Sunday 1 August 2021

Book Review - Murder Most Unladylike


Title: Murder Most Unladylike

Author: Robin Stevens

Series: Murder Most Unladylike (Book 1) 

Publisher: Puffin 

Release Date: 18 Feb. 2016 

ISBN-13: 978-0141369761


1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't.)
But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell - but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls have to solve a murder, and prove a murder has happened in the first place before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally),
But will they succeed?
And can their friendship stand the test?


My Review

I have seen these books around a lot over the last few years and I always looked at them and thought they would be the sort of thing that I would enjoy but I had never got round to reading them. Then in the last couple of weeks of term, my class had a library lesson and the librarian read an extract from one of the books and I was engrossed. I asked if I could borrow the first book and she gave me a copy straight away. My mum then also told me she was planning on reading them, so we are making our way through the series together and then talking about them.

This is the first book in the series, it is set in 1934 in a girls boarding school, Hazel Wong is our narrator, a young girl from Hong Kong who has come over to America for her full education, learning to fit in and be a part of English society seems oddly challenging to her, but she observes all around and does her best. I like Hazel, I think she is funny and silly and has a good sense of humour. She makes friends with Daisy Wells who is the quintessential English girl - blonde hair, blue eyes, popular and daring. Together they form a Detective society, although nothing of any excitement really happens. Until Hazel finds Miss Bell, their science teacher, dead on the gymnasium floor - suddenly they have a real murder on their hands, and they need to solve it before the whole school finds out, or worse, someone else is next!

I really enjoyed the book, the Agatha Christie references are quite obvious, but there is a real charm about the books, you can't help but like the characters, and the story is fast paced enough to keep you hooked. I had to know who was behind it, and I feared for Hazel and Daisy at times, hoping they would triumph. I had suspicions as to who it was and was pleased that I was proven correct, but I wasn't able to fully solve everything and there were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing.

I will definitely be reading more of the series and would recommend these to anyone who loves a good mystery, they are gripping, charming and delightful.


My Rating


Book Review - All Dogs Great and Small

 Title: All Dogs Great and Small

Author: Graeme Hall 

Publisher: ‎ Ebury Press 

Release Date: 18 Feb. 2021 

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1529107449

Have you ever wished you could get the dog in your life to behave better?
Enter Graeme Hall: The Dogfather.
Having worked with more than 5,000 dogs, of all shapes and sizes, Graeme has seen pretty much every behavioural issue going. And - whether it's house-destruction, fear and anxiety, or aggression - he's helped to fix it.
From the Great Dane scared of a chihuahua and the Labrador that barked whenever his owners tried to eat, to the schoolboy error that landed him in hospital, in All Dogs Great and Small, Graeme shares some of his hard-won, often hilarious, success stories (as well as the odd disaster). Backed up by scientific research, he also reveals his simple, practical and effective golden rules for dog training, which will enable you to understand your dog, help you drive better behaviours and give you the tools to bring much-needed harmony to your home.

My Review

This isn't my normal type of read, but I enjoy watching 'Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly) on TV and my dad bought this book and offered me the chance to read it. I don't have a dog myself but often go over and walk my parents dog so I thought, 'why not?' and gave this a go.

It tells stories from Graeme's career and some of the encounters he has had with dogs and their owners, but also offers some advice and wisdom on how to get the best behaviour and response from your dog. It's easy to read and flows really well, it reads like Graeme is talking to you, which I really liked. 

There is a certain sarcastic humour to parts of it, and of course things that should be common sense, but I really enjoyed reading his take on training and situations and would definitely apply some of them to my own dog when I get one in the future.

A very interesting book with some helpful tips and tricks and some heartwarming stories too. A must for any fans of the show, or any dog owners.


My Rating


Book Review - Melt


Title: Melt

Author: Ele Fountain 

Publisher: ‎ Pushkin Children's Books 

Release Date: 29 April 2021

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1782692881



Yutu lives in a remote, Arctic village with his elderly grandmother. Their traditional way of life is threatened by the changing snow and ice, which melts faster every year.
Bea is trying to adapt to yet another new school. Worse still, her father’s new job takes up any spare time, and his behaviour becomes odd and secretive. On a trip she hopes will fix things, their fates take a drastic turn and Bea's life becomes entwined with Yutu's in a way she could never have imagined.
Together, they are locked in a desperate race for survival.

My Review

I started my summer holidays off with this book, we will be using this book during the first week of term with our new year 7's (11-12year olds), so I needed to read this so that I can help plan some lessons based on it.

I was worried that the book would be really preachy and overly factual but I was very pleased to find that it was actually a really nice story based around 2 different yet likeable characters and their struggles with fitting in and finding purpose. There is some mention and focus on the fact that the ice is melting and therefore people's way of life is changing, but it was presented as more of a challenge that our characters faced within their lives and those around them, and I never felt like I was being moaned at or coerced into donating to something. It was handled subtly but still with meaning.

The story starts with alternating narrative, the chapters alternate between Yutu and Bea. Yutu lives in a small, remote village in the arctic, his parents died when he was a child and he has been brought up by his grandma. She is very over-protective and never seems to want Yutu to do anything. He goes to school, he studies and he helps round the house. But Yutu has dreams, if he studies hard enough he may be able to get into a college and leave his tiny town. But his determination to prove himself often gets him into trouble.

Bea has moved to another new school, her father's job means they move around a lot, and this is at least the tenth or twelfth move. Immediately she feels like she doesn't fit in, she somehow upsets the popular girls and suddenly life is miserable. On top of that, her father starts to act strange and she feels like she is being pushed away by everyone. Then her father invites her on a flight for a job, but when they get ambushed, Bea has to run and try to find help, that's when she meets Yutu.

After that all the chapters are narrated by Bea, i did miss Yutu's voice a bit, but it definitely made it easier to follow, having to focus on just one point of view.

I found the book very easy to read and follow, I liked the main characters and I felt myself getting invested in their story, I wanted to know what would happen and if they would survive. The book is not very long and I had finished in just over 2 hours. It was creative, moving and different and I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.  


My Rating