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

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.

FullSizeRender

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

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

To me, this was a book that I will forever remember, and most likely read again soon, for I loved it beyond any book I have read in the last few weeks. It took me longer to read than most other books, because despite being not a long book, the plot and words were confusing- mainly a consequence of it being set in the 1930’s and written in the 1960’s. I never thought I would end up liking this, as it was a book my English Teacher persuaded me to give a try, rather than me choosing it on someone else recommendation. I always knew that it would be difficult for me to read, or just more so than other, more modern books I seem to be reading most of the time, but surprisingly, I got to understand and get the hang of Harper Lee’s writing style and sentences. I will hopefully soon be enjoying the next book, “Go Set a Watchman”, which was published last year just before Harper Lee’s death. I hope you enjoy the rest of my review, starting with a short explanation of what happens during the start of the plot. 

To-Kill-a-Mockingbird-50th-Anniversary-Edition-184x300

The story follows Scout and her older brother Jem, living with their lawyer father, Atticus in their home town of Alabama, 1932. The first part of the the novel shares the story of one summer. Jem and Scout play, and discover new mysteries and friends. They come to know the shadowy character of Boo Radley, who lives in a neighboring house and yet is never seen. There are a number of strange rumours surrounding this man, but their fair-minded father warns them that they should try to see the world from the other people’s perspectives.

The story is a one for both adults and younger people alike because as it is a childhood tale, it has many adult points of views and topics contained inside. It shows readers how the world could be like if we wanted to change it, and helps us realise what is wrong with the world and society we live in. It gives views from different people, from different races and culture to bring together to humorous and passionate book it is. The only thing that I would change, if I had written this book myself is that it is quite racist, and uses topics that I wouldn’t use, (I won’t say: Spoiler!) 

Overall I would give it 4.5 out of 5, and I think it has deserved it. It is a sort of coming of age novel, with a sense of childish and grown-up writing. 

SparrowHorse x

 

Book Review: Fangirl

I LOVED this book! My parents gave me some money to buy a few books wth, and this was one that I chose. I wasn’t familiar with the author, but I had seen another of her (Rainbow Rowell) books at a book fair this year, that friends had read and liked and decided to give this author a go…It turns out that I love her style of writing, and will definitely try to find others from her. Here is my review, starting with the blurb, I hope you enjoy it and are willed to read the book:

IMG_1166

 

 

 

 

 

Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be half of a pair anymore- she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there’s romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life. Now Cath has to decide whether sh’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realising that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible…

First of all, I loved the style and creativity of the plot line, it really struck me as an inspirational piece of writing. The characters I could totally relate too, each in their own way, and the story was beautiful. This wouldn’t have been the first book I would have picked out if you put me in a bookshop, as fan fiction isn’t generally my style- I never seem to find it that interesting or as good as the real book- but this is a different matter altogether and definitely the first book i’ve read about writing fanfiction…

I did have a few minor problems with the book, the first is silly, really, but I didn’t look inside the front cover until the end, and if haven’t read the book, on there are drawings of all the characters with names underneath. I had separate imaginary characters in my head as to what they would look like, and to be fair none looked quite as how I had imagined them…yes, a pretty stupid fault but annoying for me. The last weakness was that (I know that most people who have read this will be annoyed and will totally disagree with me) I honestly found Wren much too annoying for her own good; she really brought the book down for me…

 I would say that it is a YA/Romance/Coming Of Age book, and suitable for people aged 13+. I would rate it 4/5, and happily eat it again in the future. 

SparrowHorse x

Book Review: Book of Lies

I read this book a few weeks ago, I brought it in a book fair for world book day, and I love it. It is by author Teri Terry; I have read some of her books before, the Slated series, and enjoyed them, though not quite as much as her latest book. I must admit they have some weird covers, but it didn’t put me off and i’m glad. Here is my review:

Quinn and Piper are twins but have never met. A tragic event brings them together and draws them into a family curse that stretches across centuries. One twin can command the darkness, the other could hold the key to breaking the curse. But when lies become truth and the truth looks like lies, who can you believe?

IMG_1013

 

 

 

 

 

This book is so emotional, as you read the book it feels as if you’re really there, and as the chapters alternate in first person between Quinn and Piper, you’re able to communicate with both aspects of the story. The plot is tense and captivating after the first 70% of the book, but before that I felt that it dragged on a bit and didn’t really get to the main point of the story. The author got to the main plot too late and before you got there you didn’t really know what was happening. 

The last 30% of the story is suspenseful and thrilling but if Teri Terry had evened out the action it would have been a much better read for me. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the start, just it would have made it better as a whole if she had written things a different way. The end plot was quite dark and full of twists, not what i’d usually read, but what I was expecting having read some of her other work.

I would recommend it for people who like dark, YA books. I would rate it 4/5, for people 12+ and a good read. Have fun reading,

SparrowHorse x

 

Book Review: The Jubilee Express

I’ve been going a little John-Green-Mad recently, buying all the books I could of his on my phone. I recently brought Let it Snow, a book with three mini books inside, one a John Green one, but another of them The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson. It came first out of the three, and in my opinion was the best. Here is my review:

url2

Jubilee can’t wait for Christmas and especially her boyfriend Noah’s christmas party. But when she is sent to her grandparents after her parents participating in a riot, and her train gets caught in a snowstorm, everything seems to go wrong. Follow more of her story by getting the book!

I found this book really entertaining, even though its set during the Christmas period, which has just been…It was a really funny, the main character quirky and witty, the whole story easy to read- as much as I like John Green, some of his books are quite hard to get into. I LOVED Jubilee in a way that I haven’t with other characters, she is entirely relatable with readers, and has the best personality.

It was, I guess, a bit of a  i-know-whats-going-to-happen-next-book, I knew that Noah was going to be trouble, and that something was going to happen with Stuart (I won’t tell you who he is, you’ll have to read it!) but it didn’t ruin the story and I sort of liked that factor. 

It was a quick read and I think ended at about 110-120 pages long, but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying it. I have to say that the other two stories weren’t as good, despite another being John Green’s. I think I would recommend it 12+, and it is probably romanceish. I hope you enjoy it,

SparrowHorse x

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Now, in my last book review, (Paper Towns,) I said that the next book I was going to read would be Looking for Alaska. I have now read it and John Green is just as amusing as before. Here is my book review on it, I hope you like it…

9780007523160

The main character is Miles Halter, a teenage boy that is just about to leave his home in Florida to attend Culver Creek boarding school. On his arrive he meets his roommate, The Colonel, one of his best friends, Alaska, an emotionally unstable girl that he grows to love…

As much as I love John Greens writing style, it annoys me so much that it appears he cannot write about a character remotely different from the next…All his male characters are the same, it could be Miles Halter/Will Grayson/Quentin Jacobsen/Colin Singleton….They are all the same people – the same personalities, the same way of thinking… The other characters are well drawn, though, and individual, you can picture really well with the subtle descriptions John Green gives you. 

The book is both humorous and sad, making me laugh and at some points cry. I like the fact that the end doesn’t have the happy ending feel, not everything is entirely right; but I feel that it is a good way to end. Also, quite a few YA authors don’t use language that teenagers would use; some make them sound like adults, so make them sound like much younger children. John Green actually uses language that teenaged WOULD use…

Like most other John Green books it fits roughly into the coming of age genre, with romance along the way. I would recommend it for 12-13+, as it is REALLY rude…

Please read it, you won’t regret it!

SparrowHorse x

 

Book review: Paper Towns

Hi, today i’m going to do a book review on Paper Towns, by my favourite author at the moment, John Green. I have read a few of his books before; An Abundance of Katherine’s and The Fault in our Stars, as well as Paper Towns. I’m also about to read Looking for Alaska, as I have found loads of great reviews on it… Anyway, book review!

url

Quiet Quentin Jacobsen was surprised when Margo Roth Spiegelman turns up as his window, ready to take him out for the best night of his life, playing pranks on a bunch of school friends who betrayed her. But the next day, when he turns up at school, she is not there… With some help from some of his friends, using clues she left behind, Quentin (Q) embarks on a trip to find the girl who stole his heart. What will happen next?!

I love this book as it has a lively storyline, with quite a lot of fun characters and conversations in it. The plot line is odd, although entertainingly funny, there were parts where I couldn’t help laughing out loud! In this book, I really liked the first introduction to the characters and settings; how it was like at high school, who people were and why they were there. I can also say that Q and Margo’s night out was amazingly told and so funny…! It was suspense-filled and I couldn’t put the book down.

I think that one it’s main weaknesses, though, was the fact that it was quite similar in a way, to An Abundance of Katherine’s. There was the same quiet, and somewhat nerdy boy, the same best friend and the same girl-that-he-loved… I would say that the storyline has many differences, but if you have read about one set of characters, you have read about them both. If you are just reading one on its own, though, I would totally recommend Paper Towns as John Green’s best novel.

I’m not really sure which genre John Greens books fit in, sort of YA fiction, coming of age, sometimes romance? I would recommend this for people 12+, people who have either read some of his other novels, or people who like authors such as Annabel Pitcher and David Levithan. 

I hope you get round to reading this soon,

SparrowHorse x

Book review: Silence is Goldfish

Hi again, I wouldn’t usually do a book review so soon after another but I have just read one of the best books I have ever read! It is by an author called Annabel Pitcher, a YA author that is quite new to me. She has only written 3 books, and I have read two of them recently; Ketchup Clouds, and Silence is Goldfish. Here is my review on it, starting with the blurb:

“My name is Tess Turner – at least that’s what i’ve always been told. I have a voice but it isn’t mine. I used to say things so i’d fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn’t. It lied. It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too. But the words that really hurt weren’t the lies: it was 617 words that turned my world upside down. Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them. I am Pluto. Silent. Inaccessible. Billions of miles away from everything I thought I knew.”

url

At first the title put me off a bit, I mean, who names a book Silence is Goldfish? I wasn’t really sure if it was something that I would like to read, I haven’t ever read a book like it. It had a bit of a slow start, and a lot was confusing, if you didn’t concentrate fully. But the author really captured Tess’ feelings, making you connect with her. I think a lot of readers were able to relate to her struggles and that made it a helpful book. Annabel Pitcher has a writing style that leaves you thinking, wondering whats going to happen next and who is going to do what, and why. I read it all within four hours, unable to put it down. 

It is a sort of coming-of-age novel, which I like as is different from the usual genre I read. I think one of its main drawbacks is that Pitcher doesn’t go into depth with some of the actions that happens in the book; she mentions them, but them skips ahead, as if they don’t really matter. The book makes you feel as if you are really there, though, as if you are the ones having conversations, or seeing things. Annabel Pitcher speaks as if it is real-life, and it really happened. I would recommend it to people 12+, who like interesting styles writing. I would also say that her style is rather like John Greens, so fans of him will love this. 

I hope you get a chance to read this, because although it has some drawbacks, it is a great book.

SparrowHorse x

 

Book review: Legend

Hi, I’ve been trying to write something on my blog for ages but not much has come to mind recently. A few weeks ago I finished a book called Legend, by Marie Lu. I had never come across this author before, but I thought I’d give it a go. 

FullSizeRender

It is about two people, a boy called Day, and a girl called June. They are both on the run and undercover, and meet each other by chance. June is seeking her brothers murderer, and has sworn revenge on the person who killed him. They are drawn together, neither knowing each others pasts. But Day murdered June’s Brother….

I think that it a great book to read but it is quite hard to get into. At the beginning I found the whole thing a bit confusing and I wasn’t sure whether to read on or not. I did and it slowly came together and I got to know what it was on about. It is a good example of an action book, because it is fast-paced, getting you wanting to turn the page.

Another thing I like about the book is that you get to know the characters quite well. You can easily imagine that you are there, with them, and I like that. I would also say that this book is set in a dystopian world , an imaginary place, where everything is bad or degraded. The way it is set out is kind of like the Hunger Games, and if you a fan of Divergent, or the Hunger Games, I would definitely recommend this to you!

I would recommend this to anyone above 12, as I found some of the chapters quite disturbing and also the language is quite bad! 

There are also two more books after it, making it a trilogy. The last two in my opinion are not as good as the first but if you like the first try out the next two. They are called Prodigy, then Champion.

I hope you think its a good book,

SparrowHorse x