Review | Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Format: Paperback, 332 pages
Published: June 26th 1997
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780747573609
Rating: still unsure
I don’t know why I am having such a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. I think it might be because I built it up so much that it was impossible to live up to what I was hoping it would be. I know that I am going to be torn apart for this review but I have vowed to be honest!
Here are a few feelings that I have:
Good:
-I love the world building. You can really picture the scenes and the world.
-The characters – quirky, fun and memorable
-My version is very British – I was told that some of the newer editions have been edited with more American vocab/word choices but I am enjoying the original.
Bad:
– I can’t help but feel as though I’ve seen this all before. I’m being reminded of books and movies that I have seen that are similar to this in plot line, characters and even in the world descriptions. I realize that this book came out 19 years ago and my opinion here may have been different if I would have read it when it was first released.
– The majority of the book IS world building. I luckily found it interesting but I know that a lot of readers get too impatient for world building that takes 200+ pages. It takes a very long time for anything truly eventful to occur, unless you count Harry going to Hogwarts as eventful but I don’t count that as a big plot event.
– Other than his life with the Dursleys he is handed everything on a silver platter. He didn’t have to work to get into Hogwarts, he is famous for something he doesn’t know he did, he doesn’t get punished for breaking any rules, he is instantly rich and without Hermoine I think he would have failed epically.
– Editing! This is always one of my biggest pet peeves. Some of the sentences are really awkward. Some of the characters that are randomly thrown in there seem so pointless (I’m hoping they make more sense later on in the series), and again, take out some of the world building. Do I really need 4 pages about candy and chocolate frogs?
I believe this book should be called Hermoine Granger and the Philosopher’s Stone. She came from a muggle family, has to work hard and study to succeed, has to face stereotypes and struggles because of her family history (or lack of). If not Hermoine than give credit to the group of them.
Overall, I did enjoy it and because of this challenge I will continue to read the series. My husband keeps saying “You’ll like the second book better because it was MY favourite”, So I am going to trust his judgment and cross my fingers. I have decided that we are going out for Halloween as Harry Potter and his parents. My little dude can be Harry as a baby 🙂
I am open to hearing your defences to my negative Nellyness. I’ve been in a bad mood lately so maybe I am judging too harshly. Let me know what you think!

Wishlist Wednesday | Stitch Head – The Beast of Grubbers Nubbin by Guy Bass

The Beast of Grubbers Nubbin

He’s back! Join Stitch Head, a mad professor’s forgotten creation, as he steps out of the shadows into the adventure of an almost-lifetime…The orphans at Castle Grotteskew are running riot …and getting hungry. With no food in the castle, Stitch Head and Arabella head down to Grubbers Nubbin to see what they can pilfer, but there they encounter a terrifying, savage beast. Could one of Professor Erasmus’s creations be on the loose…?

I must have been asleep for the whole first week of June because I seem to have missed the release of this fabulous piece of work! Although this is a Wishlist Wednesday, I’m not going to lie to you all. I ordered it already and should have it in two weeks. I cannot wait to read this book and am a little disappointed in myself for not ordering it sooner.

If you would like to check out the rest of the series I will link my reviews below. 

Stitch Head #1

Stitch Head #2 Pirate’s Eye

Stitch Head #3 Ghost of Grotteskew

Stitch Head #4 Spider’s Lair

If you would like to order a copy of The Beast of Grubbers Nubbin (click here). I have attached the link to Book Depository, it is on sale AND has free worldwide shipping! Check out the rest of the series while you are there, you won’t be disappointed.

For more reviews see The Picky Pages Project!

Review | The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

The Butterfly Lion

Format: Paperback, 112 pages
Published: Jan 1st 1996
Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age
ISBN: 9780006751038
Age Range: 11+
Rating: 4/5
After Bertie rescues an orphaned lion cub from the African veld, they are inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school far away in England and the lion is sold to a circus. Bertie swears that one day they will see one another again, but it is the butterfly lion that ensures that their friendship will never be forgotten.
I can’t give you much more of a summary than this without giving away key pieces to the story, so for this book I won’t. I saw myself thinking back to “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, except it was different.
My biggest warning here is that you must be emotionally prepared to read this novel. Your heart becomes so invested in the relationship between Bertie and the lion cub that every second you think the relationship is in jeopardy your heart stops beating and your eyes begin to fill with tears. Great for anyone, at any age.
Morpurgo has an amazing way to tell a story that makes you feel like you are apart of it. This is my favourite story by him thus far, and although I haven’t read that many, it will be tough to beat.
This is a wonderful story of love, loss and succeeding despite the odds.  I often recommend this book to people looking for a gift for an animal lover or anyone who wants to read a heartfelt tale. A great read aloud for classroom teachers, but make sure you pre-plan out your chapters, there are a few intense places that could keep your students awake at night waiting to find out what happens.

Review | School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)

Format: Hardcover, 488 Pages
Published: May 14th 2013
Genre: Adventure, Fairy-tale, Magic
ISBN: 9780062104892
Age Range: 10+
Rating: 4/5

he first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

I was happily surprised by this book. My concerns were that the good vs evil was going to be over done or not original enough to keep my attention but Chainani did a great job of keeping it original.

Agatha is not the most attractive girl you would meet. She loves wearing dark clothes and is often hiding in the shadows. She doesn’t like to socialize and when she does it normally doesn’t work out so well.

Sophie is pretty and spoiled. She has everything she could possibly want and more. Girls want to be her and boys want to be with her. Like Agatha though, she doesn’t have a lot of friends.

When the two girls are together they know that they don’t really have a lot in common but having anyone is better than having no one. However, when they get stolen to go to the school for good and evil they are surrounded by people and neither of them really know what to do. Naturally, you would assume that Agatha would be going to the school for Evil and Sophie to the school for Good but we all were wrong. Or was it the chancellor who was wrong?

Sophie and Agatha fight to convince people that they need to switch places but will anyone ever believe them?

A story full of twists and turns, a little more history on some of our favourite fairy-tale characters. I was wrapped in this story and wanted wholeheartedly for Sophie and Agatha to find their rightful places within the school.

Jumpstart | Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1)

I can’t say enough good things about this book. It makes me laugh every single time I read it. If you can handle british slang (although the more recent versions have been a little more ‘Americanized’), like to laugh, and are a teen girl – THIS BOOK IS PERFECT FOR YOU.

There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

Georgia just wants people to like her, but being a teen girl can be awkward. As she sits in that middle ground between girl and woman she sheds some light (and humour) on some of the situations that can make girls blush. You get to join Georgia as she explores things like shaving, wearing a bra, her first thong and even kissing.

She spends her days trying to plan out ways to impress people, it never seem to work out the way she has intended. Adding these embarrassing moments will often make readers snort and chuckle out loud so be warned. This book is not to be read during silent reading or out in public.

Written in a diary form you really get a first hand perspective on the troubles of womanhood. It is a quick and easy read, the kind I would have done in a day or two at most. This series wasn’t released until I was in high school, so I didn’t get to enjoy the awkwardness along with Georgia but I did enjoy comparing my experiences with hers. I read this series right up until I was in University (I believe I read up to book 7) so I still have a few left to finish. I can’t wait to start reading this series again, and I might actually start it from the beginning.

Like what you’ve read? Order it now with free shipping!

Jumpstart | Winnie The Pooh – A. A. Milne

Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1)

This story, and author need no introduction. I actually don’t have much to say about them because almost everyone I know has a family story about Winnie The Pooh.  I am going to tell you mine though, and I hope you will all do the same, either in the comments or email it to me at aurora.buzzonbooks@gmail.com

For as long as I can remember I have loved Winnie the Pooh, or Pooh, as I call him. I have countless stuffies of him, hats, t-shirts, you name it. Even to this day when I see something that has Pooh on it there is a twinge inside me that wants to buy it. It is hard because I can’t remember how it started, or why it started and I am the kind of person that needs to know how things began.

I have read every Pooh story I have been able to find, and can tell you that the classics have always been my favourites. They are genuine stories about a boy and his friends, the more recent stories are much more “Disney” and although I enjoy Disney, you don’t feel the same amount of heart in them.

I was always a little jealous of Christopher Robin, he had endless adventures and friends who cared for him unconditionally. Plus, he had a real life on top of the secret world of the Hundred Acre Wood. Each character was so different, so unique and would make for a very easy child lit analysis.

Winnie the Pooh was so flighty and forgetful that you couldn’t help but love and take care of him.

I always wanted to give Eeyore the biggest hug and duct tape that tail of his so that he would stop losing it.

Piglet was small like me, we share the same life struggles, I can’t reach the cupboards either. He is the quiet and shy one though, often keeping his ideas and opinions to himself.

Tigger was the highly energetic one, always getting into trouble and making people bail him out.

Rabbit was the old grumpy man of the group, always miserable and doubtful.

And we can’t forget the wise Owl. Always giving advise and helping everyone find solutions to their problems.

As you can tell, I related most to Piglet, but I always had love for Pooh and T- I – Double G – ER, probably very telling about my other dominant characteristics, energetic and flighty!

What does Winnie The Pooh mean to you?

Like what you’ve read? Buy it now!

Jumpstart | Witch Child – Celia Rees

Witch Child (Witch Child, #1)

The fact that I have read this will likely surprise everyone. It is far from my regular book choices. I am not a fan of historical fiction at all but I loved this story because it is written as a diary. The diary form gives you a different perspective, it makes you feel as though you are a part of the story. It is like you are listening to your best friend tell you the happenings of the day.

Mary is a the granddaughter of a witch and Mary sadly witnesses her grandmother’s hanging. It is 1659 and the world is afraid of the unusual, innocent people were persecuted for allegations and assumptions.

The story is light and there are no real action scenes, but I was so compelled to keep reading. I needed to hear Mary’s story and mostly, I feared for her safety. The historical aspects of this story made it feel like it was real. The diary was real, Mary’s story was real and somewhere in my school textbooks I was going to be able to read more about her family and her town. If real history was written like this, I would probably pay more attention to be honest.

I would recommend this story to any teens looking for a great coming of age story. It is hard to pinpoint an exact genre that is more specific than historical fiction but with Rees’ writing I can guarantee you will feel yourself drawn into Mary’s world.

Like what you’ve read? Buy it now!