some of the revelations near the end.

Hannah's Gift: Lessons From A Life Fully Lived by Maria Housden

No. of pages: 222
Rating: 10/10

Synopsis: During the last year of her short life, Maria Housden's three year old daughter Hannah was fearless in the way she faced death - and irrepressibly joyful in the way she approached living. The little girl who wore her favourite red shoes into the operating theatre changed the life of everyone who came in contact with her. In a lyrically told narrative, both moving and unforgettable, Housden recounts Hannah's battle with cancer and from her story emerge five profound lessons - truth, joy, faith, compassion and wonder - that have the power to change our lives.

Review: There's nothing more I can say about this other than it's devestating and heartbreaking. Imagine having to watch your three year old daughter slowly fading away, and knowing you can do nothing to save her, and that's what this book is about. It's not a fluid story, but rather, snatches of moments and memories that particularly stand out in Maria Housden's mind, from the day she found out Hannah had leukemia, through Hannah's last year of life, and out the other side of her death, and how the family coped with her passing. It will make you cry, it will touch you and it will make you appreciate what you have. There was a lot about God and religion in this book, which I don't personally share the views of, but I could appreciate how it helped the family, and even Hannah, through what is an unimaginable situation. This is definitely a book I would recommend, but be aware that it is pretty much completely about death, if that's a bit of a sensitive subject for you at the moment.

No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

No. of pages: 437
Rating: 6/10

Synopsis: The house was deathly quiet. That was the first sign that something was terribly wrong. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke that morning to find herself alone. Her family—mother, father, and brother—had vanished without a word, without a note, without a trace. Twenty-five years later, Cynthia is still looking for answers. Now she is about to learn the devastating truth.

Review: I feel quite torn about this book, the plot in itself was a great idea, but as much as I wanted to like it, I felt that the first half of the book dragged. The ending was great, action packed and thrilling like promised, a tad predictable in parts, but there were a few things that I didn't see coming that were played out very well. As for characters, my favourite was Terry, I thought he was well developed and he wasn't perfect, which makes him all the more believable. The reason I've given this a 3/5 is because I think the book is just okay, and not great or amazing. I think it's worth a read, but it's one of those books that once read, it's never picked up again, at least for me.

Highlight for spoilers: I rather like Vince Fleming's character, who turned out to be one of the good guys, even though he's a criminal normally and was insinuated to be the killer. I felt Enid was the typical bad guy, evil with no explanation or reason to be, and that felt way to easy. The biggest shock to me was Rolly though! Never saw that one coming at all, and to think I liked him and thought he was one of the good guys.
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