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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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The Famous Five 75th Anniversary

This year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I adored reading about Famous Five adventures as a child and I read all the books numerous times.

There are 21 books in the series and I wanted to reread them for a long time. When I find out about the anniversary, I decided it’s finally time.

I will make a mini review for every single book, probably for five books in a time.

If you’re interested, you can also check Enid Blyton’s official site, which is gorgeous and amazing. You can also find coloring pages there and a checklist for all Famous Five books (and many other things).

Of course, you can also read about Blyton’s life and her other books. You can find a link to the page here. Please, check amazing new covers made for the 75th anniversary. Seriously, I can’t believe how gorgeous they are (I will read translated versions of books from my local library)!

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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: 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?

 

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Book Review: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Title: The Taxidermist’s Daughter

Author: Kate Mosse

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1921, Sussex. Connie lives with her father, who used to be a successful taxidermist with his own museum of stuffed animals. He had to close the museum after Connie’s accident when she was twelve years old. Connie doesn’t remember what happened at the night of the accident but since then, her father was not the same. They sold the museum and moved to Fishbourne Marshes.

Since then, her father seeks consolation in alcohol and Connie is the one who’s trying to continue the family business. However, taxidermy is no longer popular as it used to be and they’re having a hard time. Besides that, her father’s behavior is stranger every day and Connie is not sure anymore if it’s only alcohol to blame. Besides, she’s having a hard time also, getting into a strange condition where she remembers fragments of her accident which she can’t connect. Things get even worse when they find a body of a murdered woman near the house and her father goes missing.


Oh, Kate Mosse. How I used to love her books. I was obsessed with Languedoc Trilogy! She really can conjure the gothic obscure atmosphere in her books. She didn’t disappointed with this book either because she has chosen a truly perfect place for a mysterious storyline of this book – the misty marshes of England. Kate Mosse truly knows how to invoke a horror of the place, so reader can easily imagine being there.

This book was full of charming details, including the details of taxidermy. There were many descriptions of animals, particularly birds. Honestly, maybe this book would impress me even more if I would understand everything completely. But because I read this book in English, I was too lazy to check every word in a dictionary (there were too many unknown words).

The story itself was interesting. It was tense, despite the fact that I have soon found out, what’s going on and what’s behind the disappearance of men’s. Notwithstanding this, I still enjoyed reading. There are actually two stories in one plot, the one from present days and the one from the past. Which of course, connects at the end.

The characters were unremarkable. Connie is a nice young lady who takes care of her father and has found her solace in taxidermy. She was helpful and nice to everyone. But that was pretty much everything. There were many other characters – too many sometimes because I was often confused about all the names. Moreover, one of them were named after birds (ugh!).

Certainly, I expected more, especially more refined plotline. The writing style is superb and I could read Mosse’s writing every day. Descriptions of the landscape, the weather, all the details exceeded my expectations. But sometimes this just ain’t enough.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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Book Review: Stone Bruises

Title: Stone Bruises

Author: Simon Beckett18189475

Sean is a young Englishman who is on the run. He finds himself on a remote farm in the French countryside, where he accidentally steps in the trap, set for animals. Because of the bleeding, he passes out and after a while, he wakes up in an attic. He’s confused at first but finds out that a woman from a farm took care of him and his wound. However, her father, old Arnaud, who is also a farm owner, doesn’t want him on his estate. Nevertheless, Sean stays on the farm, because the injury is really bad.

His past is chasing him but at the same time, he’s attracted to the mysteries of the farm and its residents.


I read Beckett’s mysteries when I want to read a good crime novel but at the same time I know, I won’t have to think much while reading. His books relax and entertain me. They are always good enough and until I read this book, I was never disappointed.

Book Stone Bruises actually combines two stories – first is about Sean on the run and how he ends in the farm, while the second story are snapshots from Sean’s past from London and the events that lead to his run.

After Sean’s arriving on the mysterious farm, I was constantly in tension, what secrets would be revealed and I was expecting horrific crimes that residents on the farm are hiding. Things were unveiled but I had to wait almost to the end of the book. And it was far from shocking and far from horrific things that I expected to be revealed. Until the end, this book was just describing Sean’s daily routine on the farm, his work and tense relations between Arnaud and his two daughters.

I didn’t like none of the characters and I can only assume, that this was an intention of the author if he wanted to show intolerable relations on the farm and its eccentric inhabitants. I even didn’t have a good opinion about Sean. Despite the fact, he was on the run, he still insisted in intolerable conditions and allowed to be humiliated by old man. He involved himself into something that was not necessary. He could leave anytime. But no, he stayed on the farm and got himself into a strange and unenviable situation.

I was also disappointed with Sean’s story about his past/crime he committed. Through the book, the story is progressively revealed but I expected so much more from it also.

As I already mentioned, all the secrets are revealed. But in the last few pages, which is really a pity. It was just too much of everything and not shocking at all. Too bad.

This book was not bad, but in my opinion, there are many other better crime novels to read, so I would probably not recommend it. Just grab some other book, if you want to enjoy a good mystery.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? Did you read any other Beckett’s books and what did you think about them?