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Book Review: Harry Potter: The Character Vault by Jody Revenson

Published 25th September by Titan Books.

26805823Goodreads Synopsis: Unlock new information about your favourite characters from the Harry Potter movies with this definitive coffeetable book profiling the good, the bad, and everything in between within the Harry Potter universe. Dive into the personal journeys of beloved Harry Potter heroes, and an insightful look at the motivations and actions of the films’ most notorious and complicated villains.

Concept art, behind-the-scenes imagery, and film stills track everyone from Harry, Hermione, and Ron to Dobby, Mad-Eye Moody, and Dolores Umbridge, telling their complete stories as they evolve throughout the film series. A comprehensive collection of the movies’ beloved characters, this beautifully designed book is the ultimate Harry Potter character overview.

My Review: I know I mostly review fiction here, but when I was offered the chance to review this from the lovely people at Titan Books, I jumped at the chance to be able to share my thoughts on this gorgeous book!output_iQj2ur

Of course, I grew up with Harry Potter, and the stories will always hold a special place in my heart. However, I recently realised I hadn’t actually read the books or watched the films in a long time. After poring over this book over a few hours, I’m really eager to get back into the wizarding world again. It’s given me some serious nostalgia.IMG_6226

The Character Vault wasn’t actually quite what I thought it was going to be; I had assumed it would be a compendium of information about the characters, like a cute fact file. It was actually more heavily focussed on the development of the visual representations of them in the films – especially their wardrobe designs. So, not what I’d expected, but it was still fantastic to read through!


All of the artsy, behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into creating films interests me, so naturally every aspect of this book really appealed to me. Reading about how all of the iconic costumes for the main characters were developed was so fascinating – and this book takes its time to go very in-depth, into how both costume designers and actors collaborated on aesthetics and looks. Every few characters, there’s some stunning spreads of concept artwork too. Cue flailing.


The book is split into rough sections – from school students, to professors, to the order of the phoenix. Each character has between two to four pages of movie stills, character sketches and art design details. Every page is a visual feast, beautifully presented and incredibly fun, whether you’re reading every detail or simply flicking through the pages. Also, there’s a little bonus poster in the back, aaaah!


Overall, Harry Potter: The Character Vault has definitely reignited my love for Harry Potter and now I want to go and reread and re-watch everything! This is the perfect gift book for a fan, especially one who’s into film making, as it provides such a fantastic insight into how the most iconic characters of the world were created. It’s a gorgeous book, perfect for leafing through when you’re in a Harry Potter mood.

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of Harry Potter: The Character Vault from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.


Book Review: All About Pumpkin by Natasha Farrant

The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby #3 | Read my review of book one, After Iris, here

Published September 2015 by Faber.

24321595Goodreads Synopsis: It’s the summer holidays and Flora has gone off with Dad to the exotic set of his new film and Mum is at home having a much-needed rest with baby Pumpkin. Bluebell, Twig and Jas have been sent to stay with Grandma at Horsehill in the countryside.

With Grandma keen that the children get as much fresh air as possible, they are sent off on bikes to go wild swimming and befriend the boys next door. With so much freedom, they can’t help but get into trouble, and Grandma doesn’t seem to be as capable as looking after them as she should be…

My Review: I’ve been a fan of Natasha Farrant since the first book in this series, After Iris – so I was really excited when I was offered the chance to review the third title, especially as it’s being published in the new cover style that the whole series is being re-modelled with. Isn’t it pretty?!

Like the previous two books in the series, All About Pumpkin is half transcripts from Bluebell’s filming, and half diary entry. I love the format so much, and I always say that when I’m talking about these books – I just think it’s such a good idea, and Farrant writes both formats so brilliantly! The film transcripts are so much fun, and always very witty.

In this instalment of the series, the latest member of the family, Pumpkin, has been born – and he’s taking up everybody’s time. Bluebell’s dad and eldest sister are in New Zealand, and unable to cope, her mum sends her and her younger siblings off to their grandma’s so she can cope with just the new baby – but inevitably, being the Gadsby family, things always end up going a little wrong.

I honestly can’t find the words to describe how much I love the Gadsby family, and these books – each one has a completely fresh-feeling, fun plot. Natasha Farrant is leading the way in children’s fiction – her books are so entertaining, and I love escaping into the fictional family’s antics for a while so much. Although the Bluebell Gadsby books have their fair share of emotional bits, there’s an equal amount of hilarious moments – Farrant has got the balance of the two perfect. I also really enjoyed the way that Farrant explored the Gadsby family in All About Pumpkin, as I feel like it put a lot of focus on the younger siblings, like Jasmine, who is so loveable.

Overall, I really enjoyed All About Pumpkin – it was actually the one book that managed to get me out of a month-long reading slump! It’s such a joy to revisit these characters, and I’m really looking forward to the next in the series – they feel like such timeless classics and I love to read them no matter what mood I’m in. I really recommend All About Pumpkin, and all three books so far if you haven’t tried them yet – as they’re just such fantastic reads, no matter what genre or age category you usually might stick to.

My Rating:


I received a copy of All About Pumpkin from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Books About Books: An Infographic

I haven’t made an infographic in a while, so I picked a random topic and played around a bit on my favourite graphics creator – enjoy! Open the image in a new tab for a better quality.IMG_5551

Do you have any favourite similar books, that have fictional worlds within fictional worlds? 🙂

UKMG Extravaganza Blog Tour: An Interview With Julia Lee!

You may have heard of the UKYA or UKMG extravaganzas – two massive events happening very soon with an unbelieveable amount of authors! I’m so sad I can’t make it to either of them, as they’re too far up norf’ for me to get to, but I’m lucky enough to get the next best experience – I’m part of the UKMG Extravaganza’s blog tour!

I’ve been paired with Julia Lee, who’s the author of award-nominated books for children. Exciting, right? 😀 I sent Julia over some questions about MG books, and I love her answers so much! Before we get to the interview, though, here’s a little more detail about Julia –

charney 1 (1)Julia Lee has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. She grew up in London, studied English at university, and has an MA in Creative Writing. She has worked in education and for children’s charities. She lives at the seaside and writes at a transparent glass desk, not helped by a cat who chews the computer leads and adds lots of xxxxxs to whatever she is writing.

Julia writes mystery adventures for 9-12 year olds which have been described as ‘Dahl meets Dickens’ and ‘like an anarchic Frances Hodgson-Burnett’. Her first book, The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth, was shortlisted for a number of prizes including the 2014 Booktrust Best Book Awards. Her latest book features a hopeless housemaid-turned-detective.

So, here we go, enjoy the interview…

GW: Hi Julia! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books?

JL: Hi Georgia! Thank you for being my host on the UKMG Extravaganza blog-tour.

I write Middle Grade fiction – natch – but became a children’s writer almost by accident. I was stuck on a novel for grown-ups, so I did what lots of writers do when they’re feeling a bit down about a current piece of work: I had a look at some other stuff in my computer files to see if it was any good.  I found a story I’d written purely for fun, when my kids were about the right age to read it – but I’d never had the courage to show it to them. (They’re a tough audience.) It galloped along with lots of cliff-hanging moments and questions to be solved, and made me laugh. And it became The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth. That makes the process sound suspiciously easy, but it wasn’t!

My books are adventure mysteries with a bit of comedy thrown in, oh, and lots of animals. The first two, Clemency Wrigglesworth, and The Dangerous Discoveries of Gully Potchard, are set in dark and dastardly Victorian times. They feature travelling theatre folk, rags and riches, nasty villains, wicked crimes and thrilling escapes.

18277705Now I’m working on a series set just after World War One. Its heroine, Nancy Parker, is a 14-year-old who dreams of being a detective – she reads lots of sixpenny crime thrillers – but on leaving school has to take the first job she can get, which is as a housemaid. And, strangely enough J, this lowly position is just the right place to spot a crime.

When not writing – or thinking about writing (I know it doesn’t look like work, people, but it is!) – I spend far too much time reading. Also I love walking on any beach, anywhere, and always come back with my pockets full of interesting pebbles. I’m good at whistling, useless at finding things I’ve just put down somewhere, and if I had a super-power it would be to look at people and make them think, ‘Oh, I’ve just got to get a book…’ in the same way they go, ‘Oh, I’ve just got to get a coffee…’
Your next book, Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection, is released in March 2016. What was your favourite thing about writing it, or your favourite part to write?

Half the book is made up of Nancy’s diary entries. I haven’t written anything like this before and I had really good fun with her voice, and her writing style, including spelling mistakes and crossings-out. She draws jokey sketches, writes lists, and notes down anything that could be evidence. My editor, Liz Cross at OUP, encouraged me to go to town on this aspect. It was so exciting to see how the book’s designer and illustrator turned my fuzzy ideas into gorgeous reality.
Do you want readers of Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection to take away a particular message from it?

It’s a fun book so it doesn’t have a deep message. But I have lightly scattered in some social history of the time: about girls and education, women and work, the sad after-effects of the War, but also the thrill of exciting new things like films, flying, and 1920s fashion – shorter skirts and bobbed hair! And my books always have a clash of cultures. Children from privileged and poorer backgrounds meet and find out some unexpected truths about each other and the world. So really that’s questioning the tired old stereotypes about people whose experience is far from yours.

And I don’t think there should be ‘girls’ books’ and ‘boys’ books’. Books are for whoever wants to read them. I always try to create appealing lead characters of both sexes. They’re not incredibly brave or talented or clever – like most of us! So I have to come up with ways to make them ingenious, work out their own strengths, and get together to solve problems even if they make some nerve-shredding mistakes along the way.
What do you love about middle grade fiction?20559211

The best ones take you on a roller-coaster of emotion and suspense but are so life-affirming. They help you to love and trust the good in fellow human beings (and animals!) The endings aren’t just a total happy cop-out; there can be quite a challenge there, but always the reassurance that good can triumph over bad.

And they often make you laugh – not always out loud – but a sort of smiley ‘hrmmph’. A smiley hrmmph is a very good sign.
Did any MG books inspire you to write in that age category?

With my first children’s book I was writing just for me and had no clear idea what age-group it was aimed at. I left that up to my agent and the publishers. But always in the back of my mind were The Wolves Chronicles by Joan Aiken. Fantastic historical world-building and memorable characters. I tried to put some of their vibrant spirit and sprightly language into my fiction.
Are you currently working on a new project?

Yes! I’ve just been given the go-ahead to write two more detective books featuring Nancy Parker. Plus I’m finishing a non-funny book set in the 18th century, based on a strange-but-true story. So watch this space.
And finally… Have you read any awesome middle grade books recently that you want to give a shout out to? 🙂

Erm – have you seen the rest of the amazing line-up of authors for UKMGX?? Can we start there?

Also, shamefully, I’d never heard of the late Eva Ibbotson until a couple of years ago and now love her books – they’re in the classic children’s lit style.  The one I’ve read most recently is The Star of Kazan.
I love Eva Ibbotson! I haven’t read any of her books in ages, but I definitely recommend them too. Thanks for visiting the blog, Julia!

Be sure to check out some of the other posts on the UKMG blog tour and spread some love. Here’s a handy schedule!

If you’re interested about Julia Lee’s books and want to find out more, you can visit her at @julialeeauthor and!

Reasons to Read: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I was ecstatic when I was given the chance to read Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo’s latest book. It’s beautifully written and riveting and I can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks of it. I could ramble on about it forever in a generic review post – but here’s a short summary of why you need to go find a copy right now, in a graphic form. Enjoy! Click for a larger image.


I received a copy of Six of Crows from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Paragraphs to Pictures: YA Books That Would Make Awesome Graphic Novels

Recently, I’ve really wanted to start creating more blog posts about graphic novels, but as I haven’t read many recently, I was stuck for ideas.

I was sitting in front of my bookshelves brainstorming. Then it came to me, inspired partially by the recent news of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses getting a graphic novel adaptation. I started pulling a few books off of shelves and re-imagining them. What if some of my favourite YA books were graphic novels? What would they be like in that format?

So here we go! Five (very different) much-loved YA books – plus why I think they’d be great as comics or graphic novels.


Banished by Liz de Jager – I love Banished and Vowed to bits and can’t wait for the third and final book. I had to include this book in the post! It’s easily one of my favourite Urban Fantasies, ticking all the boxes for a great graphic novel too; a riveting plot, a terrific fantastical world, awesome mythical creatures, and a gothic fantasy vibe to rival Guillermo Del Toro’s works. Also, of course, Kit Blackhart is a super kick-butt protagonist that would be amazing in a comic or graphic novel. Buffy who?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – This has a richly imaginative, almost steampunk-y fantasy feel to them. I really love the concept of the book, and being set in a future Oxford, would the setting not look gorgeous in a graphic novel? I haven’t yet read the sequel, but there are going to be seven books (I think). I can kinda see it as a comic series. Maybe I’m going too far away from The Bone Season’s genre, but I thought Joe Benitez would be a cool illustrator.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – This is quite an obvious choice! Comics have a large influence in this book, and if you put together all the fan art on the internet for Eleanor and Park I’m pretty sure you’d have a complete graphic novel anyway! Eleanor and Park would make a fantastic contemporary graphic novel and wouldn’t it be cool if it was drawn by Noelle Stevenson? (She illustrated the cover & inside cover of Fangirl!)

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan – The inventive Sci-Fi / Dystopia setting of this book would be perfect in a graphic novel format. Natasha Ngan’s books are so memorable for their incredible worlds. The Memory Keepers is set in a future London with a huge development gap, where human memories are traded like a currency. If this were a graphic novel, I could see it being in the same vein as the extraordinary Fray by Joss Whedon.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – This might sound like a strange choice, but it was one of the first books I thought of. I think the format of the book, which is largely flashbacks of Mia and Adam’s romance, could be told really beautifully through illustrations. As the ‘present’ in the book is Mia in an out-of-body experience, that could be portrayed really interestingly in a graphic novel. My instant thought was a black-and-white world in the hospital, but Mia (out of her body) walking around, drawn in colour.

Noughts and Crosses, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and The Graveyard Book are three YA books I know to have been adapted recently. I hope to see more in the future!

What books do you think would make great graphic novels?

#WearableBooks: Book-O-Masks by Lemke & Lentz!

Not my usual book review post…

A few weeks ago, I received this book in the post. At first, seeing the edges of a cardboard book, I thought it must be a baby book, sent to me by accident. It wasn’t… but it wasn’t like anything I usually read or review either. As soon as I saw the title I recognised it from Twitter and started laughing. The Book-O-Masks is pure GENIUS.


This is one of two books in its series being published this month – the other is Book-O-Beards. 

Illustrated by Lentz and with witty captions written by Lemke, this book is weirdly one of the most entertaining books I’ve seen! It’s perfect as a gift or stocking filler especially for kids – even at fifteen I was giggling a lot at it – but from what you can see below, it’s got some appeal for adults!

The ‘wearable books’ idea is brilliant – check below for my mum modelling some of the pages. (She asked to model, btw, very eagerly. She’s excited to make her blogging début.)

IMG_5678 IMG_5679

We did take pictures of every page of the short book, but we’ll leave it to you to go find a copy of it and have a go yourself! Curious Fox Books is talking about these books a lot on social media, so check out more funny pictures from readers using the hashtag #WearableBooks on Twitter and Instagram.

I received a copy of Book-O-Masks from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: All of the Above by James Dawson

Published September 2015 by Hot Key Books.

23156540Goodreads Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly…love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

My Review: I’ve been excited about this book for such a long time. I’ve been a fan of James Dawson’s books ever since his first horror novels – to see him delving into another genre is really exciting, and he’s done so excellently!

I adore how Dawson writes his characters, and All of the Above definitely has some of his best. I loved the friendship group the story is centered around so, so much – each character was really unique and although the book wasn’t that long, each character was really well developed and explored. Kudos to James for writing a great story where characters just happen to be queer / PoC, without the story being entirely about that. We need more books like this.

I really loved Toria, she was an incredibly relatable protagonist – from her tumblring to her exam pressure, to her process of figuring life out, she just really resonated with me, so I’m sure she’s going to be well received by other readers. Polly was an awesome character: Strong willed, stubborn and completely wild, she felt like a mash-up of John Green’s Margot and Alaska, though was completely unique.

The romance side of the book is brilliant – Toria falls for the local band’s lead singer, Nico, and for a while things are going great. But Polly, Toria’s best friend, is beginning to mean something else to her. The relationships felt so raw and realistic. I think the ways they progressed was perfect, and beautifully written.

The back of the physical copy of the book says “It would be neater, wouldn’t it, if this was a story about self harm or sexuality or eating disorders or ridiculously hot bass players, but it’s a story about all of them. Yeah, it’s a mess. And it’s about to get messier.” Sidenote: Most fantastic blurb ever. And the fact that ‘it’s a mess’ is the reason this book stands out. So much happens. There are parts that will make you grin from ear to ear. There are parts that hit you really hard, parts that will make you cry. Some elements are wrapped up perfectly at the end. Some things are never resolved. But that’s the best thing about it – it’s not sugar-coated and nothing is perfect. And that’s what makes this book perfect.

Overall, All of the Above was an exceptional book, and I can tell it’s going to be loved and related to by a lot of teenagers. As much as I loved James Dawson’s horror YA, (and would love to read more of the genre from him again) I can tell his ‘phase two’ is going to be awesome. Dawson covers so many topics in this book, and so well, it’s admirable. I really recommend this, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

My Rating:four

I received a copy of All of the Above from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

Published 3rd September 2015 by Walker books.



Goodreads Synopsis: How many times can you lose the person you love?
A powerful and epic début novel for teenagers about reincarnation and the timelessness of first love from a talented young writer.
Teenagers Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.
But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?
Maybe the next together will be different…

My Review: When I first heard about this book I wasn’t too sure I’d read it – the idea of two lovers being reborn over & over throughout history reminded me a lot of an old favourite, Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. But then I read into it more, and saw that beautiful cover, and was offered the chance to review it for LoveReading4Kids – I jumped at the opportunity to.

I was hooked from the opening pages. The story is split between multiple time periods and the reincarnations of Katherine and Matthew in each one; from 2039 to 1745. With each life, they fall in love, affect historical events – and are separated again, to be born again. The stories are all told, uniquely, through not just usual writing but notes between the characters, maps, articles and letters. I loved the format. It made for such a unique reading experience. I thought I’d struggle to keep up with the multiple plots, but it was quite easy to read and Lauren James’s writing is so engrossing.

Technically, we see four reincarnations of the same characters in the same book! James has written them fantastically; no matter what time period, their personalities shine through (Katherine being pretty funny in many places. I had to suppress laughing out loud on a packed train) – though they’re also quite different in each year. I’m always pretty cynical when it comes to romance books but Lauren James has written these characters and their chemistry so so well.

As I did mention, I’ve seen a story done like this before, but this book still felt highly original and compelling – from the perfectly crafted, pulse-raising plot to the instantly loveable and beautifully written characters. There’s an almost sinister, underlying feeling to the plot, as there are mysterious computer-input-type messages throughout such as “objective achieved” / “intervention recommended.” It had me thinking all the way through as to what they could mean! It made quite an intriguing mystery on the side of the main events – it’s linked, but I’ll stop talking about it now…

Overall, I have to say this is the most stunning début of 2015 so far… Or maybe even a while longer. Lauren James is definitely an author to watch out for; her writing is astounding and the plot she has crafted is a rich blend of Sci-Fi, history and romance that is an absolute joy to read. It’s a gripping, emotional roller-coaster that I highly recommend looking out for.

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of The Next Together from the publisher, via LoveReading4Kids, for review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.


Literary Amsterdam

For lack of a better title… 😛


So if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen I went to Amsterdam a few weeks ago. It was the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to, and I feel really lucky to have had the chance to wander around the streets and the canals for four days. I thought I might make a blog post about what I read while I was there and all the literary things I saw. Plus a slightly less related arty thing, because why not?

A bit of a jumble of a post – but without further ado, here’s all of the literary-related things that happened in Amsterdam.

#1 – Anne Frank HuisIMG_4130

(I didn’t manage to get many great photos of the outside of Anne Frank’s house sadly – this photo’s mainly the modern building neighbouring it)

We queued from two hours before the house’s opening, just to make sure we could visit, on our last day in Amsterdam. It felt incredibly surreal when we were inside – climbing the stairs Anne Frank and her family did; walking through the rooms they stayed in for so long in hiding. It was so saddening to read about the terrible things that happened to them in the place where they actually had been, years ago.

At the end of the walk around Anne Frank Huis, there’s a room with glass casing in the walls. Inside, there are loose pages from one of Anne Frank’s rewrites of her diaries, mounted on the wall. And in the middle of the room; the famous diary itself, opened on a page crammed with her writing, and a photo of herself.

It didn’t feel real to be seeing it, the original diary that’s been read by so many millions of people, right in front of me. It’s an experience I will never, ever forget: it’s both beautiful and heartbreaking to see Anne Frank’s writing get the fame she always wished for.

#2 – The ‘TFiOS Bench’IMG_3894IMG_3893

Although it wasn’t the original bench Augustus and Hazel sat on in the movie (believe it or not, that got stolen! This one’s the replacement), I dragged my family around the smaller streets of Amsterdam to find it. I figured that because when we went the first time, (yup we went twice) the street would be empty – but both times we were there, and the times we passed the street, there was always a group of people there. Taking photos of themselves on the bench, talking about the book, or writing their names or quotes on the bench. It was pretty incredible, seeing how so many people visit it. It’s like a pilgrimage for John Green fans or something.

Although we didn’t spend long there (more people kept appearing, wanting photos too!) it did feel quite special to watch the view Augustus and Hazel (fictionally) looked over in the most important scene of the film, and to read everyone’s writing on the seat. I love the plaque that’s been put on it.

#3 – Van Gogh MuseumIMG_3701

The queue for this museum was crazy, but I don’t regret waiting such a long time to see so much of Van Gogh’s work at all. Van Gogh is one of those artists I’ve always admired but never fully appreciated, but seeing the brush strokes up close and reading about his life in the Netherlands was really incredible. My favourite part was seeing Sunflowers (not just because of Doctor Who, honestly). I actually didn’t realise it was such a large painting, and it’s ten times better up close.

Holiday Reads:


ONLY EVER YOURS by Louise O’Neill – I finally bought a copy of this at YALC, and after hearing O’Neill talk about it, I couldn’t wait to read it much longer. It was really eerie and unsettling, but it carries a really important message. And if you look at some of the events in this book, they’re not all too different from life today. And that’s terrifying.IMG_3898

COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE by Haruki Murakami – After reading many glowing reviews of Murakami’s books, and being pulled in by the spectacular covers, I purchased this one completely at random. Emotionally taut and depressing, yet vaguely optimistic, Murakami’s writing has quickly become a favourite. I’m really looking forward to reading more of his books.

Also, the Best Purchase Ever Made:


Posable William Shakespeare figure with a book of illustrated Shakespeare puns.

Best. Three. Euros. Ever. Spent.