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emsi1984

emsi1984
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Member since: 06.12.2007

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      20.01.2008 16:45
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      A fantastic fourth book full of excitement and adventure

      Plot -

      Welcome to the fourth year at hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry, which as always is packed with more adventures than you could shake a firebolt at.

      The book begins in a creepy old manor house with whispered voices, a muggle and a murderer! How can this all be relevant to the story of Harry Potter?!

      For the members of the wizarding world this book starts with high excitement. It is the Quidditch World Cup, and wizards from far and wide are meeting up to celebrate the best Quidditch players in the world. It is the final between Bugaria and Ireland and their fans are out in force, hidden from the Muggle world in a very large field surrounded by many spells and enchantments the wizards are all celebrating together at this most exciting of events. That is until it all goes wrong! Shortly after the match something appears in the sky which will bring fear into the hearts of most wizards in the world. The Dark Mark!!

      However back at Hogwarts things are getting more interesting with the arrival of news that Hogwarts is to play host to two other wizarding schools Beuxbatons and Durmstrang who will all be competing in the tri-wiard tournament. A tournament open to all students over the age of 17, the tri-wizard tournament is a series of three very dangerous and life threatening tasks. Who will reign supreme as the tri-wizard champion? Will all the school champions get out of the competition alive?! And why for the first time ever in it's history does the Goblet Of Fire give not three names but four?!

      Harry, Ron and Hermione have their share of troubles this year with Harry and Ron trying to secure dates for the Yule Ball a dance traditionally part of the tri-wizard tournament, and Hermione trying to fight off the rumours that she is cheating on her boyfriend Harry with another very famous wizard. A rumour helped along by none other than the acid quilled Daily Prophet Reporter Rita Skeeter, who is sneaking around spreading as many vicious rumours as she can conjuer up with the help of her quick notes quill.

      Opinion -
      As the series go on the books seem to be getting longer. This the fourth book in Rowling's series of stories of Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry contains 636 pages. Certainly a long read but is it a good one?!

      Definitely, packed with more action and adventure than any of the books in the series so far this is definitely a stand out favourite of many Harry Potter fans. A lot more is revealed about the terror of You Know Who and his terrible past, as well as that of the horrors of his followers the aptly named Death Eaters.

      As well as the magic and challenges being faced by the school champions of Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beuxbatons in the Tri-wizard tournament, which is action packed beyond even by J.K.Rowling's usual imagination. With twists and turns with every challenge, she keeps us guessing as to who will finally become the champion and if they will all escape their adventures unharmed.

      I think this book shows Rowling's writing skills to be exceptional as she keeps you hooked right until the last minute, and even then wanting to know more. A rollercoaster of emotion in this book which made me smile, laugh and even cry, A definite 10/10 this time Joanne.


      A note for those who have seen the film and not read the book for the Goblet Of Fire, read it, it will explain a lot more than the film did.

      Also written on ciao as my username emsi

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        16.01.2008 00:13
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        One of the best in the Harry Potter series.

        It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry and as always it turns out to be just as packed with adventures as the previous two.

        With the O.W.L exams looming ever closer Harry and the other Hogwarts students have never been busier. But as always with Hogwarts there's a distraction or two.
        As it's a school of witchcraft and wizardry what's more exciting than Quidditch to distract students from their school work? This year is no disappointment. After an accident and a loss against Hufflepuff, Gryffindor find themselves having to win against both Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Will Harry be able to help his team to victory and get Gryffindor the Quidditch cup for the first time in seven years?!
        And for a distraction of the much more unwelcome kind the news of the first ever breakout from Wizarding prison Azkaban is spreading like wildfire through the wizarding world. Mass murderer Sirius Black is on the loose, Black is said to have killed 12 muggles as well as one fellow wizard Peter Pettigrew leaving nothing but his finger before being carted off to Azkaban. He is now the first person to ever escape from the prison and the rumour is he is after Harry!

        Will Harry have to come face to face with Sirius Black? Will he fail all of his owls? Will Gryffindor finally win the Quidditch cup?! All will be revealed in the third book of J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter Series.

        I have always enjoyed reading this book as J.K.Rowling introduces some really great characters in both Sirius Black who brings a lot of important questions to the readers mind in this book - Is he really a mass murderer? How did he break out from Azkaban? And is he really trying to kill Harry? And also one of my favourite characters new defence against the dark arts teachers Remus Lupin. I find Lupin brings a bit of humour and a wealth of kindness and magical intelligence to this book. He's the student's favourite teacher and by reading the book it's very easy to see why.

        I think this book is very important to the series as it establishes a lot of relationships and sets grounding for the rest of the books. Anymore information and the story would be given away for anyone who happens to not have read the book or seen the film.

        I found that compared to Philosophers stone and Chamber of secrets this book provoked a lot more emotion in the reader. The arguments between the boys and Hermione really make you feel sorry for a girl who you see is only trying to do her best to protect her friends. And towards the end of the book you also feel for both Lupin and especially the character the book is essentially set around, the prisoner of Azkaban himself Sirius Black.

        Pages - 317
        Price - 5.99
        Amazon marketplace new - 1.50

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          15.01.2008 14:07
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          A fantastic bath experience from Molton Brown

          I received this as a present from my parents this christmas and how excited was I? I adore Molton Brown items in general and this is one I had been recommended by a friend who also favours their products. This is my first attempt at a bath products review it's a long way from a book review which is my usual, so bare with me..

          Packaging and product Info!

          The first thing I noticed about this product was it's gorgeous packaging. It came in a box which was cream in colour with Molton Brown Logo in Gold as well as tied with a Maroon ribbon also with the Molton Brown writing along it. Once you open the packaging you see the bottle which was300ml, clear plastic, with a silver embossed screw top lid, with the Molton Brown writing and Logo on it along with the name of the scent Relaxing Yuan Zhi written in lilac on the front and the address and website address on the back.

          Also on the bottle you will find this information about the main ingredients..
          This intensely moisturizing bathing therapy harnesses the potency of Yuan Zhi extract to combat stress and promote inner peace, mango oil ensures the skin is soothed and conditioned, while essential oils or vanilla, Ylang-Ylang and rose help relax the body and senses. Perfect at the end of the day to calm restlessness and encourage sleep.
          Yuan Zhi is a unique wild plant from Southern China used traditionally to balance energies and soothe the spirit.

          The experience!

          I poured only a small amount under the running water of the bath and to my surprise it didn't need much liquid to create the bubbles, which is a shock as many brands I have used before need a lot more to create a decent amount of bubbles. I'm a bubble girl if I'm honest I don't see the point of a few tiny bubbles, if you're going to do it, do it properly.
          The first smell that I got from the Bath Liquid was definitely Ylang-Ylang which I was happy with because it's a fragrance I love, although I don't know what Yuan Zhi is supposed to smell like so it could have been in there too. One I didn't pick up which was on the ingredients list was vanilla.
          I would describe the scent as slightly woody although not overpowering, it's definitely a lot stronger smelling from the bottle as it is once in the water.

          Did it do what it said on the bottle?

          I have to say I always wonder about bath soaks that say they calm stress, unwind the muscles and so on. Can a simple bath really make you feel relaxed and free from stress?!
          I can't say that as Molton Brown claim Yuan Zhi promoted inner peace in me but it honestly did make me feel a lot more relaxed. I have been suffering from tension headaches for the past few days worrying about job hunting and after spending some time in the bath this morning it really does seem to have eased both my headache and some of my internal stress so maybe there is some truth in this. I found the smell to be quite calming and thankfully not overpowering, which some Bath liquids are guilty of being.

          Conclusion...

          All in all a thumbs up for Molton Brown's Yuan Zhi fragrance. I left the bath feeling a lot more relaxed than I had upon entering it, and it has also made me skin feel a lot better, as I am suffering a lot with dry skin in this nasty winter weather.
          I would give it a very healthy 8/10


          300ml Bottle price - £16
          Sample of others In Range -
          energising seamoss bath & shower
          sensual hanaleni moisture bath & shower
          invigorating suma ginseng bath & shower
          warming eucalyptus bath & shower therapy
          heavenly gingerlily moisture bath & shower

          Also published on Ciao under username emsi

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            12.01.2008 17:31
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            A good effort by rowling but not the best.

            As anyone that knows will be able to tell you I am a Harry Potter addict so it might come as a bit of a shock for people to know that I am not a fan of The Chamber Of Secrets.

            It is now over ten years since the arrival of J.K.Rowling's series of books about boy wizard Harry Potter. The chamber of Secrets is the second book in the series. I am reviewing this as I have just reread the books for maybe the eighth time!

            The book starts of at the home of Harry Potter living with his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon and his awful cousin Dudley. Uncle Vernon is having a meal with an important client of his company and he has asked one thing from Harry which is to stay upstairs and pretend that he does not exist! Sounds easy enough right?! Not for Harry it seems, after a small meal Harry retreats up to his bedroom where he is shocked to find a creature waiting for him. The creature turns out to be a house-elf by the name of Dobby who is here to try and stop Harry from returning to Hogwarts where he claims bad things are going to happen and that Mr Potter will not be safe. An argument takes place between Harry and Dobby which ends with a cake being dropped onto the head of the important clients wife, thus ruining the chances of Mr Dursley's business deal. Harry knows he's in trouble so he heads for his room. A couple of nights later he is woken by noises and lights from outside his bedroom window. His rescue team the Weasley Brothers Ron, Fred and George are hovering outside his window in none other than a flying Ford Anglia! Do they get safely home?! Well of course it's Harry Potter! But what is awaiting them on their return to Hogwarts?!

            What a eventful new year it turns out to be at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardy! What with the arrival of new defence against the dark teacher and winner of witch weekly's most charming smile award the sickly sweet Professor Guilderoy lockhart, the never ending fued between Harry Potter and Draco malfoy and of course the opening of the chamber of secrets. How is anyone going to get any work done?!
            This book is based around the reopening of a chamber deep within the school, which is unleashing an evil being that is petrifying students (it's a magical type of frozen paralysis!) and eventually takes one of them into it's chamber! Will Harry and his friends be able to thwart evil again in the second installment of J K Rowling series.

            I have to say that of all the Harry Potter books this is my least favourite.
            I think it's partly due to the introduction of Professor Guilderoy Lockhart who is portrayed as as a character we are not meant to particularly like but I found him just a little too irratating! However the book is still an enjoyable read and J.K.Rowling sprinkles the book with her usual magical creatures and goings on!
            I think that in this book Rowling shows us a bit more of an insight into the relationships between the characters and especially focuses on the friendship and family bonds that form between Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys. A good book but definately not the strongest of plotlines or the best in this series.

            Book price - 5.99
            Amazon Marketplace - 1.43
            Pages - 251
            Publisher - Bloomsbury

            Also published on ciao under my username emsi

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              10.01.2008 18:31
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              A book that tells us how life goes on without us.

              I have wanted to read the lovely bones for a while and on a recent visit to my second family I found it among my best friend's book shelf! So here's a quick look into my experience of this book.

              One evening on the way home from school Susie Salmon is murdered, by someone she knows and it shocks her whole neighbourhood. Who could have wanted to kill a fourteen year old little girl? What could have she have done for someone to want to harm her?

              Susie wonders these things too. Why did he kill me? What was wrong with him? But Susie has other questions too and other worries like how her death is affecting her family? What will happen to her brother Buckley and her sister Lindsey?
              Will Susie get the answers to any of her questions from her new home in Heaven?!

              Over the years Susie watches her family and her friends grow and move on from her death. She watches over the lives of the people who were closest to her in her life on earth. As well as her parents and her brother and sister, these also include the strange girl with the great artistic talent from her High school class Ruth and the Indian boy from her class who had been the first to ever kiss her Ray. And strangely the other person Susie watches from Heaven is her Murderer.
              As the story brings us on through the years Susie watches from heaven how her family, her neighbours and her friends adjust to life without her. She watches them move on and grow up to achieve their dreams. You see Susie change in the way she thought about people on earth after watching the way they coping and helped others cope with living with Susie's memory such as her Grandma Lynn and her little brother Buckley or Buck as he is known as he grows older.
              There are happy times and sad but she watches through them all and I believe grows up in her own way in heaven. Through the happiness of those left on earth.

              The story is a great one especially I would say to anyone who is dealing with a loss or holding on to someone they lost a long time ago. It shows us that no matter how many years pass the people we loved are there keeping watch on us, they celebrate those moments we wish they were there for like a birth, a wedding or a graduation ceremony, and they share our sorrow in the bad times. Even sometimes appearing in different forms, at times of need. All in all a fantastic storyline glittering with characters who seem to reach out of the pages to make you understand them. One I would definitely read again, with a well deserving space on any bookshelf.

              Book Price - 7.99
              Amazon Marketplace - 3.08
              ISBN - 0-330-48538-5
              Publisher - Picador

              This review is also posted on Ciao under my Ciao username emsi

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                06.01.2008 15:48
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                A story of your past coming back to haunt you!

                This book is the first by writer Joshilyn Jackson, a former actress and teacher from the deep south. With one fellow writer calling it 'A knock-out first novel full of astonishing surprises.' And I would have to agree this book is definitely a must read.
                After reading about this book on a literary website in a list of 100 books to read, I felt I should check it out. Taken in first by the cover shot that shows a girl driving through country in a droptop car with her dark hair whipping behind her, then hooked by the main backpage headline.... 'There are gods in Alabama, I know because I killed one!'

                You know the guy right? The popular guy in High School, The one some might call a God?! At Arlene's Alabama high school that guy was Jim Beverly the captain of the High School team, the guy all the girls wanted to be with, who was only in love with one girl his Rose-Pop that is until he had a drink or two. Then the caring, high school god turned into someone altogether different...

                The story begins with Lena, ten years on after her escape from her past, her family, and her Alabama high school life. She is now living in Chicago, teaching English at college, and living a happy life with her black boyfriend Burr. (And yes his being black is relevant to the storyline.) Lena and Burr have been together for two years yet have still not slept together, and Burr has still never been allowed to meet Arlene's family. Not due to either of them not wanting to but more to do with Lena's promise she made with God ten years previously.

                You see when Lena or Arlene as she was then known was at high school she was shall we say a bit of a slut, out of her high school year she had sex with all but one of them, and that was only because he Bud being Bud was her cousin Clarice's boyfriend. Then over summer break Arlene did something that would make her change her ways. She committed a crime and she made a deal with God. If you make sure no-one finds the body I will stop being Promiscuous with boys, I will never tell a lie and I will leave Alabama and never return.

                Quite a hard task I would think but Arlene kept to her end of the bargain with God for ten years until the reappearance of someone from her past. Rose Mae Lolly. The girl that was the Jim Beverly's Rose-Pop. Rose Mae Lolly is in town to see Arlene to see what she knows about what happened to her old high school boyfriend Jim. She was on a personal quest after her therapist told her she always picked bad men! Rose Mae refused to believe that her problems in life were down to a bad choice of man so she decided to go and find the one she thought was the good one. High school hotshot Jim Beverly! Arlene manages to avoid Rose Mae Lolly in some quite extreme ways while she's in town to the point of actually behaving so crazy that her high school enemy writes her a note telling her that she should maybe go and see someone to get help. As well as telling Arlene that she will be traveling to see some friends and family of Jim's before heading back to Alabama to finish her search.

                Something in Arlene snaps and she decides it's finally time to return to Alabama to confront her demons once and for all, and she's taking Burr with her. To meet her all white Alabama racist family. Yes her and her black boyfriend and going on a road trip. Blow the consequences, God had broken the deal he had brought Alamabama to her and there must be reason for it. As the story goes on we find out more about Arlene's past, her intense relationship with her cousin Clarice, her broken relationship with her mother who is so hopped up on pills to numb the pain of her lost husband she doesn't even know how to function anymore let alone love her daughter. And most importantly we find out about her unrequited love for the high school god Jim Beverly, what happened that fateful night up on Lipsmack Hill and the events that led them all there.

                The story is written in the first person narrative and is told by Arelene or Lena as she is later known. She tells us the story that begins in a way most girls can relate to, she goes to school and isn't too popular but her cousin is the beautiful one so she gets a limited amount of chances and attention from people in the wake of her cousin Clarice's popularity. This is how she meets and finally begins to adore Jim Beverly. He's gorgeous, kind, caring, the high school football captain, I mean who wouldn't love that! But we also find out the dark side of this high school god, the way he treats his girlfriend when he's had a drink, what causes him to drink in the first place and finally what he does to make Arlene so angry that she finally snaps and uses the choice weapon of half a bottle of Tequila to put an end to his life at high school. But is everything as it seems in this story, is Jim Beverly really dead?! If he is how come no-one ever found his body up by Lipsmack hill? Surely it would have appeared eventually right? That's if he really was dead. A witness said they saw someone fitting his description hitch-hiking in the opposite direction of his hometown of Fruiton that night. Maybe he just wanted to disappear, his girlfriend has broken up with him for good this time, he had lost his scholarship to college, his life wasn't half as rosy at it had once been. Who would blame this guy for wanting to disappear? So can Arlene uncover the truth, did she really kill Jim Beverly? Will her family accept her black boyfriend or is that husband? And will he still want to be with her when she admits the truth?

                The twists and turns of this book are what I think makes it a great read. Just as you think you've got to the bottom of the plot another twist and you realize you have no idea.
                The characters are fantastically written so that you can really relate to them, Aunt Florence seems on the outside to be the strict parent, who is trying to keep her girls closer to her to make up for the loss of her only son Wayne, but you find out that all she wants is to keep her girls safe from harm, and that she is hurt by Arlene's disappearance soon after high school and blames herself for Arlene never returning to Alabama. And Arlene herself is a character I think most girls can relate to, she just wants to fit in, wishes she could be like Rose Mae Lolly, and wants more than anything to protect her cousin Clarice from the boys who leer over her at school.
                A great story, with a hidden depth that really makes you think, the only problem with this book is that it seemed to be too short, I wish it could have gone on longer, and I wanted to find out whether Arlene does go back for Christmas?!

                The author's website - www.joshilynjackson.com
                Publisher - Hodder
                Pages - 275
                Book Price - 6.99
                Amazon Marketplace - from 2.46

                This review also posted on my ciao username emsi

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                • facebook.com / Internet Site / 46 Readings / 42 Ratings
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                  29.12.2007 17:22
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                  A great networking site, well worth joining!

                  If you haven't heard of facebook where have you been?!

                  The Site info...
                  The Facebook story begins with Mark Zuckerberg who originally made the site for students of Harvard to keep in touch and share info with each other in 2004 then as it increased in popularity Mark with help from Andrew McCollum and Eduardo Saverin they increased the colleges to most of Ivy League schools. After donations from Paypal founder Peter Thiel and venture capital from Accel Partners they decided to expand even further to colleges and high school all over the US as well as United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Then in September 2006 facebook opened it's registration to anyone with a valid email address and so the facebook we all know now was born.

                  Facebook is a networking tool that keeps you in touch with friends, family and also encourages you to make new friends. I have been a member for around 7 months I think and I am loathe to admit I have the grand total of 288 friends. 95% of them I know personally they're either friends, family or people I worked or went to school with but I do have a few random people I met on facebook and other sites such as gapyear.com and my online journal on their.

                  All you have to do once you have registered at facebook is get searching for those long lost friends! Put their name in the search box on the left hand side of your facebook screen and scroll through till you find the person you are looking for. Depending on their privacy setting you may or may not be able to view their whole profile but all you need to do once you see who you want as your friend is click add as friend where they will then get a message to say they have a new friend request. If they want to be your friend too they will accept and then away you go... Once you have your friends added check out all the cool things you can do...

                  Things you can do on facebook....

                  * Wall/Superwall/Funwall! - These handy little applications are the staple of facebook it's where people who are listed as your friends can leave you messages, send you funny videos and pictures and even draw you some graffiti! Sounds good?! It is, the only downside is the annoying forward messages that you keep getting! Please send this on or you will die tomorrow that type of thing!
                  * Superpoke - Another cool little application that you can add as an extra to the basic pokes on facebook. You can do things to your friends such as throw snowballs at them, party with them, give them drinks! Then they can do things back to you. There\s good and bad things so if a friend annoyed you by letting kiss that ugly guy when you were drunk at Christmas you could hit them with a fish. Or if theres a guy who fancy then why not send him a kiss?!
                  * Status - This shows up to all your friends on your main profile page as well as on the main page everyone visits when they open their facebook! You can put anything such as Emma is ill, Emma loves you, or Emma wishes 2008 would be better than 2007!
                  * Events - If you're having a party you can add an event on facebook and invite your friends! It shows details of where it is, what it is and who will be attending. You can reply with attending, maybe attending or not attending. Easier than calling everyone in your phonebook?! Definitely! Which reminds me I have a 40th birthday to go to in a couple of weeks better get buying that present!
                  * Photos - The same as myspace facebook has a very easy to use photos section where you can add as many albums as you like. Although you are limited to 60 pictures per album so if you've been on a three month trip to oz and want to showcase your pics you'll have to use a few albums. Always good for checking out your mates drunken escapades! 
                  * Groups - There is also a section where you can share you love or a sport, movie, artist or even just something stupid like Em's lost her mobile needs numbers! Which I keep getting invited to as my friends frequently lose their phones and need numbers sending to them. There are some funny ones out there so it's worth checking out..
                  * Applications - Last to be mentioned but not least is the applications. Ever wanted to know if you're hot or not?! Well the popular hotornot.com has got an application on facebook that you can add to your profile so you can find out if you're a not so hot 1 or a sizzling sexy 10!! There's also define me where people anonomously post words they think describe you! I would like to know who claimed I had a Vicky pollard accent - how rude but I send love to the person who said beautiful and best friend!  There are many more applications such as bumper sticker, compare me and free gifts!

                  But my advice to you all is to get out and check out facebook or 'The book of face' as my girls refer to it! It's where it's at people! It's easy to use, good to find out what your old school friends are up to and even good to have a check out and see if the guy you used to have a crush on is single, engaged or married! I can see you laughing facebookers you've all done it!!

                  So get clicking and have fun but be careful IT'S ADDICTIVE!

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                    29.12.2007 16:00
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                    It's always worth searching for if you can find a bargain!

                    I have to admit to being a bit of a readaholic! As I am reading my book collection now I am adding up reviews of all of them for you lovely people to read!! Aren't you lucky!

                    I have to be honest if I want a brand new book I will head to my local shopping centre and straight into my favourite haunt of Waterstones. I am a loyal customer because they generally have what I'm looking for, the staff are very friendly and helpful and if they don't happen to have it in stock they can order it and get it there within the week generally which is normally good enough for me. Plus I have a waterstones card so I get points for shopping! What could be better?! I could spend hours in that shop browsing through the book selection, noone ever offers to come shopping with me?! I wonder why!! At least like most women its not clothes and shoes lol!

                    If I'm looking for something to read but have no preference to what it is I will either head to my local charity shop which always have a few good books at a very reasonable price normally between 30p and 2 pounds.

                    Or my other favourite for cheap books is local markets. I have found a few in differents towns I've visited and I know there is one in Newquay and Truro that have book stalls. People bring in their books to the stall and then they are sold for between 1 and 3 pounds. Quite good as some of them are either new or in very good condition. I have been looking to read the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown for a long time and I found it while looking through the stall in Truro for 1 pound and was then told by the gentleman running the stall that if I was coming back I could bring it back in and get another book half price. I was impressed with that idea as it's like a reward for service! Shame all shops can't do that eh?!

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                      29.12.2007 13:55
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                      A story of how a letter can change your life, magical things are about to happen!

                      It is now 10 years since J.K.Rowling first told her story of Harry Potter and his time at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. But since then the first six books in the series have sold in excess of 325 millions copies worldwide and the seventh and final book in the series Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows was the first book to ever sell over 12 millions in the U.S alone!

                      I will admit to having read the series three times at least. But I am now reading them again and thought it was about time I wrote my own Harry Potter review..

                      Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone is the first in the series of Seven Books written by J.K.Rowling about a young wizard called Harry Potter.

                      The Story - - - -

                      Harry is orphaned as a baby when his parents Lily and James are killed by dark wizard Lord Voldemort, unfortunately for Harry he is sent to live with his only remaining family The Durselys, who consist of Fat Mean Uncle Vernon who believes that Harry should live his life as quietly and out of everyone's way as possible, Aunt Petunia who's belief that Harry's family were freaks and that the truth of Harry's real identity as a famous wizard should be kept from him at all costs, and last but definitely not least is the awful cousin Dudley, fat and a vile bully Dudley makes it his life's work to bully Harry and make him realize that he is only in the house because he has nowhere else to go and not because they actually want him there.
                      Harry's life is a nightmare until the arrival of half Giant Hagrid who brings with him a birthday surprise that even Harry couldn't have imagined. A letter telling Harry that he has been accepted into Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry.
                      The story then continues on to tell you of Harry's first year at Hogwarts, how he makes best friends in the form of Ron Weasley, a redheaded boy from a wizarding family, and Hermione Granger a very gifted young girl from a muggle family, and their adventures around the grounds of their new school. From Harry's first game of Quidditch, to sneaking a dragon out of the school, to the excitement of coming face to face with the evil wizard who killed Harry's parents.

                      Opinion - - - -

                      I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter Series as a whole although I don't think this book isn't the best one in the series, J.K.Rowling really does show off her writing talent.
                      You can really imagine just what the characters would look like even the magical beings such as the centaurs, and Norbert the dragon, as they are so well described. You can really see the love that J.K. Rowling put into this book as all the people and places really come to life. You can really get into this book, almost feeling as if you know the characters, you feel sorry for Neville Longbottom who gets picked on by Malfoy because he's not the brightest tool in the box but who has a complete heart of gold and tries to stop his friends getting into trouble, even if it means getting into trouble himself. And the bright young witch Hermione Granger, one of Harry's best friends who is fiercely loyal to Harry and who at the start of the book was described by Ron as so annoying and it's no wonder she doesn't have any friends! Soon becomes as into breaking the rules and enjoying the adventures as Harry and Ron, and I think she becomes a better character for it.

                      All in all, brilliant characters, a great storyline with plenty of fun and adventure.A fantastic book for children and adults alike. You can definitely see why this book and it's follow ups have done so well around the world. I only wish I had half the imagination of the wonderful J.K.Rowling.

                      Book Price - 5.99
                      Publisher - Bloomsbury
                      Online prices - 4.49 is amazon's current price and from their sellers you can pick it up for as little as 0.01p obviously plus the postage :)

                      Also posted on Ciao as Emsi

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                        28.12.2007 11:55
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                        This number-one best seller from Patricia Scanlan is definitely one to warm the cockles and one that's very much for the ladies.

                        A book about the good and bad times of an Irish Family!
                        The story is centered around Shauna who is married to Greg Cassidy and they have a beautiful daughter called Chole, then you are introduced to Shauna's family and her in-laws and shown how their family relationships don't always run smoothly.
                        Firstly there is Shauna's older sister and best friend Carrie with her doting husband Dan and their wonderful children Davey, Olivia and further on in the story little Hannah who to Shauna are exactly how a family should be. Loving, kind and most important of all Happy! Next is her younger brother Bobby who much to his devout catholic father's dismay is gay and living in London with his partner Anton(who is a late edition to the book) then there is Shauna's father Noel, the religious devout church going Catholic, who is nothing but loving to his grandchildren but was not as caring to his two youngest children growing up. Shauna and Bobby were much too outgoing and non believing for his religious ideals, whereas his eldest daughter Shauna was exactly what he longed his youngest to be which was settled down with a wonderful husband, 3 great childen and was always there when he needed a help for one or other of his many made up health problems. With his beloved wife Anna dead Noel is left alone with only the company of his cat Twiskers and his kindly and also widowed next door Neighbour Mrs O'Neill.
                        As if that wasn't enough to be dealing with welcome to the family 'The Freeloaders' Greg's sister Della, her Fat husband Eddie and their two unruly children Kathryn and Ashley. To Shauna they are the In-Laws from hell, they turn up uninvited to Christmas, New Years and The couple's Leaving Party back to The Gulf, they eat and drink them out of house and house, don't move a finger and expect everything done for them. How long can Shauna put up with them before she finally blows up and tells her sister In Law exactly what she thinks of her freeloading ways?!
                        Shauna and Greg spend most of the year living in the Gulf for Greg's work with Shauna coming back to Ireland for Christmases and for the summer months when the weather is too hot for her to handle. Ireland is where she feels her heart is and she knows that daughter Chloe is much happier there with her cousins to play with than in Abu Dhabi where the weather is hot, she rarely sees her parents and spends all her time with her Phillapino nanny. Shauna loves her brother and sister and although she likes her luxury life in the Gulf her dream is for her and Greg to have another child and move back home to Ireland to provide a more stable life for their children. But Greg is not impressed, his work is his life, he barely sees Chloe as it is and he's happy with their life of luxury, Partying and entertaining. He could think of nothing worse than having another child around the place, screaming, crying and demanding their attention. The question is what will happen to Shauna and Greg's relationship when Shauna finds out a devastating secret about her husband courtesy of her conniving sister in law Della?!?! Will her father ever rekindle his broken relationship with his son? Will Shauna speak to her sister in law again? and will it all end happily ever after in a Christmas to remember? Or will it be a rerun of the nightmare Christmases of old times?!

                        I really enjoyed this book as the characters are really brought to life, you can imagine the tension between Della and Shauna, feel the love between Carrie and her husband Dan and imagine the happiness of the Children when they are together playing on the beach. It almost makes you want to move to Ireland and start your own dream happy family! If only life was like fiction eh?! Although maybe without the vile sister in laws?!

                        Publisher -Bantam Books
                        Pages - 686
                        Price - 6.99

                        This review has also been posted on Ciao under my ciao username emsi

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                        • What's In Your Bag? / Discussion / 33 Readings / 30 Ratings
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                          18.12.2007 13:22
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                          Well here goes. A little about me and my bag.....!

                          I am a collector of bags but at the moment the one in favour is one I bought on my last trip to Goa. It's a beautiful over the shoulder Indian style bag, multicoloured patchwork effect (blues,gold,pink,purple and yellow) with sparkly thread patterns on it! And all for the bargain price of 230 rupees so about 3 English pounds!
                          And a little view at the contents of the Indian bag...

                          - My Ipod with radio connector = I must take my ipod in my car everyday even if I'm only going the 5 minutes to work. Music helps me relax when driving.
                          - My cute Lizzy surf wallet = It was a leaving present from my self appointed little bro Liam! And is gorgeous light brown leather with candy coloured striped on it with Lizzy on the front of it! At the moment only contains cards as work still haven't paid me since October aarrgghhh!

                          - My Jagermeister Landyard containing my Car Key = Jager were doing a freebie promo with my old work so I managed to obtain yet another piece of pub memorabilia! It also stops me losing the key to Seth! Who is my little black Vauxhall Corsa!
                          - A pair of Winnie The Pooh Tote Socks - Yes I'm actually a freak! I drive bare foot in my car so if I've only got thin socks on and I'm going a long distance I put these socks on to keep my feet warm :P

                          - Notebook and Pen - Sometimes you need to write things down. Hot guys phone numbers. Interview times, phone messages, or mostly in my case work hours! Notebook is pink with two stickers on it one fall out boy and one panic! It's old but well used!
                          - Packet of tissues!

                          - Elephant keyring = Holds my house keys and a key to my vanity case should I ever use anymore lol!

                          - Vaseline lip therapy tin = I adore this stuff one of the best lip balm treatments out there for winter skin plus I use it in the summer to stop my lips getting burnt and cracked! Always a bonus on holiday to make your lips look good without having to put on lippy!
                          - Fuji film Finepix S6500fd Slr digital Camera - My baby! I love taking as many pics as I can so although quite heavy to lug around my camera come's with me every day even if it's just to the bar! You never know what you might miss! Some of my best sunset shots were taken from outside my old work while I was on duty lol! A good photographer never misses an opportunity!

                          well now you're all sufficeintly bored that was a look into my life and my bag!

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                          • Religion / Discussion / 25 Readings / 19 Ratings
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                            18.12.2007 13:18
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                            It's me voicing my opinion be careful!

                            Oh dear someone gave me a chance to express my opinion you don't know what you've started now...

                            Let me start by saying that I was always a complete non-believer in any religion whatsoever!

                            I was christened when I was a child which was my parents choice and not my own, and occasionally went to church with both the brownies and Guides that I was a member of when younger. So I have been to church and listened to what people have to say, not like I've never given religion a chance.

                            One thing I have done as well that not all Christian's could possibly lay claim to is that I have sat down and read the entire Bible. So before anyone else like religious friends of mine have done in the past chooses to tell me that my lack of faith is due to uneducation I can assure you all that it is not.

                            My belief is that if God existed and was as all powerful and loving as many faiths will have you believe then why are there so many problems in the world. Why are wars breaking out worldwide due mainly to people's religious beliefs?! Why are people murdering each other in the streets, why are people abducting and harming children? And why are people suffering with illnesses such as AIDS and Cancer?! Why is God letting these things happen?! I would hate to have to bring up a child in today's society with all the drugs, Violence and hatred!

                            I have researched many different religions in my 23 years and one I cannot understand is the Islamic faith. I have read and watched many shows on this subject and I believe that the faith is a peaceful one but how is it that some people are taking the name of Allah and the religion of Islam into their Suicide pacts?! From what I can see in the Islamic faith it tells you that Suicide is a bad thing?!

                            It is people like these select few individuals that is making life harder for there to be more religious tollerance in the world as a whole. Because although I am non religious I do believe that everyone should be entitled to their beliefs and their own choice of faith and I see no reason why everyone cannot live together regardless of religion. I have friends who are atheist, Muslim, Christian, Catholic and Buddhist and I don't see any of them differently for their beliefs or religions and I truly wish that everyone else could see that religion doesn't make a person who they are it's how they act in the world and to others!

                            xxx

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                              16.12.2007 18:12
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                              A story full of rich and complex characters.

                              After hearing about this book being made into a movie I thought I would head down to my local bookshop and check it out. People who know me will know that I will always read a book before seeing the movie if possible, as I think in most cases the book is always better.

                              Brick Lane is essentially a story of life in the area of London known as Tower Hamlets in 1985. The main character of the story is Nazneen who at 18 is sent over to England from Bangladesh to be part of an arranged marriage to a man called Chanu who is twenty years her senior. The book shows you how Nazneen's life's changes and evolves with the passing of time and how her life in England begins to flourish.

                              One of the main points in the book is that when Nazneen was first born her mother left her life to fate. Nazneen was a stubborn child who wouldn't feed and against everyone in her native village advising her mother to take her child to hospital Nazneen's mother left her child to fate, choosing to believe that if God decided she should live she would live. This theme is brought up many times throughout the book when Nazneen is making life changing choices.

                              Monica Ali makes you feel as if you really know the characters of Brick Lane, there is the old Mrs Islam who tells everyone how they should live their lives while hiding her own dark secrets, Razia who is trapped in a marriage to a husband who she is terrified of and a son who has more problems than she can help him with. As well as Nazneen's husband Chanu who for all his reading and educational certificates is sadly naïve to life's problems and believes everything can be solved by returning to his native Bangladesh and building a house in Dhaka.

                              I think the best part of the story is the way the author shows the importance of the relationship between Nazneen and her sister Hasina who still lives in Bangladesh and writes to Nazneen to tell her of her life in Bangladesh. Although you only read Hasina's letters and very rarely Nazneen's you still feel the power of the bond between two sisters that is so powerful nothing can break it.

                              I am looking forward to seeing the reviews on the movie as I would like to know how it compares to the book for those that have read it.

                              In short this book is well worth the 7.99 pricetag and can be found for as little as 4.74 online.

                              Price - 7.99

                              Shortlisted for ...
                              The guardian first book award
                              Granta best of young british novelists
                              The booker prize

                              Publisher - Black Swan

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                                10.12.2007 12:48
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                                All the information you will need for a gap year!

                                I bought this book a couple of months ago when I finally decided I wanted to plan my gapyear/travelling!
                                I had heard about the book due to the fact that I use the website gapyear.com which is run by Tom Griffiths who happens to be the author of this book.

                                If you are a first time traveller and are worrying about the obvious things on your trip... Where to go? what to do? what injections will you need? should I volunteer? How do I get my visas? and so on then this book is definately worth it's original 7.99 price tag.
                                It begins with a foreward from the author himself as well as from renowned traveller Micheal palin. And the first section starts with a quote that all travellers will probably have heard... 'If you think you can, you can, and if you think you can't you're right!' By Henry Ford.
                                This is so true for planning your gap year.

                                Tom has thought of everything in this book from How the hell will this all fit in my backpack, how do I tell my parents that I'm heading off round the world with nothing but my backpack to the more serious points of health and safety, who you decide to travel with (remembering that you will be living together for a long period of time in often close environments) and with what budget. The book even has a section on how to cope once you get home, which I think is very useful at least from what I've heard from friends who have returned and been in shocked back to real life!
                                The great thing about the book is that it is aimed at the target audience of young people between the ages of 17 and 27 who are typically the first time gappers.

                                The book is done in a lighthearted way with jokes and amusing cartoons thrown in for good measure but it still manages to be very informative. If you are a girl travelling solo there is a great section on female travel with a do's and don't list written by ex gapper Cathy such as do be cynical of helpful strangers especially male ones and don't show any bare flesh as in some countries your bare flesh can offend.
                                All in all a great asset to a first time traveller. Well worth the money out of your travelling budget.

                                Publisher : Bloomsbury reference
                                Author : Tom Griffiths
                                Price : 7.99
                                Publishing year : 2003

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                                  06.12.2007 21:22
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                                  Great book, may take some effort

                                  After recently reading Vikram Seth's novel I would definately recommend it to other readers.
                                  It does take some time to get into the storyline but once you get to grips with it it's very in depth and you almost feel as if you know the characters involved. If you are someone who has been in love you can understand Lata's feelings for the gorgeous and thrilling Kabir as well as sympathising with the lovestruck Maan.
                                  I found the only let down to the book was sometimes the overcomplicated references to India's court and government. Although it didn't stop the underlying story being gripping and full of emotion, there are parts to make you both laugh and cry.
                                  Overall a great novel. well worth the effort it sometimes takes to read.

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