‘Murder Most Unladylike’ British Books Challenge February Read

The British Books Challenge is a simple one. Read one book each month throughout 2018 that has a British author. You can my other #BritishBooksChallenge18 posts here.

I was eager to see who the Author of the Month would be for February. Determined to read outside of my usual go-to authors I was keen to pick up something new.

AUTHOR-OF-THE-MONTH-FEB-GRAPHIC

Robin Stevens is not an author I had heard of before. She has a new book coming out this month (‘Spoonful of Murder’), but seeing as it is the latest in a series I decided to go back and read the debut.

Now, as someone who is expecting to move in the next few months, I am torn between buying new books and the thought of having to pack them ! I decided it was time to fully embrace the digital age and get ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ on the Kindle. Oh and buy my first Kindle too (it is the 8th generation #latetotheparty)

I tweeted my excitement about this and then ended up in a conversation with Robin Stevens herself!

Robin Stevens Tweet.png

Kindle Tweet.png


REVIEW

Murder Most Unladylike (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #1)Book Title: Murder Most Unladylike
Author: Robin Stevens
Series: Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, Book 1
Genres: Mystery, Middle Grade, Childrens
Format: Kindle

add to goodreads


Synopsis

Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?


‘Murder Most Unladylike’ is a quick and simple read. At least to me as an adult. I can think of several students who I would have recommended this to while I was teaching. The language is straight forward and accessible thanks to the first person narrative. The story is paced nicely and I like how it is broken up into parts. This is particularly useful for children that don’t have great attention spans. Rather than getting lost in long chapters or elongated scenes, the story is fast paced and engaging. Perfect!

To begin with I wasn’t really sure if a murder had taken place. I thought perhaps the girls were just reading into things incorrectly but then there was another one! Oh and, I did not guess the murderer at all. That reveal came as a complete surprise to me. There was a moment where I was worried it was going to go down the dreaded teacher-student affair route (it didn’t thankfully!).

Small note for Kindle readers – there are times where images of a notebook are included and they appear small and hard to read. A smidge annoying but doesn’t take away from overall enjoyment of the story.

This review is also featured on Goodreads.

4 Stars
Really enjoyed the story. Related to the characters/issues. Would strongly recommend.

Want to see what I highlighted while I was reading? Click here.

My Book Rating System

 

 

REVIEW: Pokémon Adventures, Vol. 1

Pokémon Adventures, Vol. 1 (Pokémon Adventures, #1)Book Title: Pokémon Adventures
Author: Hidenori Kusaka
Series: Volume 1
Genres: Manga
Format: Paperback

add to goodreads


Synopsis

Adventures based on the best-selling video games! All your favourite Pokémon game characters jump out of the screen into the pages of this action-packed manga!

Red doesn’t just want to train Pokémon, he wants to be their friend too. Bulbasaur and Poliwhirl seem game. But independent Pikachu won’t be so easy to win over!

And watch out for Team Rocket, Red… They only want to be your enemy!

Reads R to L (Japanese Style).


Good evening. My name is Philippa. I’m 33 and I am obsessed with Pokémon.

Still.

I’ve have read comics and graphic novels before, but this is my first manga read. It took me a little getting used to (I was reading the pages the right to left but not the panels to start with) but it was a fun read.

Not only was I pleased with myself for reading outside my comfort zone with this book, but also with how quickly I was able to add something else to my 2018GoodreadsChallenge.

While the reading experience was a strange one to me, so was the story world. Ash and Pikachu have been best buddies since the beginning, or so I thought. Apparently it was originally Ash and Poliwhirl. Oh and he isn’t called Ash either, this time he is known as Red. The story seems more inspired by the game than the animated series (it may have come first I’ve not googled it). Red is out exploring to help Professor Oak fill out the information in the Pokedex.

Don’t worry he does get a Pikachu eventually. But…

You see Pikachu in his pokeball. It’s just weird.

Putting that to one side. I enjoyed the whole experience and would read more.

This review is also featured on Goodreads.

3 Stars
Guilty pleasure read. Would recommend with that caveat.

REVIEW: Northern Lights

Northern Lights (His Dark Materials, #1)Book Title: Northern Lights
Author: Philip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials, Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, Childrens, Adventure, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Magic
Format: Audible Audiobook

add to goodreads


Synopsis

What Lyra likes best is “clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war.”

But Lyra’s carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust.

Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from “gyptians“ to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.


It has taken me years to get to the end of this book. Literally. And I mean literally literally.

I first started listening to it on a long drive back in the winter of 2015. I added a bookmark at the end of chapter 7 and then it wasn’t until over a year later that I picked it up again. That time I only got to the end of Part 1. Another year later (the latter half of 2017) I decided it was time to give it another go. I was determined to listen to the whole trilogy.

I don’t think my disjointed listening was a result of me not enjoying the story, but it was slow paced. Lyra’s irritating lack of correct grammar was also putting me off. The action doesn’t really kick in until Part 2 (at least clearly not enough action to keep me hooked). It only took me about a month to get through Part 2. At the time of writing this I am less than an hour away from finished the next book.

I am now (and maybe I wasn’t in the beginning) a big fan of cast performances of audio books. It gives the story a more dynamic listening experience (which is important when listening on long drives and trying to stay awake).

An awful lot happens in this first book, but it clearly didn’t happen at a pace that kept me interested. Lyra covers an awful lot of ground and the story therefore allows itself to be put down each time she moves on to the next place. You have some resolution so you stop listening ready to tune in next week. Or next year in my case.

Maybe if I had been reading it I would have finished it sooner? We will never know.

In short. Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. Did like it enough to keep going with the trilogy.

This review is also featured on Goodreads.

3 Stars
It was fine. I wouldn’t jump to recommend it.

REVIEW: Breaking Dawn

Book Title: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Series: Twilight, Book 4
Genres: Young Adult, Romance
Format: Paperback

add to goodreads

The review I wrote for Twilight applies to New Moon (#2) and Eclipse (#3) as well.


Synopsis

When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed… forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions. 


Imagine the scene. You’ve read three books in a matter of days, and these books are a fair size. You’ve got one book left. There is no reason you can’t finish that last book in a few days. And then Christmas comes. And you have to work. And you are moving house. Seriously frustrating.

All you want to do finish this gosh darn book! You aren’t even really enjoying the series but there is some kind of sick fascination that keeps you ploughing on. I mean, your friend has already spoiled for you that it was the baby she was destined to have that he was in love with. Why would you want to read that? Who knows. But you do.

Finally you start reading.

Bleurgh!

If I hadn’t been quite so unhealthily addicted thanks to the earlier books I would never had made it to this terrible conclusion. I was determined to read the book before New Years Day and I slowly felt the enthusiasm for this series being sucked out of me with each passing page.

Why talk about a fight for nearly 100 pages and then not have it?

How can the reason it never worked be because you are meant to be with the girl’s child?

These and so many questions remain. Including, how can I get this time back?

Terrible.

Please Note: This review has been copied over from Goodreads

1 Star
Honestly not sure how I finished. Frustrating read.