Book Review | Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw

I am delighted to be sharing this book review working alongside with David Fickling Books for the Outwalkers Brexit Book Tour. This timely dystopian novel looks at borders, freedom, and loyalty. You can read my full (unbiased, as always) review below.

I was gifted this book by the publisher in exchange for a review. As always, all opinions are my own.


Continue reading “Book Review | Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw”
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Book Review | The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

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Mrs Ascher in Andover; Betty Barnard in Bexhill; Mr Carmichael Clarke in Churston; a serial killer is on the loose. He’s sending letters to one Hercule Poirot, but even one of the world’s best sleuths is struggling to catch him. The only link is the alphabet – can Poirot catch him before he gets to Z?

I initially picked this book up because the BBC adapted The ABC Murders into a three-part series and I wanted to read it before I saw it! It wasn’t quite like the other Christie’s I’ve read – I’m normally completely entrapped, but this one took a lot longer to grab my attention.

Continue reading “Book Review | The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie”

Book Review | Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo

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1915. War with Germany has been raging, but the Isles of Scilly are largely unaffected. That is, until a girl washes up on the shore of one of the islands, and rumours about her begin to circulate. A stunning story about love, justice, community, surprisingly poignant for the modern day.

Michael Morpurgo, if you didn’t know, is one of my absolutely favourite authors, and this wonderful book of his definitely did not disappoint.

Continue reading “Book Review | Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo”

Book Review | The White Book by Han Kang

39220683The White Book is a book of poetry and prose, exploring mourning, rebirth, and the human spirit. It’s a mediation on colour, a presentation of photography, and an investigation into human life. Translated by Deborah Smith. 

The White Book is an unusual book because it’s not really a ‘book’… or a ‘book of poetry’, either. It’s a collection of experimentation, a kind of therapy put onto paper if you’d like.

Let’s just start by saying that, despite whatever I say from here on, I did really like this book. It wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing!

I feel like this book is very biographical. It talks a lot about Han Kang’s mourning for her lost siblings, for her mother and father, and for her life before. It takes place predominantly when she is living away from home and I think that this really gave us an interesting scope from which to look from, as both us and the author were looking at her home from outsider lenses, as Han Kang finally looked back at her past.

It’s quite short – many of the pages are just blank and some of the writings are quite short, so it’s really quick and easy to get through too.

This book is, mostly, fascinating. It’s writing for the sake of writing – some people might like this, and some don’t. It’s therapy writing, and going through a lot of grief myself so far this year, I really connected with some of her writing. However… it’s a book that I forgot very quickly. I guess that gives me an excuse to read it again soon!

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads
Source: bought from Waterstone’s


If you liked this, you might also like…. Standing Female Nude by Carol Ann Duffy

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Book Review | A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

34609221Hazel and Daisy have left England and set out to Hong Kong for the mourning period of Hazel’s grandfather who passed away. When they arrive, Hazel just looks forward to spending time with her family and her father in particular. But when they reach her home, she has a very nasty surprise. Before she can even get over this, tragedy strikes, not once, but twice. With criminal gangs, new maids they’re not sure they can trust, and a wholly different culture to what the Honourable Daisy Wells is used to, this might be the Detective Society’s most challenging case yet. 

I absolutely LOVE the Wells and Wong series. It’s such a brilliant series, and in all honesty, it just keeps on getting better.

This one takes place in Hong Kong, which is a place I’ve never been to myself, and I loved learning about the different culture. Stevens has researched very thoroughly, and she took a research trip there herself, so I feel like what she says can be trusted. It felt like I could see and hear Hong Kong, and the descriptions were so rich, as per!

I don’t want to say too much about the case itself, (spoilers!) but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing. The stakes in this one seemed to be very much higher than what they used to be, and how Stevens will top this I do not know! (She will find a way.) I didn’t work it out long before Hazel and Daisy themselves, so it was a case that had me guessing all the way through as well.

Basically, I just loved this book. Hazel and Daisy are two of my favourite literary heroines, and Robin Stevens honestly just keeps on getting better. I thought that the ending might have been a bit of a cop-out, but to be honest, it’s the best ending that there could be in order to finish the book appropriately. Overall? It was brilliant, and I would highly recommend this book and all of the others in the series.

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads
Source: bought from Amazon

Book Review | The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

34045334Ami lives with her mother on Culion Island, and whilst no one ever wants to come there, she is happy. That is, until Mr Zamora arrives from the mainland and throws the island into chaos. Being ‘Untouched’, Ami is forced to leave the island. It’s not long before she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies who wants to help her get home before it’s all too late. 

I absolutely adored Millwood Hargrave’s The Girl of Ink and Stars and I loved this book as well! Kiran writes young voices incredibly well – sometimes I feel like “oh, this is a bit young,” but then I remember that the narrator is actually a twelve year old girl and it’s suddenly so realistic!

The topics of the books – from leprosy to butterflies to friendship to family – were really interesting, and whilst I didn’t learn much I also learnt a lot at the same time, considering I knew barely anything about leprosy, for example, before reading this book.

The writing style is beautifully poetic, as was Millwood Hargrave’s debut novel. The descriptions of the islands she writes about are so vivid that sometimes I feel like I am actually there. Amihan was a brilliant narrator and a really feisty girl, and I adored her and Mari!

The reason why I didn’t mark this as 5/5 is down to a couple of reasons. The first is the homosexual undertones – I have felt this in both of Millwood Hargrave’s novels, both of which are narrated by girls who make very close friendships with other girls. I feel like these could both turn into homosexual relationships, and Millwood Hargrave’s writing is so frickin’ beautiful that it could really be turned into a stunning piece of romance. Whilst I completely understand why it’s not a romance, considering how young the protagonists are, some of the language used to describe the relationships and the friend of the narrator could be considered romantic!

The second is my reaction after reading (which actually has no bearing, I guess, on the book itself?? but I wanted to write about it). Whilst The Girl of Ink and Stars left me reeling and wanting to shove this book into everyone’s hands, The Island at the End of Everything left me slightly in love with Amihan, but with nothing else, really.

Having said all that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I was entranced in the world, and I’m sure it’s one I will re-read in the future to just be back on the island. Millwood Hargrave has some really great diversity in her books too which is a great boost especially considering the target audience (MG) and I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: Bought from Waterstone’s

Book Review | Cream Buns and Crime by Robin Stevens

31850657In this book of short stories, recipes, and handy facts and tips, Hazel, Daisy, Alexander, and even Beanie take us through more detectiveness in this collection.

Cream Buns and Crime isn’t my usual kind of book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s a collection of all sorts, and I had a really good time reading it.

Whilst the stories aren’t necessarily as high stake as in the novels, but they’re just as interesting! We have Hazel and Daisy’s first mystery; the story of the Deepdean Vampire (which since I first heard the title of this story I wanted to read); Alexander and George’s first story; and a story written from Beanie’s viewpoint as well!

The stories were just as enticing. I actually dropped this a star because I think it could have just been a book of short stories – I wish that there had been more of them.

I really liked all of the extra info in this. I found it really interesting to see some of the things behind Robin Stevens’ thoughts on how she wrote the books, and the literature that went into the novels. I definitely have some new mystery novels put onto my list!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think it’s a fun companion to the novels, although I don’t really have a lot to say about this considering I don’t usually review books like this! I can say that it has NO SPOILERS for the series, so you’re free to read this (apart from the quiz at the end!) at any point when you’re reading the books. However, I’d definitely recommend reading it later on in the series; it’s “set” in 1936 (some of the stories are different years, hence I say “set”), or about then, so Hazel and Daisy are for the most part already established detectives.

If you pick this up, I would recommend reading it after all of the books; or at least after books 1-4! And of course, I always recommend the Wells & Wong books.

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads
Source: Amazon

Review-Tainted Reading? | Book Talk

book20reviewI’ve been reviewing books I’ve read for a good while now, maybe a year or two. Considering how much I’ve read, I would say that’s nearly 200 reviews. And, since being a reviewer, I think the way I read has changed.

Before, I might read a book and say, “That! That was amazing!” and I’d move on. Now, I feel like during the actual reading process, and especially after, I’m scrutinising every word, every character, and I’m worried that being a reviewer is tainting how I read. (Perhaps ‘tainted’ is a bit strong, but it has changed how I read.)  Continue reading “Review-Tainted Reading? | Book Talk”

Mini Reviews! | TimeRiders & Summer Falls

Reviews for TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow and Summer Falls and Other Stories (A Doctor Who book) by James Goss and Justin Richards. 🙂

TimeRiders (TimeRiders #1) by Alex Scarrow

Maddy, Liam and Sal all have one thing in common: at the time they were meant to die, a man came along and offered them a choice. They could either die where they were meant to, or could be taken away and exist apart from humanity, working together to save the human race from themselves. Continue reading “Mini Reviews! | TimeRiders & Summer Falls”