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

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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

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

Book Talk | Writing Book Reviews!

book talk;writing bookreviews.jpg

I’m still experimenting with these cover pictures so let me know if you like it or not!

When I took my blogging hiatus, book reviews were one of the main reasons why. I felt under an enormous pressure to get them written, and I also started falling into a repetitive structure of writing them, and this was getting me down because the reviews weren’t turning out how I wanted them to; I wanted them to be different and varied between the books, not monotonous so people were reading my reviews and they could be interchangeable with each book.  Continue reading

Book Review: Shattered by Teri Terry

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Ignore how weird my thumb looks… Dx

Kyla was Slated: her mind was wiped clean by the government. When forbidden memories of a violent past began to surface, so did doubts: could she trust those to care for, like Ben? Helped by friends in MIA, she goes undercover, searching for her past and evading authorities who want her dead. But the truth Kyla seeks is more shocking than she imagined as the Slated trilogy concludes. – from back of book, modified.

 

Okay. O-kay. So this is a review of the last in the Slated trilogy and is the only review I’ve done of them, for two reasons. 1) I’m lazy and procrastinate book reviews all the time and didn’t get around to it. 2) These are easy books to forget! I got lost in character names and the plot. So when it’d been a couple of months, I knew I’d only be able to do a vague review, so I just didn’t do one. But not this time! Mwhahaha.

Continue reading

Guest Review: Teardrop by Lauren Kate//By Victoria

Teardrop by Lauren Kate is simply amazing. When I checked Teardrop and its companion novel, Waterfall out from the library, I wondered if I would like them. I definitely did. The first chapter of the book was kind of confusing and started with a guy named Ander and how he saved a high schooler named Eureka’s life. Apparently, Ander stalks Eureka and is urged by his people to kill her. He also happens to know every detail of Eureka’s life. Creepy, right? In the next chapter, the narrator zooms in on Eureka and her thoughts. I personally do not prefer such a sudden main character switch in the beginning, but after a while, everything made sense because Eureka was just as lost in her world as a reader would be. I was amazed by even without having to have Eureka narrate the passage, I could understand her feelings just as well.

Eureka was told by her mother not to cry, ever. Sometimes, Eureka gets jealous since other people can express their emotions so freely but Eureka must never cry. In a car accident on a bridge, Eureka’s mother died. In her will, she leaves Eureka a letter, a thunderstone, and a book that’s written in a language no one happens to understand. Eureka’s best friend, Cat (she’s not a real cat, she’s a person) has a friend who leads them to find a fortune teller. Ander warns Eureka that her other best friend, Brooks, is dangerous. What’s more interesting is that Brooks warns Eureka that Ander is bad too. In the storybook Eureka’s mother gave her, a woman named Selene is engaged to King Atlas but then runs off with his little brother, Leander, instead. Leander eventually breaks Selene’s heart. Eureka, Brooks, and Ander each play a part in the story. Ander’s relatives, the Seedbearers want to kill Eureka since her tears can bring back Atlantis, the evil city where Selene’s tears destroyed. I knew from the beginning Ander and Eureka would fall in love and the Seedbearers were obviously bad. However, I did not anticipate the Seedbearers would murder Eureka’s stepmother to attempt to kill Eureka, since they were supposedly doing “good things”.

Normally books are either kind of boring (e.g. Yay! That boy loves me! or What can I do to get his attention?) but sometimes they’re full of action (e.g. Oh no! A monster is coming in five days and I will try to save everyone! The monster arrives and I lost all my energy defeating him.) My personal favorites are the ones which the characters where are fighting but don’t engage in some kind of bloody combat most of the time. Teardrop matched the criteria perfectly. Books that are similar to Teardrop include The Maze Runner, Free to Fall, and Waterfall.


I love reading and writing things!  If I read a good book, I can pretty much guarantee by the end of the day it’s finished! I love writing because it’s a great way to share my ideas with a lot of people quickly.  One of my favorite parts of writing is thinking of a creative name that matches my story.

Website: thepowerinwriting.wordpress.com


Click here for an opportunity to guest post yourself! 😀

Book Review: Escape from Shangri-La by Michael Morpurgo

TITLE: Escape from Shangri-La
AUTHOR: Michael Morpurgo
PUBLISHER: Egmont Press
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 1998
NUMBER OF PAGES: 207
PRICE: £4.99
ISBN: 9781405226707
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought in a box set
RATING: 4/5


Everything was normal until a stranger turned up on the doorstep and said he was Cessie’s grandfather. He’s great, until he starts forgetting things and has to go to a nursing home. Cessie misses him a lot, but she still doesn’t understand the mystery of something he kept on saying: “Don’t let me go to Shangri-La, Cessie.”

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while and I got through it pretty quickly. It was a warm and friendly story, about family and love and history, as much of Morpurgo’s works are. I didn’t feel that involved with this story, however, but I did enjoy it.

The plot is simple but effective: stranger on the door, mysterious place he doesn’t want to go, and then… argh, this is hard, that’s a great spoiler.

Escape from Shangri-La talks a lot about WWII and it’s based around the D-Day landings and the boats which were used, which is how the climax of the plot happens. Something I really like about Morpurgo’s work is that he takes unknown characters and/or situations and puts them into big historical events. There were so many boats on D-Day that a lot are often forgotten about, and he takes one of these “forgotten” (read: fictionalised, in this instance (at least, I think)) boats and makes them real and remembered.

I didn’t really get “into” the characters, aside from Cessie’s granddad as I loved the history and romance aspect. To be honest, I think one of the biggest character developments came from a very minor character!

Escape from Shangri-La is a nice little kid’s book, but I wouldn’t suggest it for older teens and/or adults like some of his other works (such as Dear Olly or Cool, which, although they are totally kids books, are great for adults too especially if you’re trying to explain something to both yourself and a child (Dear Olly deals with physical disability and Cool deals with a child in a coma)). It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.