Book Review: Extraordinary Means

When I told you about the books I wanted to read over the summer, I said I would review as I read…I’m afraid I got sidetracked by others and have not managed to write any so far. The first I read was Extraordinary means, possibly the one I was most looking forward to. I had read the blurb, as well as good reviews, and so therefore couldn’t wait. I hadn’t heard of the author, Robyn Schneider, but since I have looked him up and found others he has written. They will definitely be ones I’ll read soon. Here is my review; blurb first.

extraordinary means

Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. Now he is at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, where he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidante named Sadie– and life as Lane knows it will never be the same. As Lane and Sadie fall in love– and as their groups begins to fall sicker– their world threatens to come crashing down.

You’ve probably heard me saying the a lot, but I cried. Seriously, I am an emotional person, and I cry over pretty much anything with the vaguest hint of sadness. But I knew that this would be the case before I started, this book was about a school for sick teens, anything could go wrong, but really I’d be surprised if you didn’t cry! Another good factor was the realisticness (word?) of it, talking about real life issues, expressing the awful things that happen in todays world. *Spoiler* When you read the authors note at the end, and you find out that the outbreak of Tuberculosis in 2016 isn’t real, it surprises you as the whole thing feels so much like real life, with made up medication and sensors, etc. 

The only bad thing I would say, is that its so predictable after the first maybe 250 pages. I mean something has to go wrong, and it being a TB hospital you can kind of guess what. It also starts to drag a little in the middle, which I could blame on the romance between Lane and Sadie, and so the First and Last chinks of it are definitely the best. Other than that, a good read, and I would recommend for fans of John Green, it reminded me a little of Looking for Alaska, although it has its own, unique story. The story I would recommend to people over 12 or 13, mostly because of the theme and the overall tragicness, (I seem to be making up a lot of words!) and would rate 4 stars. I’m going to rate these books as I go along, the books in my summer reading list, and so far as this is the only one it’ll have to go first:

  1. Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

I’ll be carrying this on soon,

SparrowHorse x

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7 Books

On holiday I passed a bookshop while walking up the high street, and as i went in my eyes were drawn to the back of the shop, where there were stacks and stacks of world book day books from the last few years. To my surprise the deal was ‘buy one get three free’ and so it seemed like i had to get some I chose seven, which ended up as £2 (GREAT price!) but as I have not yet read them all, and it’ll take up a lot of room if I review all of them, ill only review 2 or 3. Here they are!

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Blurb: If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in line of only three people, having to pee into a collectible Star Wars cup behind a dumpster or to meet the unlikely person who might truly understand the way she feels.

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This is probably a subject that I wouldn’t normally read about; my brother is so star-wars mad I thought I had heard enough about to last me a lifetime. But although it wasn’t one I would pick out, I really enjoyed the subject and found it so interesting. Another thing I like about this isn’t a thing I wold usually say, but it’s a lack of characters. When you have too many in a book its hard to keep track of who’s who and who’s doing what, but with this, there are three main characters and that’s what the whole book is focused on. With this, you know all of the characters much better and therefore can feel and think about the characters with more depth.

I can say no bad words about this book, it seems to me to be a perfect book in pretty much every way. I also know the author already, I wrote a review on Fangirl a while back, click here if you want to see it, and so I think since I knew and liked the author I knew it was gong to be a good book and this made it easier to start and read. I would recommend this for girls aged 11 or 12+ and give it 5/5.

Geek Drama by Holly Smale

Blurb: Harriet Manners knows many things. Shakespeare invented 1,700 words, including puking, assassination and eyeball. A raindrop that falls into the Thames will pass through the bodies of eight people before it reaches the sea. She also knows just how badly auditions can go, especially when you’re a model. But she has no idea what to do when arch-nemesis Alexa decides the school play is the perfect opportunity to humiliate her.

FullSizeRenderThis book easily contains the same humour as the rest of the books in her series, making everyone who reads them able to crack up laughing after every few sentences because of the things Harriet has done. This book is also an easy read, by its style and writing, but it helps if you’ve read the other books, starting with Geek Girl, then Model Misfit etc. These world day books are short, and therefore only took me about half an hour to read each, so if you have limited time or space these are perfect. 

The only bad thing I can say about this is that I prefer them longer! After reading all her thick books, it’s quite disappointing when you get this and it doesn’t take long to read. I know that is the world book day style, and as they are only one pound they have to be short but I really love longer books! I would recommend this for girls aged 12+, and say that it doesn’t really matter if you haven’t read the others, but if you have that is sort of a bonus! I give this 4/5.

Spot The Difference by Juno Dawson

Blurb: Avery has always suffered at the hands of bullies, so when she’s given the opportunity to join her schools ‘A-List’, she grabs at it with both hands. But appearances can be deceiving and soon Avery’s not sure she likes this new version of herself. And its only by overcoming her fears that she can learn the true meaning of being comfortable in your own skin. 

FullSizeRenderI love this book. Full Stop. There is so much feeling put into this book, that with the right mind, you could end up crying. It shows you that bad side of real life issues, and shows you what can really happen when something goes a bit out hand. The characters feel so real; the different types everyone encounters in everyday life themselves. It honestly feels like Juno Dawson has just stepped out of school herself. Maybe she has. The problems in school are shown at their worst, but also how to deal with them. This is probably my favourite of the three I have reviewed, and I can’t point out anything wrong with it.

I am not familiar with Juno Dawson, or whether it’s just this book that I will find good, but I think I’ll try others by her soon enough. This would be for me 12 or 13+ and I sure you I’ll probably be reading this over and over again.  5/5

I hope you have lasted to the end! This was a really long blog post and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have writing it. As you can see, the ones I have read so far have been a real success so make sure you check them out to see if you feel the same as me. Bye for now,

SparrowHorse x

The Wizard of Oz

Hi. Today I went to see a play of the Wizard of Oz, at the Sturts theatre in Cornwall. It took a while to get there, but we thought it was worth it, as we’ve seen other great plays there in the past; Peter Pan, Wind in the Willows… I’m still not really sure what I think about it, as I’ve seen better, but as it was not as professional as things like the Lion King, it is growing on me. 

sterts 

Please Note, I took this picture off their website as I didn’t take any pictures

There were many things I thought were done well, such as the amount of parts that were cast; people were always acting as animals, trees, plants, etc, which helped create the scenes, as they didn’t have any main backgrounds. They also made very good use of the space and props that they had, because as this wasn’t entirely professional, at least not like a massive London play, they didn’t have lots of different sets and scenes, and they made use of the ne they did have, (Grey, with stairs coming down in directions) and used people, rolling scenes and effects to make it almost as good as if they had better resources. 

As The Wizard of Oz is a musical, the main thing that was definitely needed were good singers, that could also act. This was a good feature and I think they cast most of their characters well. There was also a large selection of musicians, that played many instruments, meaning that the music went really well with the singing. 

I know that this isn’t their fault, and probably didn’t happen in the other performances that happened, but at the beginning, the sound was a bit off, Dorothy’s microphone a bit off, and the music too loud to be able to hear the actors. This thing could probably be classed as a good or a bad thing, but in the performance, there was an obvious star to the show; the lion. He was given all the jokes, he made some up as he went along, he was clearly the best singer, and his acting was the funniest and with most expression. The only bad thing about this, is that its hard to accept the other actors when the lion is there. 

Overall, it was a good performance, and I and my family did have a good time seeing it. There were a few things I would have changed, but that can’t be changed now, and I would recommend you go and see it, or any play at that theatre, to see what you think.

SparrowHorse x

Film Review: Petes Dragon (2016)

So far this summer i’ve seen three films at the cinema wit my siblings: The BFG, Finding Dory, and Petes Dragon. I wanted to wait until I had seen this to make up my decision on which was the best and to review. Petes dragon is by far the best one on my charts, including everything I think necessary in a film. I hope you like and agree with my review enough to go and see it yourself!

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Wikipedia: Mr. Meacham, a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace believes these are just tall tales, until she meets Pete, a 10-year-old orphan who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. With help from a young girl named Natalie, Grace sets out to investigate if this fantastic claim can be true.

The first good thing I noticed about it was that it was emotional. You really felt the film as you were watching it. and if that meant crying or laughing, that was definitely a good feature. The plot line was also great, imaginative and interesting, keeping you hooked the whole way through. The dragon was not entirely realistic, but if you have enough imagination, you’ll be able to believe its true. 

There wasn’t really anything bad I can post my finger at, except maybe my first point; being too emotional! I think that mane the other people in the cinema were a bit annoyed that I cried the whole way through. 

I would really recommend this to anyone aged about 7+ as some things could be scary for people younger and its a PG. For me, my rating would be 5/5. Brilliant. 

SparrowHorse x

Staying in a Yurt

On half of the family holidays i’ve been on, growing up, I have stayed in a yurt. For those of you that don’t know what that is, its “a circular tent of felt or skins on a collapsible framework” So I thought I would share with you what I think are the advantages and disadvantages of staying in one. 

  • My Advantages

For me, I see my family a lot more, when in a smaller space. At home, everyone seems to stay in their own rooms not really communicating much half the time, and so when sharing a room for everything, people are brought together for games, chats and days out. It really helps improve family relationships.

We spend a LOT more time outside. At home, when all our distractions are inside, we tend to stay there. But in a yurt, as our options are limited, most of the things we do are outside: walks, campfires, beach, bike rides, etc. We also actually take advantage of the sun when its there, and even the things we could do inside, we do outside. Which is great as you get more exercise  and fresh air. 

Just the whole idea of it. Several things make it perfect, it all being in one room is good; as my room seems never to be tidy I never know where anything is, but in a yurt, everything is in one room and much easier to find! I also love the location of the yurt we stay in, where we are alone in a field, just surrounded by countryside and wildlife. 

  • My Disadvantages

Bad baths and showers. Really, this is possibly the harshest thing I could have said, and I’m only saying it because there was nothing else! The showers aren’t bad, the only problem is that it is outside and solar powered, and there is never guaranteed hot water. If you go and stay in a yurt, your shower may be fine, so didn’t listen to me and take this as a every-yurt thing. Also, bugs and slugs always seem to find a way in!

Coldness…This is more advice than a bad thing; don’t underestimate the cold-temperature! This really depends on when you go, and what the weather is like, but just because its made of material, doesn’t mean its any warmer than a tent at night. So make sure you pack warm clothes!

So thats it. As you can see, there are more advantages than disadvantages. I would recommend this to anyone, particularly for people new to camping, as its not as full-on as being in a tent, as it has a hob, furniture and beds in, but it still feels like camping. 

SparrowHorse x

What I’m Reading

This blog post is a sort of follow-on from one of my previous blog posts,  Click here if you want to see it , but that was a list on what I had already read and recommend, this is my reading list on what I hope to read over the summer. I have several books I want to read, that I will either buy or already have. I want to share these with you to serif you agree, and if I like them, or even I guess if I don’t, I shall write a book review on them, which should appear on my blog sometime in and after the summer holidays. 

go set a watchmanGo Set a Watchman- Harper Lee: I chose this because it is a follow-on from To kill a Mockingbird, which I have read and loved already, and so I hope this proves to be as good as the first. 

 

 

 

extraordinary meansExtraordinary Means- Robyn Shneider: This was a book I saw at the book fair in March, and I have wanted it ever since. My friend was lent it and thoroughly enjoyed it, and therefore I want it recommendation of others.

 

 

 

 catcher in the ryeThe Catcher in the Rye- J. D. Salinger: This book I have read many great reviews on, and I thought it was time to read it. There wasn’t really much else reason for wanting this, so I hope I made the right decision! 

 

 

 

hidden oracleThe Hidden Oracle- Rick Riordan: I don’t think I have mentioned it properly in any posts before, but I LOVE the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series, also by Rick Riordan. When I heard that he had a new series coming out, I wasn’t just going to stay put and not get it. So I think this might be the highlight of my Summer Reading, and I really hope I’m not disappointed! 

 

These are my four books for reading over the summer!

SparrowHorse x

Race for Life

Today, our school contributed to the race for life charity, which supports breast cancer. The girls in all years, (years 7-13) take part in running 5k for charity, and we all thoroughly enjoyed running and supporting the charity, by donating £2 each, and wearing pink whist running to represent the cause. We do this every year, and I think that this year was my most enjoyable, with music playing from loudspeakers from all over the track, and teachers shouting encouragement to all the students passing by. I think its important to do things like this as it shows you how much you can do to help, and gives you an opportunity to understand what a difference it makes. 

We all manages to run 5k in under 50minutes, me and most of my friends running it in about 30, which we were all pleased with as it is improvement from last year. As much as I felt glad for helping the charity, I also loved running this race, as its not generally the path I go for, its more sitting down and reading a book or something else un-sporty, but this was great fun and I hope to be doing it more often. I would totally recommend doing this, whether for charity or just for the appreciation of running, but you can make a difference if you try and that way you can feel like you’ve helped someone. 

They gave out medals to the top 50 runners, and I think I came near the end of that 50, but I managed to scrape through and get one. I am proud that I did this, and hope next year comes again soon. 

SparrowHorse x

My Summer Reading Recommendations

Earlier today, I came up with the idea of sharing with you my top 5 books for summer. Some of these books I may have already displayed on my blog as a book review, in which case you can find out more about it, but with every one, even ones with special posts, I will explain why I have chosen it and what it is about. These should be able to inspire you to 1. Read more over the summer, and 2. Check out some new books. I love each of these, and if you decide to give them a try, I hope you do too. 

I Capture the Castle- By Dodie Smithi capture the castle: I love this book for many reasons, it has relatable characters, an interesting, engaging plot, and an old and modern feeling at the same time. It was written in 1948, and therefore is in language we wouldn’t necessarily use now, but it is reasonably easy to understand. I think I found it after watching the film, which is surprisingly almost as good, and so a great place to start if you aren’t up for reading the book. I find it summery because it sort of visits all the seasons, and has a fresh cleanish feel about it.

 


fsfcFeeling Sorry for Celia- By Jaclyn Moriarty: This book consists of letters from different people, and is about writing to PenPals from different schools. I’m not really sure why I chose this as a summery 
book, it is certainly enlighten, happy, and mostly an enjoyable summer read. I love its format, swapping between characters to get to know others better. It has characters with a lot to say, many personalities and good intentions. 

 

 

the year of the ratThe Year Of The Rat- Clare Furniss: This wasn’t my immediate thought when I wanted to come up with books, but I read it recently and thought it deserved a place on here. It’s topic isn’t all flowery and summery like others and has some depressing topics to deal with, but also shows hope and calmness when needed. It takes place in all the months of the year, and has a story you are likely not to forget. Its really moving, and you feel as if you are growing with the main character, Rose. 

 

 

ingoIngo- Helen Dunmore: I read this quite a while ago, but I now see why it is summery. It takes place by the sea, which gives it a summery, holiday feel, and also is based on mer-people, which also people relate with summer and the sea. I love it because I never seem to read books like it any more, the type of fantasy, unreal books. But this was different, I guess like most fantasy authors, Helen Dunmore had tried to make the mer aspect seem as real as possible, and she succeeded. It was well written, had interesting topics, if a bit sad. It is written for children younger than me, maybe 11+, but it can still be enjoyable for all ages.

 

infinate skyInfinite Sky- C. J. Flood: This book came in set of coming-of-age books I got for christmas about 2 years ago, and I can certainly give it a well earned 4/5. It can sometimes seem like a harsh, worrying book, as the topic is not a fun, jokey one, but it holds together and all ends well. The characters have their ups and downs, with different emotions, thoughts and worries between them. It also seems summery because of the changes in atmosphere because I don’t know about you, but I have mixed feelings for summer, sometimes its great and sunny, everyone enjoying themselves, but then its       sticky and humid, staying inside. The plot of the characters is a bit like that.

 

I tried to pick out authors and books that you may not have heard of, as I like encouraging others to read books that aren’t necessarily popular. If I say put a book like the Hunger Games on my list, it would be useless as pretty much everyone has read it already, and that is not the point of introducing others to books! Soon, I hope to blog about books I want to read over the summer, so comment if you have any suggestions, bye for now,

SparrowHorse x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Idea Jar

I had nothing to do today, and I was also looking for something crafty to post on my blog. I wanted some ideas so I looked up on the internet something like, ‘interesting crafts for teenagers’ It came up with a lot of interesting ideas, and one that caught my eye was a sort of scrapbook, with pictures, memories and clippings in, reminding me of one similar I had done when I was younger. In the end I didn’t do anything much like it, or copy this idea from anything else, but this Idea jar is based on a scrapbook, although in a completely different way. 

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The Idea of this, is that when I am bored, I can pick out a card form my jar and that is what I can do. I collected 55 ideas of things that I often do, or even things that I haven’t in a while and should, e.g. rollerblading, cooking, reading magazines, going a walk, etc. It was a quite easy thing to do, all you need is..:

  • Patterned or coloured card
  • A smallish jar 
  • Colourful pens or fine-liners
  • Ideas!
  1. First I cut up small square/rectangle shapes on the patterned card
  2. Beforehand I had written a long list of things to do, I would make them things that you are likely to want to do, rather than things you would just swap out for something else.
  3. I then used the pens to write out all of the activities on the card, and afterwards slotting them each into the jar, making sure they all fit.

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Thats it! The idea is easy and quick to make, but you feel satisfied afterwards, and you can keep using this for ages, it will certainly help you figure out what to do… 

I enjoyed making this and I hope you do too, I hope to post soon, and hopefully as it is the summer holidays I will have more time to do, a. more interesting things, which b. means I can blog about them! So you’ll be hearing from me soon, 

SparrowHorse x

 

Film Review: Land Girls

I guess I should change the category title from film reviews to film/tv series reviews, as the series I’m reviewing today is a series, not a film! I found this about a week ago whilst scanning Netflix for a film or programme to watch that evening. I quite like period dramas set in the early 1900’s, for example my favourite is Downton Abbey, (I’ve watched every series and episode!) and this seemed to be one of the best bets I had on Netflix for something I liked. I have so far only watched the first series, because that was all that was available on Netflix  but I can assure you that I will be buying and watching the next two soon! Here is my review, I hope you like it.

land girls

 

 

 

The story evolves around Nancy, Joyce, Annie and Bea as they join the Women’s Land Army, based at the Hoxley Estate in World War 2. They all face worse struggles than any of them could have imagined, and end up in all sorts of dangerous positions and scrapes. Even though none of them wanted to go in the first place, at the end, no one would love even if the chance arose. 

I love this because it is such an emotional series, which made me both laugh and cry. The series made it look so real, as if it were actually happening, and finally I grew to realise how bad women had the war, and what happened to them. Although I loved the series for what it was, I know that there were some inaccurate facts about the war, and certain illnesses. I also don’t like the fact that there was a fairly strong american stereotype that everyone seemed to follow, and it was neither accurate nor a great example. 

The plot was easy enough to tell, but in this instance it wasn’t too bad, and so it was a nice factor. The genre for this series would be period drama, with romance and war as two smaller genres inside. Another thing I love, is that the drama/action is spread out and carries on throughout the whole of the time, rather than being bunched up and happening quickly at one end or the other. 

I would recommend this to people who like this style, but not necessarily to historic experts because you’re just going to end up breaking your tv with the incorrect facts. Posting soon, 

SparrowHorse x