Title: Cold Bath Street

Author: AJ Hartley

Pages: 316 Pages

Publisher: UCLan Publishing

The Blurb

Preston Oldcorn is in a desolate void between life and death. In order to save his soul he must brave his greatest fear – Cold Bath Street. A gothic thriller – think Hunger Games crossed with Artemis Fowl – that will keep you gripped to the end. Stunning black and white illustrations throughout.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

What are you supposed to do when you are lost in that precarious world between life and death? Preston Oldcorn has to figure this question out because since he died he has been stuck in a sort of limbo, consorting with ghosts and occasionally going back to his old home in Preston, Lancashire. He hasn’t gone to heaven and he knows he hasn’t done anything bad enough to send him to hell. But he does seem to be unable to get away from his home town.

Preston’s story mixes local ghost stories and spooky history from the Lancashire town. Author, AJ Hartley grew up in the area and has used real life locations to shape and develop his tale of lost souls. We see the sadness of unfinished business juxtaposed with the light of making new friendships and making the best of a bad situation. Hartley manages to bond the natural and the supernatural together in such a believable way that you will not be able to put the book down until you know just how it end.

Cold Bath Street is a really good ghost story. It is creepy and mysterious and keeps you guessing to the very last page. It is a very entertaining read and perfect for those who like to be scared.

Cold Bath Street by AJ Hartley is available now.

For more information regarding AJ Hartley (@authorajhartley) please visit www.ajhartley.net.

For more information regarding UCLan Publishing (@publishingdeb) please visit www.uclanpublishing.com.

 

So it has been a few years since I have read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I started my re-read of the Harry Potter series last year but somehow my momentum dwindled but it is all okay. I am back and I am going to get the last three books read before Christmas…of this year. Hopefully.

I remember buying Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was the first book of the series that I would be buying on release day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to a midnight opening to buy it. As luck would have it, I had to babysit my cousin Amy that night so instead I went at the crack of dawn the next morning. To put into perspective just how early this was I saw people leaving clubs and doing a walk of shame in Liverpool town centre as I went to WH Smith to pick up my pre-ordered copy. I also got given some free pencils but that is beside the point really.

For the rest of that day and all of the next, I sat in the living room refusing to talk to anyone until I had finished. I sobbed. It was horrible. It broke me. And now here we are, a number of years later and I know I am not prepared to read it again but I also know that I have to.

Therefore, I give you the 96 thoughts I had as I re-read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Enjoy!

  • Oh my gosh. A drought. A hot summer. A hosepipe ban. This is art imitating life right now!
  • Someone has apparated in Privet Drive Do we find out who it is? I can’t remember.
  • God, I forgot just how pissy and whiney Harry is at the beginning of this book.
  • I’m 34 years old, five books into the series (that I have read on numerous occasions) and the Dementors are still terrifying.
  • Yay, Mrs Figg. See this is why I like JK. She sets us up to know about Mrs Figg from book one but only now, in book five do we realise her importance. Genius.
  • Oh man. Harry Potter has been expelled. Well this sucks.
  • ‘They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban.’ Said Aunt Petunia – BOOM! Just like that JK shocks us again! Brilliant.
  • Knowing what I know now, was the ‘weird boy’ James or Snape?
  • Who sent Petunia the howler? I forget.
  • I mean, I can understand why Harry is pissy. No one is telling him anything. It must be so isolating…but yeah he is being a whiney b*tch.
  • I’m sorry but I still firmly believe that Moody should have been played by Anthony Hopkins.
  • When you think about it, Harry Potter is like royalty. Getting from one place to another with his guards, everyone watching his moves. Give him ginger hair and he is Harry Windsor…but with a wand.
  • OK, I have said it before and I will say it again. JK give the people what they want. We want a series about the Order of the Phoenix. All the years leading up to Voldemort’s demise. I mean, I know you are giving us a bit of the past with Fantastic Beasts and I love you for that but this would make such an exciting series. If you ever read this then please, please, please let me get what I want (a little Smiths reference there for you). Thank you!
  • Oh the betrayal Harry feels. Totally with you on that Harry Potter. Sometimes it hurts more when friends let you down.
  • Although with all this petulance and snark you come across as a right moody teen.
  • I think I would like to learn how to apparate. It would make travelling to see my fiancé so much easier (not to mention quicker and cheaper!)
  • Ooh I had forgotten about Percy and his need for status. The one Weasley to go astray but strangely by following the book.
  • Yay Sirius! But boo because I know what is going to happen later on.
  • Mundungus Fletcher always reminded me of Del Boy. It would have been too weird if he was played by David Jason though.
  • ‘Whip out your wands’ hehehe oh JK.
  • Oh it is uncomfortable when Molly and Sirius argue. You see where Molly is coming from but I kind of side with Sirius. He is Harry’s godfather and to be fair none of the rest of the story would happen if Harry had just been told everything. So yeah. People need to tell people things and stuff!
  • ‘Personally,’ said Lupin quietly looking away from Sirius at last.’ There is a fan theory that Lupin is like seriously in love with Sirius. This theory is then furthered by the fact that he marries Tonks who can change her features…to look like Sirius, perhaps?
  • Oooh or the story of Sirius’s bad relationship with his mother. That would be interesting.
  • Sirius mentions Harry’s grandparents, James’s mum and dad. What happened to them? Or Lily’s parents for that matter.
  • What about Regulus’s story – we know he had a Horcrux but we need more information.
  • I love Mr Weasley’s enthusiasm for Muggles. Warms my heart.
  • Oh Percy, you fool!
  • Delores Freaking Umbridge. OK, I know that Voldemort was evil and the villain of the piece but I think I hated Delores Umbridge way more. In my head she is the biggest villain. She is evil!
  • Oh man, Fudge is losing his cool.
  • Yay! Harry is a free wizard!
  • Oh lol. Ron’s a prefect!
  • Luna Lovegood. I love her!
  • What is going on with Sturgis Podmore? Do we find out? I can’t remember.
  • Luna displays some characteristics that would be linked with Autism or Aspergers. If JK did this on purpose then woohoo go JK for her inclusion policy. Way ahead of her time. Or it might just be a happy accident.
  • Why hasn’t Harry seen the skeletal horse creatures before? He saw his parents die so in theory Harry should have been able to see them since book one. I wanna call the horse thingies Kestrals but I know that is wrong.
  • Oh I so wish I could go to Hogwarts!
  • I always felt that the Sorting Hat’s song to be a bit unnecessary. Kind of like the poems in the Lord of the Rings series.
  • I got so sad when Seamus doesn’t believe Harry. Why would he lie, Seamus? Why? Why?
  • Oh Oliver Wood. I miss you. Whatever happened to Sean Biggerstaff who played him in the film *checks IMDB*
  • I really think that Hermione could be the Minister of Magic one day.
  • Ministress? What is the feminine form of Minister? *Googles* Oh, it is still minister. I like it.
  • My English degree really came in useful then. £20,000 well spent!
  • God, I hate Umbridge.
  • Eurgh, the ‘Carefully structured, theory centred, Ministry-approved course’ is so something that the government and OFSTED would approve of – in other words, boring.
  • ‘I must not tell lies.’ This woman’s actions are abhorrent!
  • Poor Filch. I mean, I know that he is a pain in the ass but he is the epitome of the lonely old man who lives on your street that yells if you haven’t put your bins out on the correct day. I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for him.
  • Ohhh, it is coming back to me now. Isn’t Sturgis under the Imperious Curse?
  • Next they will have an OFSTED inspection. Oh god, Percy you are so pompous we may as well call you Michael Gove.
  • NIFFLERS! I want a Niffler!
  • Hermione said Voldemort on the same night she said ‘There are things more important than homework.’ My world has been rocked.
  • Who is the hidden witch at the Hog’s Head? I can’t remember.
  • Holy crap. I have just realised it is JK’s birthday which means that it is also Harry Potter’s birthday. Happy Birthday to them both.
  • The enchanted stairs are a brilliant tactic to keep the boys out of the girls dormitory/ If only we had them in my school to make the students go to the correct classroom on time.
  • Thestrals – that’s what they are called. Not Kestrals Lisa, you doughnut.
  • Mundungus was the witch in the Hog’s Head. Of course, lol. I am dumb.
  • My chin scar has never given me random pain but if it ever did I will be very aware that I have an enemy.
  • Oh Winky, still a butterbeer-aholic. Bless but yay to Dobby!
  • My room of requirement would be filled with books…so essentially it would be a library.
  • It is confusing that Hermione isn’t inn Ravenclaw. She is so smart.
  • God, I love Luna and her lion hat!
  • God, Umbridge is evil!!! I can’t believe she gives a lifetime Quidditch ban to Harry, Fred and George. She is a monster.
  • Hagrid is back! Yay!
  • God, Cho Change is a drama queen. She is so bloody high maintenance.
  • Harry and Cho made with the smooches under the watchful eyes of the nargles hiding in the mistletoe.
  • ‘One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.’ God I love Ron!
  • I wonder if snakes will ever get rid of their bad reputation.
  • Oh poor Neville. You cannot help but feel sorry for him. My heart breaks for him.
  • What do wizarding children do before Hogwarts? Do they go to a normal sstyle of school but in the wizarding community? Like where do they learn English and Maths?
  • Ooh the death eaters have broken out of Azkaban. Meep!
  • Cornelius Fudge has warned the ‘muggle prime minister’. If this book was set in the present day then all muggles would be screwed.
  • Oh Harry, when you are on a date with one girl do not mention another girl. You doughnut!
  • Although I stand by my earlier assessment that Cho is a drama queen.
  • I still maintain that Rita Skeeter should have been played by Bernadette Peters.
  • I tell you what, Harry having the same dream over and over again is like Groundhog Day.
  • Barry Chuckle has died. Off topic, I know but man, sad day for children’s entertainment.
  • Oh Firenze, shunned for doing the right thing.
  • I love Fred and George. I love their sense of playfulness and whimsy. For what is life without whimsy?
  • I really believe that it is book five when Harry Potter grew up. He was confronted with the thing we all must go through at some point – when we realise that our parents aren’t, in fact, infallible but that they are human after all.
  • I love it when McGonagall takes none of Umbridge’s crap. Go Minerva! Nope that is too disrespectful – she has to be addressed as Professor McGonagall.
  • I was never a fan of Grawp.
  • I can’t believe they stunned McGonagall. Those B*st*rds!
  • Oh I know what is coming up soon and I don’t want it to happen.
  • Umbridge is using physical support on Harry. Erm, that is so not allowed.
  • I cannot believe she was going to use an unforgivable curse on Harry Potter. She is evil.
  • She is so pissed on power.
  • Oh the veil. Sob!
  • I know she is evil, by god, but Bellatrix LeStrange is amazing and perfect casting in Helena Bonham Carter.
  • I mean, she has just used the cruciatus curse on Neville – what a b*tch but absolutely amazing in her unforgivable nature.
  • I remember reading Sirius’s death for the first time and being broken. Even though I knew it was coming now, it has still killed me. Oh sob!
  • I’m gonna need a few minutes to get over this.
  • Still getting over it.
  • Still broken.
  • ‘Lupin turned away from the archway as he spoke. It sounded as though every word was causing him pain.’ Because he was in love with Sirius.
  • Surely Narcissa and Bellatrix know where Grimauld Place is? I know where my relatives live.
  • Finally, Fudge admits that Voldemort is back. It only took 778 pages, dammit.
  • Oh the two way mirror is just cruel at this point.

I am emotionally drained.

That is one meaty-ass book. It is brilliant but you are hit with so much information your brain struggles to take it all in.

The last two books of the series are ones that I don’t know very well so the next two will be a revelation and an epic journey.

See you then,

Lisa x

Title: So Glad To Meet You

Author: Lisa Super

Pages: 284 Pages

Publisher: Diversion Books

The Blurb

Daphne and Oliver have almost nothing in common…

Seventeen-year-old Daphne Bowman, a bookish drama nerd in public school, might never have crossed paths with Oliver, the popular, outgoing mascot for his private school’s football team, but one event has bound them inextricably. Daphne’s older sister, Emily, and Oliver’s older brother, Jason, who were high school sweethearts, committed suicide together seven years earlier.

When Daphne uncovers Emily and Jason’s bucket list—a list comprised of their “Top Ten” places to visit before they die—she knows she has to tell someone. The one person who might actually get what she’s going through and who might not think it’s silly that she wants to complete the list, is also someone she’s never spoken to—Oliver Pagano. Throwing caution to the wind, Daphne sends Oliver a Facebook message that will come to change the course of both of their senior years—and maybe their entire lives.

Tackling grief with a wry voice and an unflinching eye, So Glad to Meet You tells the story of two people who, in searching for what they’ve lost, end up finding what they never knew they needed—each other.

The Review

What if the only connection you had with someone was shared grief? That is how the relationship between Daphne and Oliver starts. Both have suffered a loss and both are handing it in a very different way.

Both Daphne and Oliver’s older siblings committed suicide but when Daphne finds a bucket list of things that they had wanted to do she sets off on a journey with Oliver to try and do a facsimile of the things on the list.

What is truly special about So Glad To Meet You is that it looks at the issue of mental health from the perspective of the family; those who are indirectly dealing with mental health issues because they have a family member with a mental health condition. Personally, I don’t think this is explored enough and fiction is the ideal platform. The relationship between Daphne and Oliver is constructed in a way that you know that they really feel like they are the only ones who understand each other. Their losses are coming from the self same place. It really is like the world revolves around them.

So Glad To Meet You is a wonderful page turner that needs to be on everybody’s TBR pile.

So Glad To Meet You by Lisa Super is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Super (@LisaSuper77) please visit www.lisasuperbooks.com.

For more information regarding Diversion Books (@DiversionBooks) please visit www.diversionbooks.com.

Title: A Crafty Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod

Author: Matteo Sedazzari

Pages: 164 Pages

Publisher: Zani Media

The Blurb

A mischievous youth prone to naughtiness, he takes to mod like a moth to a flame, which in turn gives him a voice, confidence and a fresh new outlook towards life, his family, his school friends, girls and the world in general. Growing up in Sunbury –on-Thames where he finds life rather dull and hard to make friends, he moves across the river with his family to Walton –on –Thames in 1979, the year of the Mod Revival, where to his delight he finds many other Mods his age and older, and slowly but surely he starts to become accepted….”

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

With such high praise from John Cooper Clarke and Irvine Welsh, I was really looking forward to reading A Crafty Cigarette. Sadly, it just didn’t do anything for me. It was like an angrier version of Adrian Mole. I found it hard to empathise with our protagonist and any of the things that he was going through as I felt that he put himself in those positions on purpose. I just didn’t get the point of the story.

A Crafty Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod by Matteo Sedazzari is available now.

Title: Wishful Drinking

Author: Carrie Fisher

Pages: 178 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction and weathering the wild ride of manic depression.

It’s an incredible tale: from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, and from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

Carrie Fisher’s star-studded career included roles in numerous films such as The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally. She was the author of four bestselling novels, Surrender in the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, The Best Awful and Postcards from the Edge, which was made into a hit film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. Carrie’s experience with addiction and mental illness – and her willingness to talk honestly about them – made her a sought-after speaker and respected advocate. She was truly one of the most magical people to walk among us.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

If I am honest, I have never really paid much attention to Carrie Fisher. Sure, I knew who she was, I had seen Star Wars and I love When Harry Met Sally and that random episode of Sex and the City that she had a cameo in. Oh and she was also in a really funny episode of The Big Bang Theory but Carrie Fisher was someone who I genuinely didn’t really think about.

However, when her book Wishful Drinking was discounted on Kindle one day and I thought to myself “Why not give it a read?” I bought it and man I am really glad I did. After reading it I come to the realisation that I really wish that I had paid more attention to Carrie Fisher before she had died. She was so funny. I laughed out loud to her witty and brutally honest accounts of drug abuse and her “normal” Hollywood upbringing.

Even if, like me, you are not a fan of the Star Wars franchise this book is still a brilliant and engaging read. With direct comments to the reader Carrie Fisher, even whilst being dead, makes you feel like you are her friend and having a conversation. She makes you feel like part of her story. It is reasons like this that you cannot deny her talent.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher is available now.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.