Archive for the ‘Out of this world’ Category
After 11 years of disregard and neglect at the hands of his aunt, uncle and their swinish son Dudley, Harry suddenly receives a visit from a giant named Hagrid, who informs Harry that his mother and father were a witch and a wizard, and that he is to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry himself. Most surprising of all, Harry is a legend in the witch world for having survived an attack by the evil sorcerer Voldemort, who killed his parents and left Harry with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. And so the fun begins, with Harry going off to boarding school like a typical English kid only his supplies include a message-carrying owl and a magic wand. There is enchantment, suspense and danger galore (as well as enough creepy creatures to satisfy the most bogeymen-loving readers, and even a magical game of soccerlike Quidditch to entertain sports fans) as Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione plumb the secrets of the forbidden third floor at Hogwarts to battle evil and unravel the mystery behind Harry’s scar.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
Stephanie′s uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn′t fiction.
Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.
When all hell breaks loose, it′s lucky for Skulduggery that he′s already dead. Though he′s about to discover that being a skeleton doesn′t stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there′s anything Skulduggery hates, it′s torture… Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing′s for sure: evil won′t know what′s hit it.
Returning to the Enchanted Wood and the Faraway Tree, where acorns and chestnuts and cherries and apples grow side by side and you never know where you might end up if you climb to the top, it doesn’t take long for siblings Joe, Beth and Frannie to find themselves knee-deep in wonder. Helping them to do so in this tale is Cousin Rick who comes to stay when his mother falls ill. Before long, they have hooked their cousin with stories of Birthday Land, Toy Land, and the weird and wonderful characters who live in and around the Faraway Tree.
There’s Moon-Face, who always seems to know what awaits, Silky the Fairy and Saucepan Man, who’s both deaf as a post and accident-prone. Magic lingers on every page, from the endless feasts and picnics to the huge market place known as the Land of Spells. There’s even a giant slide that snakes its way around and down the inside of the tree, to save the bother of climbing down when exhausted by adventuring.
Things can – and do – go wrong for the young heroes of the story. There’s always the possibility of ending up somewhere dangerous from where they cannot escape. One scrape has them deciding they’ve had enough adventures and they make a conscious decision to stay away. Of course, its not for long and they soon find themselves in the Land of Dreams, where muffins turn into kittens and surreal events conspire to frighten them away until they’re tempted back by the obvious attractions of the Land of Do-As-You-Please.