Mentally Visiting the Swiss Mountains

I’ve read this story many times before, but not in a long while. I re-read it this January as part of the Booktube ReReadathon (as I mentioned here) ran by Alex Black Reads and Abi Mack Reads. The prompt for this month was a translated work, and Heidi was originally published in German by a Swiss author, Johanna Spyri.

I loved this when I first read it as a child, it really resonated with the kind of child that I was who loved being outdoors in nature and didn’t fit in with “well behaved” society. Re-reading it again as an adult I found it incredibly sweet, and I’m glad that I first read it as a child. Despite it being from the 1880s it has, in my opinion, aged very well and I loved the feeling of being free within the Swiss countryside and in the mountains.

I can’t find faults with the aim of this book, it’s a simple read which just aims to get children to appreciate the outdoors whilst not vilifying those who stay indoors for various reasons. I will definitely encourage children in my future to pick this book up and hopefully nurture a love of the outdoors within them.

Have you read Heidi? Do/did you read classic children’s books? Honestly, I still read kids classics and regular kids books and I love them!

Not what the eye first sees?

I’m slowly getting my way through the Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence, and this was my most recent endeavour. The Beggar of Volubilis takes the quartet to Africa, as they make their way across the continent to find the Eye of Nero and also Flavia’s uncle. Saying anything more would probably ruin the rest of the series prior to this book! It really relies on prior books unlike many of the other stories.


Don’t get me wrong, this can still be read as a standalone as can all of the other books, but there are ongoing plotlines which those who are reading the books in order wouldn’t want to be spoiled for. This is another interesting read which delves further from the heart of the Roman Empire and gives a wider historical knowledge. It honestly wasn’t my favourite, so I need to read more from the series to tell if I’m just aging out of it (which would be really sad) or if it’s just this one book. Fingers crossed!!

Have you read any books from this series? I absolutely adore them and think they are amazing 8-12/middle grade books! I’ve been trying to collect them all, and I’ve read all of the ones that I own, but sadly I’ve not been able to find the rest of the books in the cover type I’m looking for. Honestly, I don’t know if I actually ever will as I tend to hunt for them second hand, but hopefully.

Classic Western Fairy Tales

You’ve probably heard some of these tales before, but likely, they were a little sweeter. The Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen are known for their gory, not-for-kids, fairy tales, so when I saw this book compiling the both of them I knew I had to pick it up.

What I didn’t know when I purchased this book is that all of the authors changed the intensity of their stories over time. They started out writing for adults, and then when they received letters from parents complaining about the goriness they realised their stories were being told to children. It’s at this point that they started to tone down their tales. This does impact some of the stories, I was expecting horrific endings and some of the tales lived up to this, but many of them did not. So just be aware when you pick this up that they aren’t as bad as people make them out to be!

I did really enjoy seeing the base stories for many fairy tales and Disney stories which I’ve seen for years, and I also found it interesting that many of them don’t have any sort of moral attached to them. As this is a common feature of fairy tales when aimed at children.

This was a quick read, and one that I think you should go for if you’re even vaguely interested. These are the foundations of so many tales and stories in Western society and I personally think it’s really interesting to see their origin. I’d really like to pick up more origins of tales from a variety of cultures.

Comment down below any fairy tale stories you enjoy and whether you’ve read tales from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen!

The Eye of the North

First of all, I would like to say thank you to NetGalley for an eARC of this book in return for an unbiased review.

This book is aimed at the 8-12/Middle Grade age range, and recently I’ve found myself really enjoying books within this bracket, so I decided to pick this one up. It’s a tale following a young girl after her parents have been kidnapped, and her being confused and having to find out all of the information by herself. The world building was really interesting to me as it seemed to simultaneously be set in both the past and the future. Our protagonist Emmaline wears bloomers and she is traversing the Atlantic by ship rather than by plane. However, the ocean levels around the world have been rising so much that it has drastically changed countries borders. This is explained much further into the book, but I really enjoyed this little glimpse into climate change and how this book seems to emphasise the point that we need to look after our planet to avoid this future.

I vastly enjoyed the character development within this book, with Thing (yes, that’s his name) really coming into his own and I found him very endearing. Emmaline also seems to become a little less independent, and in her case, this is a good thing! She is much more willing to allow people to help her on her way, which means she is able to do much more.

The way this book ends, I feel like it has been left open for a possible sequel. There is nothing on Goodreads, however, I’d really enjoy diving back into this world and seeing more of these children’s escapades. Definitely a fun, charming and engrossing read and one I would recommend to children and those young at heart!


I can’t believe it took me this long to get to this book! I picked it up in a charity shop for 25p as I had never read it in school and so many people have raved about this book. I am now joining this group, giving the book 4/5*, I read it all in one day (it is short but still) and really felt like part of the group with Caveman (Stanley), our main character, being relateable despite him being a young teenage boy and me a 21 y/o female.

Sachar manages to mix in various different plot lines together based around Camp Green Lake without losing the interest of the reader, intertwining a multitude of plot strings all together to make a fabric which engrosses and captures the reader. Stanley has been sent to Camp Green Lake because of a misunderstanding, however, the justice system doesn’t see this and sends him off to dig holes in the desert. This is supposed to be a ‘character building’ task but in reality, the Warden has a secret that she wants to be uncovered for her own gain. Stanley makes friends with the quietest boy in camp, Zero, and I have to say that he is probably my favourite character in the book. He is intelligent and thoughtful but doesn’t wish to waste too many words with those at Camp Green Lake. However, Stanley is different and the two form a bond which becomes integral to their survival later in the book.

I can imagine this being a great book to read at 10-16, with fitting in whilst not losing your own personal identity being a theme which stood out to me, along with the more obvious ‘fight for what is right’ theme. The later seems very relevant in today’s society where in some instances breaking the law seems more humanitarian than following it, and hopefully, this book can continue to inspire younger people to stick with their morals and think for themselves rather than following authority for no reason other than they are in charge.

Magnus and the Book that has Potential


First things first, thank you to NetGalley for providing a free eARC of this book in return for an unbiased review.

I picked this book up as the concept sounded cute and interesting, and as a Geography student, the environmental viewpoint was really inviting. Sadly, I was disappointed by this book. Although I went into this book knowing that it was intended for children aged 7-9, I still felt that it was too childish for this audience. The writing was also sub-par in quality, and I hate when this happens in children’s literature as it feels like the author believed their full efforts weren’t needed for “just” a kids book.

There were sections of this book which should have been great emotional moments, with the characters feeling confused, shocked, worried, excited or more. However, this never seemed to happen and emotions were very muted. One such example of this: ‘”Oh.” Magnus was very excited.’ … was he? Was he really? With various sectors like this, I feel like this book could have really benefited from further input from editors and the writer having more experience with writing, both in general and for children.

I feel like this book is more aimed at 4-6 year-olds, as there is almost no emotional depth and the language used (with an exception being dinosaur species)  being very simple. There were plot setups for future books which older children would likely be able to spot with ease and the character of Em has what feels like no development.

Moving onto the good points of this short read. The concept of this book is actually really good! As mentioned above, I love the environmental aspect of the book which pushes the use of renewable energy and challenges the consumer-driven world we live in. The concept of the series is also really good, with multiple (seemingly parallel) universes and a well fleshed-out villain who is perfect for a kids book. There were a few really interesting scenes, one involving the Jewelled Book of the Universe and Em, and another involving a clever deception of the bad guys at the end!

I feel like this book could have been so much better and had so much potential. Possibly the book was rushed, or it was the authors first work and the editorial team didn’t analyse the writing as well as they could. The plot line is there, and with a little more development the characters are also. Fingers crossed that as this series continues on the author will develop and improve and make this an interesting kids series that I would happily recommend to my friends with children. I hope S. L. Browne manages to pull this off and end up with a really unique, fun and interesting children’s series with a brilliant environmental message behind it.

The Name of This Author is Pseudonymous


How can I not pick up a thrift shop find with the author’s name being Pseudonymous Bosch?! Can you blame me? (My bank account blames me)

This is such an interesting concept for a middle-grade read, a book where the drive to read it comes not from an intriguing plotline well explained in a synopsis, but instead, the drive stems from the lack of an explanation for the book’s existence in the first place! I can definitely imagine this blurb drawing in more reluctant readers as it seems mysterious and “cooler” than the average blurb.

The actual writing contained in this book is perfectly aimed at the target audience and is engaging. As an adult, reading this book was still engaging and interesting, although this book is definitely aimed at a younger audience. I don’t think I’ll be carrying on with the series, as I have so many other books to read that are higher in importance for me. However, I believe that if I had found this book when I was 8-11 I would have definitely wanted to continue on in the series.

A really good middle-grade novel which I’ll definitely be saving on my bookshelves for my own children (if I ever have any!).

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, breaking my heart one page at a time


I had been avoiding reading this book for the longest time. I was made to watch the film adaptation when I was in year 8 and despite being a self-professed lover of all literature WWII based and was too scared to bring myself to pick the book up because the movie scarred me too much. But finally, as a 21-year-old, I picked it up! Reading this as an “adult” definitely changed my perspective compared to how I would have reacted if I was younger. One part of this is due to me sadly having been exposed to more violent acts, both by the Nazis in WWII and in general fiction (both written and cinematic) and in real life, but it is also due to me being able to more fully understand what is going to happen and what Bruno is experiencing, even when he doesn’t know himself.

The most unique aspect of this book has to be that it is told through the eyes of a nine-year-old. This viewpoint means that, as an adult, I am very aware of what Bruno does not understand and of how those around him are reacting to the situation they have found themselves in. This really impacts how we experience his move from Berlin to “Out-With” (Auschwitz) and the people in pyjamas he can see from his bedroom window whom he desperately wants to meet. The innocence of the protagonist completely offsets the horrors which are being carried out in the background, which is a very odd position to be in as a reader as you know of the events which Bruno is blind to but are instead engrossed in the tale of Bruno’s life.

This is a book that I think everybody should read at some point in their life, it emphasises that everybody is essentially the same no matter what labels we assign to ourselves and others. The opposite of what the Nazis stood for and a very important message.

Time Train to Nowhere Ms McKenzie


I will read anything to do with WWII, even books aimed at very young children. But even for the target audience, this book was very disappointing. I went into this expecting a fun little kids book, and I did get that but there were a couple of hiccoughs. I managed to notice a… plot hole(?) for want of a better word where something should not have been able to happen based on a previous event. I can’t see any sequels to this book, despite it being around 8 years old and the concept of a train which transports its users to a different time (very similar to the Magic TreeHouse books I loved so much as a child) would lend itself to more books. I feel this would work much better with a series behind it to add more to the story, as it feels on the pointless side with nothing else surrounding it. I know my childhood self would be disappointed there weren’t any more books. A sadly disappointing read that could have been much better if a little more love was given.