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The Famous Five Series: Mini reviews of books 1-5

As I mentioned before, this year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. That’s why I decided that I will re-read all 21 books from the series. I’m slowly finishing with reading – I still have one book to read. But here are my mini-reviews of first five books in the series. Synopsis and pictures are from the official site.

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Five on a Treasure Island

Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. One day, George takes them to explore nearby Kirrin Island, with its rocky little coast and old ruined castle on the top. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure. Who – and what – will they find there?

This is the first book and as expectedly this book is more of an introduction of all the characters. We get to know their personalities and setting, their adventure remains behind. Still, it was a nice read.

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Five Go Adventuring Again

In their second adventure, the Famous Five find a thief at Kirrin Cottage. They think they know who it is, but need to prove it. Will the discovery of a very old map help uncover the true culprit?

I thought this adventure was quite boring, especially for the second adventure in a row. Maybe it was because of the winter time and the fact, that friends were limited with outdoor space. Still, it was fun to read about secret passages and mysterious map.

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Five Run Away Together

The Famous Five discover that someone has been on George’s island. And what is locked in the mysterious trunk hidden on Kirrin Island? The Famous Five think they’re on the trail of smugglers – until they hear a child scream…

This book was really interesting. The bad guys were interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about our friends spending time on George’s island. They are so independent and what a lovely housewife Anne is! This adventure was intriguing and it kept me hooked until the end.

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Five Go To Smuggler’s Top

The Famous Five stay at the large old house at Smuggler’s Top. They discover secret hiding places, underground tunnels, and one night they catch people signalling out to sea! Are there still smugglers at Smuggler’s Top?

This book was dark! And because of that, it was amazing! Such a dark settling, with wonderful descriptions of marshes and creepy old house. The adventure was entertaining and full of twists. Not to mention spooky Block and new friends of our five friends. I was really entertained while reading.

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Five Go Off in a Caravan

The Famous Five go on a caravan holiday. When they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around…

The new location, a new adventure. As far as I love mysteries in Kirrin or Kirrin Island, I also love it, when Five go around, traveling and meeting new people. At first, I didn’t like this book, because I thought that kids were a little bit pushy. But after a while, reading became fun again. And there are smugglers in adventure again!

 

Did you read any of Famous Five books as a child? What did you think about them then and what do you think about it now? Do you remember any of this five books mentioned here? Please, share your thought with me!

 

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Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green35504431

Aza is a perfectly normal teenager who is investigating the disappearance of a millionaire, with a help from her best friend Daisy. They started with an investigation because there’s a reward for any information about disappeared millionaire Pickett. They’re lucky because Aza hanged out with Pickett’s son Davis when they were younger.

But the disappearance is not the only thing that occupies Aza. She suffers from anxiety, a mental disorder that makes her everyday difficult and affects relationships with her loved ones and friends.


Two stories are intertwined in the book. The first is the story of Aza, which is actually a rather average girl who suffers from anxiety and OCD. The other is the story of the investigation of a missing millionaire.

Green decided that he would discuss the topic of mental illnesses in his book, which is great. Mental illnesses are common and much present today, but they are rarely discussed, especially in YA literature.

I believe it’s difficult for young people who know that they have problems, to define what is actually wrong with them and how to deal with their disorders, or where they can seek help. It’s important to know what we’re dealing with and how to verbalize our feelings and mental state. And Green is quite good at this. And yet, it seemed to me that he was exaggerating. And I am saying this from my own experience because anxiety has been a part of me since I can remember. Nevertheless Green’s good intentions, I could not identify with Aza’s character and what she was experiencing.

Nonetheless, Aza seemed as a likable character through which Green attempts to portray what people with anxiety are facing and how thoughts can have a negative impact on the person and his everyday life. And how negative thoughts can actually control a person. What really disturbed me in the book was Aza’s rejection of medical treatment. Many people don’t have the opportunity to seek help or to treat their mental illnesses. Still, despite the privilege of having this opportunity, Aza consciously rejects treatments. Do not understand me wrong, I know that healing is only a small step towards improving the conditions and that it is a lengthy process that does not end. A person has to live with such disorders every day until the end of his life. However, treatment is an important part of this process, which should be more obvious from reading this book.

I’m also aware that every mental illness is shown in a different way, but I could not identify with Aza’s disorder. It seems to me that she reacts all too easily in certain situations and she’s living a simple life – her mental illness just makes her more introverted than others. But, as has already been said, it is likely that each illness is indicated in a different way. However, I am interested how people who never had any problems with anxieties would comprehend everything written and how the ones who are living with it will.

The disappearance of the millionaire is the frame of the story, which, however, fades somehow through the book. I understand that Green wanted to devote to other topics, but he ignored something that led to the plot itself and the story of the book. And the fact that he put the basic story on the side, didn’t make a good impression on me. In the end, it seems like Green has given himself too heavy task, which he couldn’t accomplish. The disappearance only helps as a driving force to another situation, and in the end, it all seems tepid. It looks like book wouldn’t have a common thread, and I had a feeling that nothing much is happening in the book.

If I mention language and writing style, I don’t have any complaints. Green certainly does not underestimate its readers of different ages. He also knows how to create charming characters who are not fake. Yes, they are all unique, because obviously, it can’t get without that. Still, they don’t stand out in the way that this would disturb the reading. They are confronted with the problems that all people in real life have and sometimes they are not successful. They live lives like we all do. However, it seems to me that at times he is exaggerating with incorporating of philosophy, especially in dialogues. In my opinion, this makes dialogues fake and unrealistic.

I gave this book two stars because I thought it was ok reading, but it was also just a regular read.

Rating: 2/5 stars

 

Did you already read this book? What do you think about it?

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Book Review: Fear Nothing

Title: Fear Nothing

Author: Dean Koontz959386

Christopher Snow has a rare genetic disorder that doesn’t affect many people – he is very sensitive to light. He spends his days in his house, and only at night, he can walk through the abandoned streets of the Moonlight Bay. Despite his illness, his parents tried to provide him a normal life.

On the evening of his father’s death, Christopher witnesses events that turn his life on the head. He discovers the secrets of Moonlight Bay and its strange inhabitants.


I regret that I gave this book a chance at all. I wanted to give it a chance because this was my first Koontz book and then I was so far, that it would be unreasonable to quit.

I also won’t go much into the details of the plot because I don’t want to give out key details. All can I say is, that it’s too bad because the story itself has a potential that unfortunately has remained unused. In the small town of Moonlight Bay, the main hero witnesses events that turn his world upside down and lead him to further exploration, leading to the shocking secrets hidden by the city and its inhabitants.

The main character is Christopher Snow, who has a rare genetic disorder that makes him very sensitive to light. Of course, this complicates a story, because he’s not like other heroes who can heroically go out to explore the secrets. Christopher has to care that he is hidden and protected from light, which means that he can move around the city only during the night time, even so, in dimly lit spaces. This certainly brings additional tension to the plot. But with this, the positive aspects of this book end.

Christopher (at least to me) was a pretty unpleasant character. Regarding his disorder, he is very confident in himself and his actions. He was fearless and immediately for action, which I would not expect from such a character and which did not fit his personality. Above all, I was disturbed by his strange reactions to most of the events, which were completely pointless and for which it would be difficult to say that one of us would also do.

I will write just two examples, there are not any big spoilers but still, don’t read if you’re interested in a story.

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Example I: In a house where they just killed a woman he knew, he examines all the rooms, even though he knows he’s not alone. He’s not thinking about escaping, but it’s his goal to check all the rooms (?!? – we don’t know what he’s looking for). Then, they set him a porcelain doll in a passage, with his hat in the doll’s hands. But that doesn’t terrify him at all. The doll only arouses his discomfort because he doesn’t know why the doll has his hat?!?

Example II: His father leaves a letter for him, explaining some of the events from the past. But Christopher does not read it because it’s always time for that. He rather went to his girlfriend and they spend a whole day in bed.

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Most of the time, I was like… wtf?!? And such examples appear throughout the book and while reading, I was constantly wondering what was wrong with him. But it’s not just him, all the characters are like that. And that’s why reading is bizarre. Additionally, there is a whole bunch of pointless descriptions and irredeemable dialogues that are not at all relevant to the story.

In the end, I also found that this is the first part of a series of three books. I did not like the ending, the whole book even less, and despite the fact that in this book we don’t get to know anything about the mystery of the Moonlight Bay, I have no interest to read any other book in this series.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it? Are all Koontz’s books like that? Or would you recommend reading any other? Please, leave comments below!

 

 

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Book Review: Ripper

Title: Ripper

Author: Isabel Allende

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Unexplained murders are happening in San Francisco and even the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide is having a hard time investigating them. But his seventeen years old daughter Amanda is helping him. Amanda was always fascinated by crimes and she’s also a leader in online game Ripper, where she’s solving crimes with her online friends. With her players and help of her grandfather, she soon discovers that crimes in San Francisco are connected to each other and they’re work of a serial killer. And suddenly her mother disappears. Is she a next victim?


This was my first book from author Isabel Allende. I have heard wonderful things about her books but I was even more attracted by this book because of its synopsis. I love a good mystery book so I couldn’t wait to read it. But, I was truly disappointed.

The story reveals the process of searching a serial killer and details about murders. However, unfortunately, this part is often pushed into the background, because the author focuses on other details of the story which are not really relevant. Thus, most of the story consists of descriptions of people, who they are, what were they doing in the past and what they are doing now. Yet, even these descriptions are not well written or entertaining, but they are quite poorly written. Like short summaries, which are repeated too many times. I also noticed that in most cases, events and extensively writing about them have not provided anything to the story, but it was a ballast that made reading awkward and extended book to more than 500 pages.

Because of that, even the story about a crime isn’t as interesting as it could be. Often I completely forgot what book was about. And it’s like the author had the same problems as I had – every few chapters this serial-killer-story is forcibly resurrected back to life. I guess just because readers are expecting it?!?

All the characters stood out too much to be pleasant. Nobody was average, they were all some crazy-bohemian-heroic persons. This for me was also a reason, why reading about their relationships sounded insincere and unnatural. There were too many complications, rather than focusing on the original story that actually attracted me.

The last few chapters of the book were for me the most pleasing, when the story of a killer began to unfold and where the reader finds out about killers motives that brought to crimes. Again, there was a lot of details but it actually made sense. The rest of the book was just *yawn*.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read Ripper? What are your thoughts about this book? Can you recommend me any other book by Allende?

 

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Book Review: The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe

Title: The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe

Author: Romain Puertolas19347251

This is a story about Fakir from India, who comes to France, where he wants to buy a bed of nails in IKEA. He only has a fake one hundred euro banknote in his pocket and this is the only money he has. The first victim of his fraud is a taxi driver but he’s not the only one. However, things get complicated in Ikea and fakir lands on the fantastic journey through European countries, where he meets new friends and, of course, enemies.


This book was published in our country a few years ago if I’m not mistaken and I heard it’s entertaining and worth of reading. Unfortunately, I didn’t have same feelings while reading it.

First, something about the plot. I think that author exaggerated in every possible way. Yes, fakir journey was fantastic but more in a sci-fi way. Everything was so contrived that I had troubles following the plot. Ignoring this fact, this is a book about a man who was living as a fraud all his life and then, one journey and people he meets, change his life and his views. Quite a cliche, which is not exactly my thing.

But most of all, I was disturbed by writing style. Just like among the people, even among the books, there are two categories. The first category includes those who are funny and know how to tell jokes, but they are also spontaneous and enjoyable. In the second category are those who want to be funny, so they tell memorized jokes, which is unnatural and anything but funny. And this book belongs in the second category.

Furthermore, I found the book very racist. The author very directly exposes the European superiority of race and civilization and humiliates others by joking about them. Certain things must be read in context, and therefore I will not write about it here because it would take too long. But while reading I also keep noticing “innocent” jokes which should be funny (?!?). Just a few examples: five black people were automatically named Jackson Five, Roms are named Gipsy Kings, Roms women were more than once called prostitutes (once only on the basis of their clothing styles). These are the things that upset me and are also a reason why I wouldn’t recommend this book.

After reading I was surprised that this book was so successful and popular. I know that I may have a different sense of humor than most, but I still think that people should know where is the line between good and bad taste.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Did you read this book? What were your thoughts about it? I would love to hear your opinion in comments!

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Book Review: Feed

Title: Feed

Author: Mira Grant

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In the near future, people live a different life than we used to. After the outbreak of the virus in the year 2014, which turned a majority of the population into zombies, people have to get used to a new life and always present fear. Because of the fear of infection, people keep to themselves and they’re more active on the Internet.

Georgia and Shaun Mason are sister and brother, who wish to break among the best of the press on Internet. Finally, they’re lucky enough to get a story that will profoundly change their lives.


I had this book on my tbr for years and when I saw it in a library, I couldn’t believe my own luck! Because a good book about zombies is what I always like to read, and the cover promised me just that. What a mistake!

So, if you want an exciting story about zombies and fighting them, this is definitely not a book for you. Because there are no zombies. Well, they are, but not as one would expect when you pick up a book about zombies like that.

The story itself is well written, full of details which are well explained and while reading, you can really see that author put a lot of effort in the story itself. We learn everything about the background of a virus outbreak, what happened during and after the outbreak and how life changed after that. Full details are included on the technical things that people are using for the identification and detection of the virus, the author even included the moral and religious issues raised by the virus. Which is amazing. However, there are no zombies. They are just a backdrop for the story, which is actually taking place. And the main story is just about politic.

Georgia and Shaun become part of the escort team, which covers the presidential elections. They accompany a candidate who might become the President and the story is actually only about this. What dirty intrigues are taking place behind the scenes, how people would do anything for a campaign and how the public opinion is formed through press coverage. All was interesting to read, but for my taste, it was too many details, and of course, I expected something entirely else when I picked up this book.

I also couldn’t connect with main characters, Georgia, and Shaun. There was something strange in their relationship and being completely honest, I expected and incest act until the end of the book (there was none, no worries). Even as individuals they didn’t convince me. Georgia was such a hard-ass and Shaun couldn’t even stand out because he was never alone, always with his sister – like, he couldn’t exist without her. Other characters were nothing special. Nobody stood out.

I wanted to give up reading several times because I was just so bored. It became interesting somewhere around page 350, which is halfway through the book. The second half of the book was better and quite ok, I actually became interested in what will happen. However, this does not outweigh the misery of the first half of it, all the politics and not enough zombies. Not to mention that certain things were too often explained – for example, checking blood contamination. Every time, but really EVERY time the process has been described in details, just like the model of the appliance – and their blood was checked at least 4 times per page. Ugh!

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read this book or maybe also the sequels? What did you think about series? Is it worth it to continue with next book? Please, comment down below!

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Book Review: Slade House

Title: Slade House

Author: David Mitchell24500887

 

In London, in the Slade Valley, is where you can find a Slade House. However, the usual passers-by can’t see it. Slade House opens its doors every nine years, for a chosen person. This person is invited to enter the Slade House by its two strange residents, brother and sister, who carefully choose, who will visit them.

Though, the chosen one does not enjoy in a visit for a long time and also can’t leave the Slade House just like that.


This is the first book that I read from the author Mitchell and certainly not the last. And this review will probably be short but I really don’t want to talk about the book too much or spoil anything.

The book is quite short and in each new chapter, there is a new character. It all begins in 1979 when the boy enters the house, and the story ends in 2015. So, every nine years a new person enters the house with his own life story and discover the secrets behind the Slade House.

Each story reveals more about the Slade House and mystery behind it and each story creates more tension which towards the end of the book only intensify. It’s amazing how all characters are well developed, despite their diversity and shortness of the chapters. The book really isn’t long, neither are chapters but it’s still really well written. I was hooked right from the first page, from the first story. But with each new character, I wanted to know more.

The ending was unexpected for me but rather average for a book like that. Considering the plot before, I expected something else, something more unique. But despite everything, it was a solid conclusion.

For me, it was not spooky at all, even though this is a horror book. Yes, there were moments that were creepy but otherwise, this book is more of a fun and intense read that you can’t put down.

Slade House was a pleasant introduction to Mitchell’s writing and I can’t wait to read something else by him.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Did you read Slade House or any other book by David Mitchell? What are your thoughts about it?