Tag: five star review

Review: Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

Review: Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

‘This is the true core of human nature. When we’ve lost the strength to save ourselves, we somehow find the strength to save each other.’ California has been experiencing a drought for a while. The Tap-Out has led to the introduction of the Frivolous Use 

Review: Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

Review: Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

There’s something different about Clementine, and Jago is the only one who can see it. He ceaselessly bullies her at school and before long Clem snaps, shoving him across the room with an unnatural strength. Clementine is suspended, so her father takes the opportunity to 

Blogtober Day 15: Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Blogtober Day 15: Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

‘In the end, I guess Mom was right.
I have one foot in winter and one in spring.
One foot with the living, and one with the dead.’

Cassidy Blake has a pretty interesting life, but it’s not for the reasons you’d expect. Daughter of The Inspectres – a ghost-hunting team who combine storytelling with historical facts in an unsurprisingly popular blend – you might think that her famous parents (and their upcoming TV show) are the most fascinating things about Cass, but she has a secret.

Cassidy Blake can talk to ghosts.

Well, one ghost in particular: Jacob, the dead boy who saved her life by pulling her out of a river when she almost drowned. Ever since that day Cass has been able to talk to Jacob, and he’s been able to talk to her as well (although he hasn’t been able to touch her since). She’s also been able to step through the Veil, where she can see other ghosts reliving their deaths over, and over, and over again.

It isn’t until she gets to Edinburgh, where her parents are filming the first episode of The Inspectres, that she realises that there might be more to her gift than she first thought. Cass discovers that she might have a purpose: it might be her responsibility to make sure that ghosts are able to pass to the other side.

I didn’t realise that this was a middle-grade novel until I was about halfway through, because the language used feels mature. A young audience will understand every word – and the ones that might be confusing are subtly explained – but the magical way that Victoria Schwab puts words into sentences makes it feel like it’s aimed at an older audience.

A girl who can talk to ghosts isn’t the most unique concept, but because it’s been done before it’s all the more impressive that Schwab has a twist for her tale. Her descriptions of the Veil are haunting, and I had chills due to the intense descriptions of some of the scarier ghosts. If I’d been any younger when I’d read this it would have given me nightmares!

As an introduction to the series, City of Ghosts does everything you can ask it to. It introduces the characters well and poses questions about them that you can’t resist wanting the answers for. I’m excited for the next book in the Cassidy Blake series, and I’m looking forward to seeing where The Inspectres end up next. I hope it’s somewhere that matters as much to Schwab as Edinburgh does, because you can feel how much she cares about crafting honest descriptions of the location.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about City of Ghosts, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

Alyce

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Blogtober Day 12: Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Blogtober Day 12: Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

‘You can plot a course that will get you to your destination, but you can’t predict what you’ll find along the way.’  Zorie has a plan for the summer, and it involves staying as far away from the Mackenzie family as physically possible. But when 

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Hi there! Welcome to my stop on the Jackson Saves an Owl blog tour. I’d like to say a big thank you to Faye Rogers, for allowing me to get involved in the blog tour for this charming picture book. Zophia loves owls, so as soon as 

Blogtober Day 7: Review: The Case of the Missing Treasure by Robin Stevens

Blogtober Day 7: Review: The Case of the Missing Treasure by Robin Stevens

Back at the start of summer Robin Stevens released a short story narrated by Daisy Wells, in which the Detective Society and the Junior Pinkertons team up to investigate a string of museum robberies. I bought it the day it was released, but I decided to wait to read it until after Death in the Spotlight was released – otherwise I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist rereading the series (and I just don’t have the time to reread them yet!).

I read this out loud to my boyfriend and our daughter, and we’re all in agreement that this is a superb short story. (Well, I think Zophia agrees… She seemed very intent on trying to eat my copy.) My favourite installment in the Murder Most Unladylike series so far is definitely Cream Buns and Crime, which is a short story collection, so I was expecting good things, but I didn’t think The Case of the Missing Treasure was going to be this much fun!

It’s Daisy’s birthday, so Uncle Felix organises a treasure hunt for her to do – along with Hazel, George and Alexander – but they end up stumbling upon clues to a real case by accident. I was already a fan of the short stories told from Daisy’s perspective, and with such an amusing premise this became an instant favourite.

The story itself is a little under 100 pages, while the book sits at around 150, because it includes a couple of chapters from the beginning of Death in the Spotlight. I was a little disappointed by this because I didn’t want the short story to end, but at least I’ve waited until the next installment in the series has been released, so it won’t be long until I’m rejoining Daisy and Hazel on their next adventure. At only a couple of pounds, this story is a steal: I’m so glad I decided to buy a copy, as it’s the first Murder Most Unladylike book that I’ve owned. It’s dinky but so cute!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about The Case of the Missing Treasure, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

A brief review for a brief story – come back tomorrow for my next Blogtober post!

Alyce

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Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

I’m ridiculously excited to welcome you to my stop on The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game blog tour. I’ve never been a huge Top Gear fan but the enigma of The Stig has always fascinated me, and this novelisation seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn a 

Review: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Review: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

“What’s the point of being a billionaire if I can’t have a little fun?” I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Batman. In my opinion he’s not really a superhero, just a rich asshole. I only decided to read this book because I’d 

Review: You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

Review: You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

‘”I never hear these things.”

Strange. How many girls did she knows who had gone through the exact same thing as her – how many times had she sat next to someone in the library, thinking they were doing homework when really they were working out how much it would cost in gas money to get to the clinic and back?’

You Don’t Know Me But I Know You tells the story of Audrey, a girl who finds out that she’s pregnant despite using multiple forms of contraception, and the decision that her and her boyfriend Julian make regarding their situation. Are they ready to become parents, should they put the child up for adoption like Audrey’s biological mother chose to, or would a termination be the best course of action?

I can’t find the words to express how much I loved this book. Not many books make me shed physical tears, but I was 100 pages in when Rebecca Barrow first made me cry (and that wasn’t even during a sad bit!).

Audrey is such a realistic character that she practically walked off of the page. I could hear her voice in my head and feel all of the emotions that she was experiencing, and a big part of the reason behind that is because I was in this situation last summer.

That’s probably why You Don’t Know Me But I Know You meant so much to me: because less than twelve months ago I was feeling the same conflicting emotions as Audrey. September was rapidly approaching and I was supposed to be starting university, and I suddenly discovered that there was a baby on the way. Neither me nor my partner were completely sure if we were ready to be someone’s parents, but we also weren’t sure if we’d be able to give it up for adoption, and I’m pro-choice for other people but personally could never see myself having an abortion.

After months of umming and ahhing we made our decision and chose to have our little one, and this book made me realise that we made the right choice. I’m not saying it’s the same choice that Audrey makes, but she knows her choice is 100% right for her, and as I read her reasoning I knew in my heart that my choice was right for me, too.

I was a particular fan of the fact that Julian was a supportive boyfriend, not dumping Audrey at the first opportunity, and her mum and Adam were very supportive, too. This book doesn’t feature any of the teen pregnancy cliches, which makes it stand out all the more.

So I’m a little biased, but there’s more to this book than just the sensible, balanced discussion of a sensitive subject which I haven’t seen tackled in YA before. Rebecca Barrow’s writing style is also very beautiful, and although I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump over the past few weeks I flew through this novel. All of the characters are realistic, and the arguments between Audrey and Julian and Audrey and her best friend Rose were fights that I’ve had with my partner and close friends over the years. At points it felt as though Barrow basically turned my brain inside out and printed it.

I sincerely hope that she decides to write a follow up to this novel, because there’s a lot of potential development in the background characters. They’ve all got unique personalities and I’d be interested in reading more from any of them, and that’s not something I say very often. Barrow’s second novel, This Is What It Feels Like, is published in November: I’m going to be at the front of the queue to get a copy, because I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about You Don’t Know Me But I Know You, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

Alyce

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Review: A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

Review: A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

‘This time I am stuck in the very middle of the case. I am not just a detective, I’m a witness. And I think that I might even be a suspect.’  After the death of Hazel’s Ah Yeh, she and Daisy travel to Hong Kong