Book Reviews, Mystery, no romance

Review – Scarlet and Ivy series

Scarlet and Ivy series

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Title: The Lost Twin (#1), The Whispers in the Walls (#2), The Dance in the Dark (#3) and The Lights under the Lake (#4)

Author: Sophie Cleverly

Genres: MG (Middle Grade) mystery

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Blurb (for the first book): Ivy, I pray that it’s you reading this. And if you are, well, I suppose you’re the new me…

When shy Ivy’s troublemaking twin Scarlet vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, Ivy is invited to “take her place.” But when Ivy arrives, she discovers the school’s true intention; she has to pretend to be Scarlet. She must think like Scarlet, act like Scarlet, become Scarlet. What on earth happened to the real Scarlet, and why is the school trying to keep it a secret?

Luckily for Ivy, Scarlet isn’t about to disappear without a fight. She’s left pieces of her journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find. Ivy’s going to figure out what happened to Scarlet. She’s got to.

But the staff of Rookwood is always watching, and they’ll do anything to keep their secrets buried…

Now, if you think this book is only for those below thirteen years old, you. are. so. wrong.

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“Where are your manners, Miss Grey?”
“Probably in the same place where you left yours.” –The Dance in the Dark, Sophie Cleverly

This book was actually a bit of a surprise for me, because I did come into this book (the first one) with the initial expectation that it was going to be a tad childish and cheesy, or something in between.

“Ivy, I pray that it’s you reading this.
And if you are, well, I suppose you’re the new me…” –The Dance in the Dark, Sophie Cleverly

I was completely blown away! It was so intriguing! I also loved the characters – Ivy and Ariadne are both really likeable people, and they’re pretty relatable too at times. Slight spoiler>Scarlet too<

“I can pick this… My governess used to shut me in the airing cupboard when I wouldn’t do my sums. But I was resourceful!” -Ariadne, The Dance in the Dark, Sophie Cleverly

I read the first three books in this series one after the other in a month, and it was one very enjoyable month, I’ll tell you that. I don’t want to talk too much about it, because otherwise there will be a lot of spoilers coming your way.

But I will tell you, that this series is amazing, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book I need to get to in the series, The Lights Under the Lake.


Have you read this book before? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it before, do you want to now?

Also, if you’re sure that this is not going to be the type of book for you/you’re age then why not recommend it to someone who you think will like this book?

Speak soon!

Book Reviews, Mystery, no romance

Review – The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society

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Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Author: Trenton Lee Stewart

Genres: MG (Middle Grade) Mystery

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Blurb: “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”

Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they’ll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you’re gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

“If we’re just trying to be accurate, then how about ‘The Doomed to Fail Bunch’?” said Constance. “Honestly! We can’t even name ourselves.”

Genre: From Goodreads: fiction, mystery, adventure, a tinge of fantasy

Here’s what Common Sense Media says about it:

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OHHH MYYY GOSHHH.

These books are AMAZING! Even now, years later after reading it (I read it when I was ten) I still love them. And I just got someone I know who’s 12 to read them, and she loved them too. And I just got someone who’s 15 to read them, and she loved them even more!

And I feel like these are one of the books that just aren’t famous enough! So spread the word, people!

It’s just… SUCH. A. GOOD. PLOT. Seriously.

“The missing aren’t missing, they’re only departed,
All minds keep all thoughts – so like gold – closely guarded,”

And 0% romance. Not even a tiny kiss. Sorry romantic-readers, you’re going to have to look elsewhere, for this one.

“Everything is as it should be.”

But for those of you who crave epic adventures with an awesome squad, if you haven’t read this book yet, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE, LADY (or guy).

And it’s not just that… it’s sooooo funny! Even after reading it for what, the third time, I still laugh over it. And books like that, where it’s just so… meaningful to you, it’s like your own memories… it’s just precious, that’s what.

“Children are capable of such open rudeness.”

“Poor Kate,” said Constance, “she’s lost her marbles.”

“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.” –

  • FANTASTICALLY AMAZINGLY BRILLIANTLY BEAUTIFUL PLOT
  • Characters you will LOVE
  • There are so many hilarious moments
  • There are so many memorable moments (the whole book, and even more for the whole four books)
  • It’s the perfect way to depart on a funny, memorable, well-written rollercoaster ride of an adventure while lazing on your sofa

And hey, Rick Riordan even read it!

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And if you don’t know who he is, I am seriously concerned for your well-being as a bookworm. Luckily, you have me to help you out 🙂 (click on the link of his name or here)

 


In short, this is 100% a book worth reading. And everyone I’ve recommended it to and read it have agreed with me too.

Have you read this book, if so, what did you think of it? Are you planning on reading this book anytime soon, if you haven’t? 

Book Reviews, YA fantasy

Review – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page count: 462 pages

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.


“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

This book was such an amazing read. One of the best books I’ve ever read. Ever (and my friend was just telling me “you always say that!” well, I do a lot of research on Goodreads before I actually pick up a book so as to ensure it will be a good read, but I have had my bad books too).

It’s just… such a clever book. I never failed to marvel at all of the tricks that took place. It never failed to stump me. This has still left me with some unanswered questions, >spoiler: like why Kaz fainted on the prison cart< and I cannot wait to read the second book, Crooked Kingdom.

~ characters ~

Can we talk about the characters? Cos I freaking love the characters! They’re just… so precious (I have a feeling I’ve said that before.. but trust me on this one!). Is it a surprise my favourite is Inej? She’s just… AMAZING, I love her!

“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”

I love the representation of kick-ass female characters in this book – Inej and Nina. It’s just nice to see it in books, as a teenage girl myself. I feel like there is still that stereotype of how females are somehow inferior to males… and it’s just 🙄

“Why don’t Fjerdans let girls fight?”
“They don’t want to fight.”
“How do you know? Have you ever asked one?”
“Fjerdan women are to be venerated, protected.”
“That’s probably a wise policy.”
“It is?”
“Think how embarrassing it would be for you when you got trounced by a Fjerdan girl.”

Kaz is definitely a very cool character but, do I like him? Not too much. I mean, he’s very smart, a very interesting character to read about, but personally a lot of the time I wanted to slap him in the face. Sorry.

“He’s horrible.”
“But effective. Being angry at Kaz for being ruthless is like being angry at a stove for being hot.”

Who knows, maybe I might come to like him more by the end of Crooked Kingdom.

Or maybe I’m just being harsh. I mean, >spoiler: he definitely has been through a lot, what with the traumatising experience of seeing his dead brother and such, it can only be expected that that would have a negative toll on any person<

I quite liked Jesper. I was kind of disappointed at, >spoiler: when he turned out to be the one that betrayed them<. But I guess I probably should have seen it coming since, >spoiler: he was in debt a lot and stuff, and I mean, people get tempted<. He’s so funny.

“Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.”

Mathias is, in my opinion, a somewhat complicated character. To be completely fair, you can’t exactly blame him, spoiler> what with Nina “betraying” him and all. In fact the entire relationship between Nina and Mathias is so complicated< I’d advise you to keep an eye on him throughout the book.

Wylan is a very likeable character. Spoiler> I think because he wasn’t so experienced with being a criminal really made him likeable. He seemed to act as the conscience for the whole group<

~ plot ~

The plot was just… amazing. It’s just so good.

“Six people, but a thousand ways this insane plan could go wrong.”

It’s quite complicated. If this is the sort of book you’re looking forward to reading when you’re tired and just want to enjoy a light and cheerful read while putting your feet up after a long day…

Stop right there.

Trust me, I tried, and a couple of paragraphs later I was completely confused and had to read back. And then I felt my mind slipping again, and was again at a loss of what was going on.

Your brain has to be turned on for this book. And it’s more fun that way, because then you can make all these wild guesses and theories about what happens next and still be totally wrong.

~ the writing ~

“She tilted her head back, breathing deeply. It was a stone gray day, the sea a bleak slate broken up by whitecaps, the sky pleated with thick ripples of cloud. A hard wind filled the sails, carrying the little boat over the waves.

‘It feels good to be this kind of cold,’ she murmured.

‘This kind?’

‘Wind in your hair, sea spray on your skin. The cold of the living.”

Yeah, about the writing… IT’S REALLY, REALLY GOOD?!!

There were moments where I was reading it and I was just wondering, how long did it take Leigh Bardugo to write this book? Every word is polished to perfection.

This book was crafted and carved to its finest. Sadly, I used a library book, but as soon as I can afford it, I will buy my own copy of this because the cover is so, so beautiful and I totally look forward to reading this again.

“The heat of the incinerator wrapped around Inej like a living thing, a desert dragon in his den, hiding from the ice, waiting for her. She knew her body’s limits, and she knew she had no more to give. She’d made a bad wager. It was as simple as that. The autumn leaf might cling to its branch, but it was already dead. The only question was when it would fall.”

There were some points where I read a word, phrase or sentence, and maybe because I’m a writer I pay more attention to things like this, but I read it over and over again because I was just so wowed by it.

I’m really glad I’ve read this now, and not when it came out, a year ago, because I have a feeling I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it as much as I can now. I recommend considering that before you start reading it 🙂

~ and if I haven’t yet convinced you to read this… ~


This book is such a beautiful masterpiece, and if it’s not clear already, I love it.

So, have I managed to convince you to read this book if you haven’t yet? If you have read it, what do you think about it? Do you agree/disagree with anything I said?

Speak soon!

Book Reviews, Classics

Review – The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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One of my favourite books. Ever.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

Title: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis: Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

This book, too, is about black rights in America. It’s more focused about the mistreatment of black maids, and I really, really, love it.

For me, this is one of those books that will just suck me in from the beginning and not let me go. I might be doing other things while in the process of reading it, but in the back of my mind, I’ll still be thinking about it, wondering about it.

Why do I love it so much?

  • it’s a very memorable book, it’s a read that will leave you thinking about it long after you have finished it

“All my life I’d been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine’s thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.”

  • it’s a very emotional (or touching) book, it had me in tears more than once

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, “Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”

  • it’s a very funny book, dealing with serious situations with a flair of comedy

“She’s wearing a tight red sweater and a red skirt and enough makeup to scare a hooker.”

  • the characters, are amazing, I LOVE THE CHARACTERS – Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter

“That’s what I love about Aibileen, she can take the most complicated things in life and wrap them up so small and simple, they’ll fit right in your pocket.”

  • its about women standing up for their years of being wronged over and over again because of their race, and it’s also about women being united together, whatever their race, which I love

“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”

  • it talks about the injustice of black people in the Mississippi, and how they dealt with all their grief and sorrows, and all the stories binding them together, and most importantly, the love

“All I’m saying is, kindness don’t have no boundaries.”


If you haven’t read this yet… do yourself a favour.

It’s probably my most favourite historical-fiction book ever, and historical-fiction is one of my favourite genres, so that’s saying a lot.

It’s one of those books that will leave you thinking about it long after you’ve read it.

Blog Updates

Blog Update – 26 November 2017

Hey guys!

Welcome back to another blog update! I cannot believe another week has rolled by again. Time has been flying (and still is!).

This week, I read Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoThe review for this will either come out on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on which day I decide to schedule it. Definitely something for you all to look forward to, as it is a long and lovely review for you all.

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I will tell you that I rated it 5/5 stars. If you haven’t read Six of Crows yet, I highly recommend staying tuned for my upcoming post, as it will ultimately persuade you to read it 🙂

I also started a book, but didn’t finish it, and don’t intend to. This would be…

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My younger sister read this book first, as I had recommended it to her since I had heard good stuff on it, and intended to read it but wanted to finish Six of Crows and possibly Cinder and Shadow and Bone first.

She absolutely loved it. She told me there was this massive plot twist that was so shocking, and 28 pages in, I guessed it. And honestly? I’m not alone.

But, that doesn’t mean you might not enjoy it. A lot of people still have.

It has around a 4.22 star rating on Goodreads, which is good. So if you are still interested in the book, and want to read it, I’m not trying to stop you. Go ahead. Let me know what you think 🙂

What am I currently reading? Cinder!

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To be fair I’m only 16 pages through and I’m already really loving it.  I’ve heard/seen some great things about it.

Some people do dislike it though. But there are always going to be some people who dislike a book since we all have our personal preferences.

I’m also reading Queen of Attolia, but I’m finding it quite slow at the moment, although it might possibly be because I haven’t been giving it an equal amount of attention. It is long, 420 pages, and it took a lot of time for me to complete Six of Crows.

I’m definitely looking forward to the outcome of both of my current reads, and will let you all know on that!

What am I planning on reading next?

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Book of the week?

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What should you expect next on this blog?

  • book review on Six of Crows
  • (maybe another poem?? let me know if you guys want to see another poem, as I’m not sure if I will or will not!)

What do you guys want to see next on this blog? Let me know!

Speak soon!

Writing

Poem – Something Calls

Hey guys!

In today’s post, I’m going to be doing something a little different to my other posts. I’m going to be sharing one of my poems with you 🙂

Now this poem is something I wrote a year or two back when I had just started getting into the jist of poetry. It recently got published in a book, chosen in the Young Writer’s Busta Rhyme competition.

The poem is called Something Calls. It is completely fictitious, like I didn’t write this because of any first-hand experiences or anything.

Here it is, and I hope you guys like it, please let me know if you do and if you would like to see more of my poetry/writing on this blog, as I may very well do so 🙂

Something Calls

Something calls to me,

From far, and beyond,

Upon this land,

Across that pond.

 

Something whispers,

A shiver crawls,

An ancient twitter,

A stretching drawl.

 

Something watches,

My every move,

It somehow knows me,

My every groove.

Even when torches,

Are shining bright,

I fee there is something,

Hiding, in the night.

 

Something hears me,

My warning cry,

As it echoes along,

The forest, dry.

 

Something knows me,

And understands,

Something is wrong,

In these misty lands.

 

It scatters along,

It hurries clear,

From the beauty,

Of the morning air.

 

It comes to rescue me,

It comes from far,

I hear the call,

Across the evening marr.

Book Lists, Book Reviews, Classics

Classic Books You Must Read

Hey guys!

This post is about classic books you must read. Now, I’d say the majority of them, like The Secret Garden, are MG (Middle Grade) but that doesn’t mean that if you’re a teenager or adult you won’t enjoy them.

With classics, they can be enjoyed by all age groups. That’s what makes them so… classical. Also, keep in mind that I’m not including books like Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre simply because I haven’t read them (shameful, I know). But I do mean to get to them… one day 🙂


Anne of Green Gables

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“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

There are not enough words in the English language for me to begin to describe my huge obsession with these books from when I was 9 to 12 (I’m actually preparing a post about that, so stay tuned for it).

Don’t get me wrong, I still love them! But, I’ve opened my mind and heart to other books out there. More modern books. But Anne of Green Gables will always have a special place in my heart. Always.

“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

And I’m not just talking about the first book. No, no, no. I’m talking about the entire series. Which is just so beautiful, so amazing, so… BEAUTIFUL. Guys, if you haven’t heard of these yet, I am asking you this with complete seriousness: what rock have you been living under?

If you have heard of them but not read them… well, now you know that a trip to the book store or kindle store or library, is in urgent order. QUICKLY!! And get the whole series while you’re at it 😉

“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”

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Little Women

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“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

When I read this book, I was so blissfully happy. It was the same sort of happiness and contentedness I got when I first read Anne of Green Gables. It’s the surety of reading such a fantastic classic, and enjoying every word of the journey.

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”

I found the characters so relatable. But when it comes to picking one… I really don’t know. I suppose I’m a mix of Meg and Jo. Not really Amy or Beth, I think my sister is more like Beth.

Being the oldest, and a sister, I resemble Meg in some ways. Being generally quite awful at cooking, I’m like Jo. And in other things too, but these are just examples. Let me know in the comments which of the four sisters you think you are most alike to.

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”

These series are so memorable. Yes, I said series. If you didn’t know (and I’ve found that quite a lot don’t) there is one other part to the book and two other books.

There’s Little Women, and then Part 2 of it is Good Wives. Then there is Little Men and Jo’s Boys. I highly recommend reading all of these, and Little Women is definitely one of those must-read classics.

“Let us be elegant or die!”

A Little Princess

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“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”

THIS BOOK IS SO BEAUTIFUL.

I’ve read this book three times now, and each and every time I never failed to cry. Do not let that put you off, I can assure you this book is amazing, amazing, amazing.

“I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.”

And totally worth reading. Even if you shed a tear or two. Even if you don’t like sad books (and I wouldn’t necessarily call this a sad book).

It’s such a classic. I love it so much. I don’t want to say too much about this book (fear of spoiling), but it does have (as the previous two books) such a memorable character. Such a sweet character. Such a… little princess 😉

“Everything’s a story – You are a story -I am a story.”

 The Secret Garden

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“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.

Sorry if I keep repeating this, but THIS BOOK IS SO BEAUTIFUL. This is also by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote A Little Princess. She’s a fabulous author.

“Where you tend a rose my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

It might seem kind of childish from the title or the cover, but trust me, it’s not designated for any age group. You can read it and love it at ten years old (like me) or as a teen or as an adult or… you get the point.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

It’s just got such a beaauuutiful storyline. Guys, if you haven’t already, read this.


That’s it for this post, guys! Thanks for reading 🙂

Let me know… what’s your favourite Anne of Green Gables book? Are you more like Meg, Jo, Beth or Amy? Did A Little Princess make you cry? Who is your favourite in The Secret Garden, Colin Craven or Dickon Sowerby?

And if you haven’t read any of these books, which one are you planning on reading first?

Speak soon!