Series Review - Ally's World - Karen McCombie + Mini Reviews of Angels, Arguments and a Furry Merry Christmas (Christmas Edition) + Sunshine, Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings (Summer Special) + A Guide to Ally's World

Series: Ally's World (#1-14)
Author: Karen McCombie
Genre: Young Adult, Middle-Grade, Contemporary
Publication: 2001, Scholastic
Pages: 200 Pages, Paperback
Meet the Love children: oh-so-perfect Linn, airy-fairy Rowan, animal-obsessed Tor - and Ally, trying to have a normal life somewhere in the middle of it all. Which isn't easy when you live in a house that's a cross between an animal hospital and something out of 'Changing Rooms'. And then there's school and the small matter of the forgotten history project and the obnoxious new girl that - oh joy! - Ally's been nominated to look after. It's going to be a fun couple of weeks...
This is the first in the wildly successful, utterly loveable "Ally's World" series.
I have finally finished the series. All fourteen books, in a space of ten days. I read the first four books in the series when I was ten or eleven, and I adored them. This January, I really felt like revisiting them, as well as continuing with the rest of the books in the series that were still in the garage. I was scared that I wouldn't like them anymore in case I felt that they were too young for me...but I think I loved them even more this time round. IT WAS JUST...SO... PERFECT! *sobs* And I am now officially emotionally attached to this series. 

The whole Ally's World series centers around thirteen year old Ally who lives in Crouch End in London, in her ramshackle house with her quirky family. Throughout the series we are introduced to her sweet, but dippy dad; her seventeen year old sister Linn, who is neat freak and is quite grouchy with the fact that she has to live in such a chaotic house; Rowan, who is fifteen years old and is away with the fairies, her room is completely overtaken by fairy-lights and her own misshapen art projects; last but not least is her seven year old brother Tor, who is an animal fanatic, with a bedroom that doubles as the equivalent of London zoo. The only person missing in this equation is there mom who left them four years ago, battling bad post-natal depression after having Tor, to go travel the world that she has always wanted to see. 

I absolutely ADORE Ally's family. They are all so loveable and quirky and I just adore them! Linn is the super-sensible, neat-freak and the oldest one out of the siblings. She also thinks that she has actually been adopted and belongs to a royal family somewhere out there. I felt sorry for Linn, at times I wished she wouldn't be so grouchy, but I could understand the frustration that she felt. I completely adored Rowan, she was utterly adorable and so sweet! I loved how she wasn't afraid to be different and dress quirkily, as it really just made her such a fantastic character that was strong in her own way. Tor was utterly adorable, he is such a cute character, and I loved reading about all his endless pets. I also loved Ivy, who was such a sweet little thing, she is only introduced way later in the series though, so I won't say much else!

I love that Karen McCombie has shown us all these little things that the characters do and how different their personality traits are. She wrote the family aspect amazingly - capturing the chaotic, yet wonderful, every day life of being in a big family. The characters had their ups and downs, where they lent on each other for support when there were times as trouble and I could clearly see the strong bond they all had with each other. It was truly wonderful the way Karen McCombie wrote the life of the Love family.

Throughout Ally's World, we also become acquainted with Sandie, Ally's best friend who can win the award for being The Shyest Person in the Universe; Kyra (my name!), who, at first sights, is seen as rude and obnoxious...but there is more than meets the eye; Billy, Ally's boy best mate and her four other friends who we also begin to know, but not quite as well as the others, who are made up of Chloe, Jen, Salma and Kellie.

The characters in this series are fantastic! 

Ally is such a phenomenal character! She is sarcastic, funny, kind and she tells her stories with such an authentic voice. Throughout the series it honestly feels like we have become best friends. I love the way she tells the stories of her everyday life and how she deals with certain situations. She is also a character that I can relate to, as we are both professional worriers.

Then there are Ally's three best friends: Sandie, who is such a sweet character that I immediately liked, although she did disappoint me later on in the story as she did something that she really shouldn't have done, but I suppose it did all workout in the end. Billy, I adored Billy! He is, as Ally calls him, such a berk. He's absolutely hilarious and I often found myself laughing at the ridiculous antics that he could get up to. Then there is first I was disappointed to share my name with her, as she was quite rude and obnoxious without a singular tactful bone in her body.

However, I soon learned about Kyra's troubled home life in book four and I felt sorry for her. Kyra, as a character, definitely improves throughout the series. She is still loud and obnoxious...but she is funny and sarcastic too, which is a good thing. I think. 

This is a truly phenomenal series. I would love to say more, especially about books 10 to 14 in the series. Some truly shocking things happened and there were times where I wanted to cry, scream, hug the books and fling them across the room.

My family's reaction to my fangirling state. Ahem.
Whenever I started reading the next book in the series, I felt like I was being welcomed into my second home. It felt like I was literally living in the story, and partaking in the hustle of the Love household's every day life. I  felt like part of the family. I know the characters' histories, I know their fears, their wants and I know each of them as they were my own sibling. 

I think that's the truly amazing thing that Karen McCombie accomplished when she wrote the stories, is how she makes you feel like you're living in their world. She makes the characters seem so unbelievably real. 

When you open another Ally's World book, you'll feel as if you are walking into your second home. 

These books are absolutely perfect. The characters are loveable, the dialogue is fantastic and Karen McCombie has a way with words that will have you devouring every word on the page and constantly in hunger for more. 

The last book was highly emotional, as I saw how far the characters had come, compared to where they were at in the first book. Laughs will be had, tears will be shed, hearts will broken, unexpected love lurks around the corner, families will fall and families will be completed. The last book was stunning and I was a highly emotional person after the final page had been read. A series that I will cherish. After reading this whole series, I can safely say Karen McCombie is now one of my favourite authors.

If you are to read these books, I'd recommend that you make sure you have all the books in the series at your fingertips, as you'll want to keep reading and drinking in the words and completely losing yourself in Ally's World.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!


Mini Review - Angels, Arguments and a Furry Merry Christmas (Christmas Edition) - Karen McCombie

Angels, Arguments, and a Furry Merry Christmas (Ally's World)
Series: Ally's World Christmas Special
Author: Ally's World
Genre: Young-Adult, Middle-Grade, Contemporary
Publication: Scholastic
Pages:173 Pages, Paperback
Source: My Own
Rating: 3/5 Cupcakes!
Well, 'tis the season to be jolly... er, actually, there's a dangerous shortage of jolly-ness this Crimbo - what with bickering sisters and Chloe nicking my Really Good Idea. Still, at least I might get a kiss under the mistletoe this year (yeah, right!).
*Blurb taken from author's website

As you may know, I am completely addicted to and obsessed with this hilarious, fantastic, loveable series. I marathoned the entire Ally's World series is in little over a week, as I was constantly just wanting to be lost in Ally's world. Karen McCombie is a fantastic author and she has created all the characters in such an honest, realistic manner.

Angels, Arguments and a Furry Merry Christmas, is almost like a prequel in the Ally's World series, as Ally recounts the previous Christmas and all the chaotic happenings that happened in the jolly season. It would help though if you've already read a lot of the series, as you'll be able to connect to it more!

This wasn't the most fantastic Ally's World book, but it teaches you how to be grateful, honest and appreciative whilst making the best of the situation. Ally is such a fantastic character and I really admire her! She never whines or moans, even if she doesn't have as much as her other friends...being with her family is enough, even though her mom still hasn't returned from travelling the world.

In Angels, Arguments and a Furry Merry Christmas, the Love household isn't feeling very festive. They have little money as it is, and when one of the dogs trip Rowan up whilst she's holding the Christmas box of decoration, the breakable items don't survive the trip. Then, Ally and all her friends have to think up a theme for the Christmas Fashion Show event being held at the school, as the winning theme gets to model some of the outfits that are being designed and entered into the fashion show. Yet when a blissful moment occurs for Ally & Co, one of her friends dishonestly takes the idea as her own. Then there is the disastrous dates with a boy who likes Ally and who Ally is trying to force herself to like. Ally just wants a peaceful Christmas spent with her family but with things going the way it is, it's not going to be a merry Christmas.

This was a really cute addition to the Ally's World series, emanating festive vibes, it's a perfect read for the Christmas season! I like how this book showed how you don't need the flashiest of decorations or the tallest, fullest of Christmas trees, but if you're just with the ones you love, you can have a fantastic time!

Angels, Arguments and a Furry Merry Christmas, was sweet and entertaining read that will make you feel warm inside, as if you have just had a frothy cup of hot chocolate. With Christmas festivity giving the book a warm, jolly atmosphere, Angels, Arguments and a Furry Merry Christmas displays themes of kindness, selflessness and gratitude. An adorable read!

I give it: 3/5 CUPCAKES!

*Review below contains spoilers for the whole Ally's World series so only read the review if you've read the series or if you want the series to be spoiled, which would be a very bizarre thing.*
Mini Review  - Sunshine, Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings (Summer Edition) - Karen McCombie

Summer Special Sunshine, Sunburn And Not So Sweet Nothings (Ally's World S.)
Title: Sunshine, Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings
Series: Ally's World Summer Edition
Author: Karen McCombie
Publication: Scholastic
Pages: 193 Pages, Paperback
Source: My Own
Review: 5/5 Cupcakes
We’re on holiday! Yay! It’s only camping in Cornwall, but me and my family are pretty excited – except there IS one thing bugging me: why isn’t Bily answering my texts? Where’s the big berk go to…?

*Spoilers for the Ally's World series*

I absolutely adored Sunshine,Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings! It's the fantastically fun summer edition in the Ally's World series.

In Sunshine,Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings, Ally and her siblings are being whisked away to Cornwall on a camping holiday. Ally is looking forward to it but she knows that Linn's grouchy attitude and lack of enthusiasm towards camping as well as Rowan's abnormal downcast mood, will most likely put a damper on the whole holiday. Despite her sisters' moods hanging over them like a black thunder-cloud, Ally is determined to have fun in the sun! However, Ally struggles to keep the mood light when her and her dad sees how happy Ally's mom is being with the people from her past and they think she might regret ever coming back to them, as well as when the farmer's son wrecks Ally and Billy's relationship. A wonderful holiday is swiftly turning into a disastrous one, but Ally is adamant to have a bright, positive viewpoint on the trip!

This book was so much fun to read! I absolutely love reading any books from Ally's point of view, and I look forward to reading any other books that Karen McCombie will ever write from any point of view from the family members in the Love household.

As you know, I love the Ally's World series and I feel extremely connected to the loveable characters and through reading this book, it was like I was finally able to go on holiday to St Ives with the Love family, and it was so much fun!

It was interesting seeing how they all acted when they were camping, and everyone's reactions to it. Linn freaking out about not having electricity, Ally worrying about Billy not answering his messages and Rowan seeing an opportunity to turn the tent into a dazzling display. They feel like my family, these characters d o and I loved getting to know even more about them and experiencing this with them. 

The farmer's children were so completely infuriating. Sol was a complete and utter idiot and I detested what he did to Ally to deepen the gap between her and Billy. I was happy when Lana and Linn bonded, and I started seeing things through Linn's eyes and how she felt about certain things.

Sunshine, Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings, also had me feeling a hint of nostalgia. A year has gone by since the final book in the Ally's World series. All the characters are a year older and have adjusted to the changes that happened in the last few books in the series. I miss Sandie not being around anymore, but I'm glad that it's deepened the bond between Ally and Kyra and Billy. It was lovely seeing Kyra in the book, as she's really matured a lot since the first book, yet she still can be quite obnoxious but I, like Ally, am used it now.

Sunshine, Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings, was a fantastic, fun addition to the marvelous Ally's World series! With lots of sunshine, ice cream and endless fun, Sunshine, Sunburn and Not-So-Sweet Nothings is a perfect holiday read!

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!