Mystory Notes

For me it is less about the reading, and more about the story.

The Ghost, The Owl

The Ghost, The Owl - Betsy Franco The Story In Three Words: Friendship, Hope, Integrity

As is often the case with children’s stories, what you think is a simple moral tale takes a dark and a dramatic turn. The Ghost, The Owl is no exception to this. The story is a poignant one, made all the more impactful by the beautiful illustrations. With a wistful artistic style, the fantasy plot unfolds in an easy to follow and accessible way. It is also a very quick read (still worth it).

Although I read the advance copy on an eReader, the book will be published in hardback when it is finally released in May. It would make a beautiful addition to any bookshelf. It is easy to see why the illustrator Sara Richard has won awards. The images are magical!

The Ghost, The Owl is a beauty of a book. Definitely one I would read with my goddaughter once she is a bit older (she’s not even two yet!).

Murder Most Unladylike

Murder Most Unladylike - Robin  Stevens '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 my blog and includes more details on what I highlighted while reading and why.


The Death Cure

The Death Cure - James Dashner, Mark Deakins image" width="75" height="75" alt="didn't finish couldn't finish"/>

Northern Lights

Northern Lights - Philip Pullman 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 my blog.


Pokémon Adventures, Vol. 1 (2nd Edition)

Pokémon Adventures, Vol. 1 (2nd Edition) - Hidenori Kusaka Good evening. My name is Philippa. I'm 33 and I am obsessed with Pokémon.


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 my blog.


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum To follow...

Storm Front

Storm Front - Richard Castle More detailed review to follow...


The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) - James Dashner, Mark Deakins More detailed review to follow...


A Bloody Storm

A Bloody Storm - Richard Castle This was worth the terrible second instalment. More detailed review to follow in a few days....

A Raging Storm

A Raging Storm - Richard Castle More detailed review to follow...


Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck It is always a joy to experience this book with students for the first time. They can never believe it really ends the way it does!


Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3

Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3 - Veronica Roth ***THIRD REVISION*** I wish I hadn't read this book. I have decided I would rather not know their fate than have this be the ending. The first book meant this story was so full of promise and yet this is where things ended.

Does this book deserve more stars because of how much it has affected me? Nope. You don't reward bad behaviour.

**AFTER THOUGHT** Since watching the end of 'How I Met Your Mother' I have changed how I view this book. Perhaps the story was not really want I thought it was about after all? Maybe the story was about what happens next?

**ORIGINAL REVIEW** Perhaps three stars is too many? There were moments in this book that I really enjoyed but my goodness there were HUGE chunks of it that I just couldn't cope with. It was slow and dull and with such simple language it really needed more of a plot to compensate. During the plane ride for example, what should have been an earth shattering moment of revelation, was just meh!

Oh and the ending? What an anti-climax!

Plus side? The voice actor who played four was delicious to listen to!

2 Stars

Deadly Heat

Deadly Heat - Richard Castle This was the first Nikki Heat book that I had to wait for. I was far too excited about it being released and devoured in only two before-bed sittings.

The review I left on Heat Wave applies to all books in the series. They are much of a muchness - that isn't a complaint!



Insurgent  - Veronica Roth, Emma Galvin This book didn't live up to  the first but still had plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested. Had I not been listening to it there would likely have sections that I would have skim read over, but I doubt I would have given up completely. Tris' lack of self-belief and overall self-loathing was irritating. I wanted her to be strong, especially as there were people who needed her to be. If this had been book one, I wouldn't have picked up the second but seeing as I powered through, the cliff-hanger did convince me to finish the trilogy. 

3 Stars


Matched  - Ally Condie Dystopia - CHECK
Teenagers having choice taken away from them - CHECK
One girl out to change everything - CHECK
Some teen angst - CHECK
A little romance - CHECK

I should of loved this book, but sadly the troupes that are staples of my reading list just didn't seem to come together. The characters lacked the depth that they have in similar stories. I just couldn't make myself care about Cass and I never really believed in her feelings for Ky. Their relationship still felt pre-determined in the way that it unfolded, rather that it being based on something real (like a burnt loaf of bread*).

Unfortunately this book wasn't the start of a trilogy for me, or even a one hit wonder. The ending didn't leave me wanting more, rather it left me with the need to go and re-read 'The Hunger Games'.

*Said without a hint of sarcasm. I honestly believe that.

2 Stars


Divergent  - Veronica Roth, Emma Galvin Those who have read my other reviews know I rate more on enjoyment than I do quality of literature. When you are reading for pleasure that is all that counts, for me anyway.

I adored this book. It had me on the edge of my seat. I loved discovering the world, the characters, the tension. It ticked all the boxes I look for in a book. Yes, yes, dystopian fiction is all the rage but actually I have been into it since I was a teenager and first read 'A Brave New World.'

I remember thinking, could 'Divergent' be better than 'The Hunger Games'? (I mean the book, not the trilogy).

I try very hard not to let me feelings about the later books taint my view of this one, as well as the trailer for the film which just looks awful in comparison! I'm sticking with 5 stars for the memory of how I felt when I first read it.


5 Stars

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