Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Pip is a young boy living with his sister, the mean Mrs Joe, and her husband, the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery, in the marshlands of Kent. His sister has never liked him, and is always reminding him of how she “raised him by hand”, and how grateful he should be about this.  Pip is sitting by his parents’  gravestones one night when an escaped convict grabs him and commands him to bring him food and a file for his leg irons. Pip obeys, but the convict is captured anyway. Soon afterwards Pip is taken by his pompous Uncle Pumblechook, to play at Satis House, owned by the mad Miss Haversham who has been driven  crazy after being left at the altar on her wedding day. She stays in her wedding dress all the time and even keeps all the clocks stopped at the time she heard of her lover’s betrayal; twenty minutes to nine. During his visit, he meets the beautiful Estella, who treats him coldly, but nevertheless he falls instantly in love with her. Pip dreams of becoming a wealthy gentleman so he may marry her, and even hopes Miss Haversham will help him do that, but his dreams are crushed when she apprentices him to  Joe Gargery, the blacksmith. Pip works unhappily, until one day a lawyer named Jaggers appears to tell Pip some brilliant news; he has been given a large fortune by an anonymous benefactor and is to leave for London to begin his education immediately. Pip guesses it must be Miss Haversham, and in London, he befriends a young gentleman named Herbert Pocket, and spends his days being tutored by Herbert’s father, Matthew, until one night the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, breaks into Pip’s room to tell him something life changing… What did he say? Why has he come back? And will Pip and Estela ever be together? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

At first, when I picked up this book, I thought it would be very dull and hard to understand, but by the time I had got into it I actually really enjoyed it! It is definitely a longer read, and some of the language is obviously hard to understand as it is an old book, but something I had really not anticipated was how exciting or how much of a story this book has. I really liked how all the loose ends were tied up in the final few chapters, apart from one or two, and all the twists there were as you learned more abut the characters and their acquaintances. I would probably recommend it to ages 12+, as it is quite difficult, but it is still a good story so by all means try it or read an abridged version if you are younger (or older). I think this was a great book, and although it was hard to understand at times it had a great storyline, and was exciting, scary, and even funny!
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Spies in Disguise: Boy in Tights by Kate Scott

Joe is just an ordinary boy, until he finds out his parents are spies, and it turns his whole world upside down! The whole adventure starts with an exhilarating car chase, which gets Joe feeling pretty excited. When his parents tell him he has to move house and completely change his life, he is a little disappointed, but now he’s going to be a spy, what could be better? There is a catch, though. Joe is going to have to be…

A girl.

Yes, a girl. And that’s where things start to fall to pieces, as Joe has absolutely no idea, and no interest, in anything girly whatsoever. Worse still, is the horrible frilly concoction of a dress his dad has bought for him to wear, which makes him the laughing stock of the school. Just as it seems that nothing can get any worse, Joe overhears a suspicious phone call and suddenly he’s doing some spying of his own, borrowing gadgets from his parents’ large supply and figuring out this little mystery…

Will Joe catch the bad guy? Or is he just not cut out to be a spy? You’ll have to find out!

I really enjoyed this book, as it was full of hilarious moments and twists and turns in the plot. The storyline was really interesting, including some of those really cringe-worthy moments and some bits that were simply just hysterically funny, and although it was maybe a little easy for me, I still loved it as a short, funny book! One of the things I most enjoyed about it could be that it was very accessible for younger readers, but it was still enjoyable for anyone to read. I would recommend it to ages 7-10 but anyone can read it and will love it, I guarantee.

Thank you SO much to Kate Scott at Piccadilly Press who so kindly sent me a copy, the sequel for, for anyone interested, is out soon!

Geek Girl 2: Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Harriet Manners is back, and now she’s a glamorous, elegant creature who is at one with fashion, the perfect model…. As if! The truth is, Harriet is geekier than ever, even studying physics on a photo shoot. However, Harriet is somehow picked to be the face of Yuka Ito’s new brand, and is taken by her grandmother to Tokyo! Her grandmother is rather irresponsible though, and leaves her next to her flat without so much as a goodbye. Harriet gets to know the two other models who live there, Poppy and Rin, and finally works out what it’s like to have friends. But it’s not long before Harriet’s modelling career starts to go horribly wrong, starting by covering a unique dress in blue octopus ink, wearing HEELS in a sumo ring (strictly forbidden), and smashing a massive glass box. Is someone sabotaging her career? Or is Harriet just destined to fail? You’ll have to find out.

I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who liked Geek Girl (obviously!) or Withering Tights. I definitely think that the sequel is as good as the original and it was an amazing book. Thank you HarperCollins for so kindly donating it.

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Ratburger by David Walliams

This is the latest book by David Walliams and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch by HarperCollins. Here is what I think of the book:

Zoe is just an ordinary girl with dreams of running an animal circus. She lives with her dad, who works in an ice-cream factory and is always bringing back delicious (and disgusting) ice cream flavours for Zoe to try, until he meets Sheila, an extremely fat lady who decides to become Zoe’s stepmother, just so she can use Zoe’s dad’s money to buy her prawn cocktail crisps so she can keep stuffing herself. Zoe’s dad loses his job at the factory and has to live off benefit money from the government, which is such a small amount that the house is always full of rats. One day, Zoe finds a baby rat in the corner of her room and decides to keep it. The next morning, Zoe decides that the rat wouldn’t be safe at home, so she takes it to school and names it Armitage. All is well until Armitage manages to climb out of Zoe’s pocket and onto her head! Zoe is suspended and as she leaves, she has to go past the greasy burger man Burt, who wears black strap-on sunglasses and false teeth. He serves the most disgusting burgers, as well as the most disgusting ketchup, in the entire universe. I could go on, but that would ruin the plot for you.

I really enjoyed this book and I thought it was very funny as well as being quite moving. I loved the part about smuggling animals into school, and the part about the performing creatures. One thing I think would have made the book better would be to include one or two more of those illustrated lists I so enjoyed. I think that this is an amazing book and you can order it by clicking the link below.

P.S if you want more about the launch there is a bit about it under news and events (at the top) or click this link.

Click here to buy your copy of Ratburger