Welcome!

I love reading! Well, I suppose you worked that out from the title of this site, didn’t you?

I read flash fiction, short stories, novelettes, novels, full-length books, poetry books and am quite fond of book series too.

I also read most genres, though there are some I am more likely to read than others, but hey, I will give pretty much anything a go!  You never know when you are about to uncover a hidden gem.  Unless you read it, you don’t know if you will love it…and that is part of the magic of books.

I like to do what I can to support indie authors (I’m one myself), so if you would like me to review your book / story, just get in touch 🙂

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or review requests, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Have a great day!

To learn more about me, read my about page.  To see what I’ve already reviewed, visit the A-Z review index.

Book Review: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

The Horse and His Boy is the third book, chronologically, in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

A fairy tale-like story full of beautiful landscapes and adventure. 4 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Horse and his Boy is a stirring and dramatic fantasy story that finds a young boy named Shasta on the run from his homeland with the talking horse, Bree. When the pair discover a deadly plot by the Calormen people to conquer the land of Narnia, the race is on to warn the inhabitants of the impending danger and to rescue them all from certain death.

Favourite Quote

“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

(From The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, page 130)

Review

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. It had a fairy tale quality to it which I liked. I didn’t expect most of the tale to take place outside of Narnia, in the kingdom to south called Calormen, but I found the location fascinating.

One of my favourite parts was the description of the journey north, and the different landscapes they passed through as they try to reach Narnia. I liked the characters.  Bree and Shasta, and Hwin and Aravis were interesting and I liked how Shasta and Aravis interacted. Aravis’s shy, gentle talking horse was my favourite. And, although the main characters were different, we still got to meet the Pevensies, who were now all grown up.

What I really didn’t like about the book was that you can’t get away from the undertone of racism in some of descriptions of the people. This certainly dates the book back to a time when this was acceptable, and it did hamper my enjoyment of it, hence the loss of a star, though I wonder if it should have lost another…I did struggle to rate this book because of this.

I noted a couple of similarities between Lewis’s Narnia and Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The first was the use of the name “Bree”.  The second was a description of the city of Tashbaan, which reminded me a little of Minas Tirith.  I still prefer Middle Earth over Narnia, both in terms of location and stories, but I am really enjoying this series and am happy to be working my way through it, from beginning to end.

Chronologically-speaking, The Horse and His Boy, is the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia, but it was the fifth book to be published. The next book in the series is Prince Caspian, which I am really looking forward to reading. I hope I get around to doing so soon.

Rating

Bookish Reflections – September and October 2020

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

I’m super late in posting this, and did wonder if it might not just be better holding off for another couple of weeks and then include my November bookish content with it…The problem with that idea was that I’ve been neglecting the blog and so there isn’t any.  Sigh…

I was pretty good at reading and catching up with my reviews in September and early October, and the majority of books I worked my way through were ones that were heading for my “Read, Review, Rehome” pile, so I’ve made a small (read: barely perceptible 😉 ) dent in my To Read List.

November’s review list is slowly growing, thanks to the three spooky short stories by M.R. James which I read for this year’s Halloweens Read.  And next month, with the arrival of the festive season, we have Festive Reads Fortnight. If any there are any authors with Christmas-themes stories out there who would like to see their books reviewed as part of Festive Reads Fortnight, please do get in touch.  You can find all the information regarding Review Requests here. Ignore the “Currently Closed To Review Requests” status; I’m closed to general requests at this time but not Christmas-themed reads.

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

To keep up-to-date with what I’m reading and reviewing, find me on Facebook and Goodreads.

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

  • None

Favourite read(s) of the month

  • The Hound of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

Now here’s the thing…*cough*… a great big bag full of books found their way into my house in September, the result of a combination of going on holiday for a few days (and while I’m on holiday I have to buy books as I just can’t seem to resist them), and seeing family that we hadn’t seen since March.  I’ll not list them all here because I’d quickly run out of space, but here are a few highlights from the newly acquired volumes:

  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • The Man in the Green Coat by Carola Dunn

Books I’ve downloaded

  • None

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • My reading time has been limited to physical books recently rather than ebooks / digital books to help reduce my screen time…

August’s “Read and Review” Goals*

  • The Hound of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Forever by Maggie Stiefvatar

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in November

  • A handful of M.R. James short stories (Halloween Reads 2020)
  • The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  • The Shakespeare Secret by J.L Carrell

Basic Book Review Challenge 2020

To post (at least) one book review a week, to reach a target of 52 over the course of the year.

Month started at: 33 / 52

Month finished at: 39 / 52

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started last year, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • No new challenges have been completed since August 😦

Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20

Total challenges completed in 2020: 7 / 12

Total: 15 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • Complete! Woohoo! With a review posted of “Dunstan” by Conn Iggulden, I now have an author listed under each category of my A to Z Index! Yay!

Challenge status: 2 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 14 / 20

  • Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Lights, Camera by Carolyn Keene
  • Death at The Priory by James Ruddock
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Dunstan by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Dunstan by Conn Iggulden

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Very readable, this fictionalised account of Dunstan is interesting and entertaining.  A very good read! 5 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

In the year 937, King Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a great spear into the north. His dream of a kingdom of all England will stand or fall on one field and the passage of a single day.

At his side is Dunstan of Glastonbury, full of ambition and wit, perhaps enough to damn his soul. His talents will take him from the villages of Wessex to the royal court, to the hills of Rome – from exile to exaltation.

Through Dunstan’s vision, by his guiding hand, England may come together as one great country – or fall back into anarchy and misrule . . .

From one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and performer, a visionary, a traitor and confessor to kings – the man who changed the fate of England.

Favourite Quote

All the philosophers of Greece and Rome had long sunny days to stroll and think.  In England, we had to build roofs or freeze.

(From Dunstan by Conn Iggulden, page 276)

Review

It has been many years since I read Conn Iggulden’s Emperor series, charting the life of Julius Caesar.  Since then, I have acquired a number of his books, including those of The War of the Roses series and The Conqueror series.  Yet, with a very full and extensive “To Be Read” list, those books remain hidden on shelves, unread.  However, a chance find in a bookshop last month, saw me stumbling across Dunstan, and thus I returned to the stories of one of my favourite historical fiction authors.

Conn Iggulden writes believable, authentic historical fiction.  His prose, descriptions and character portrayals ensure the reader is fully immersed in the period the story is set.  The Anglo-Saxon world felt very real as I read Dunstan’s story.  I had heard of Dunstan prior to reading this, but this depiction brought him to life and made him relatable, even across the span of over a thousand years…

So, Dunstan…who was he?  A popular saint in England in the centuries after his death, he is mostly remembered for building Glastonbury Abbey and for monastic reform in England. He witnessed the fight for and the cementing of a nation, under seven different kings, with all the political intrigue and bloody fighting that went with it, as well as travelling to and from Rome, and at one time fleeing from the kingdom because he had insulted the king!

I enjoyed the descriptions of a number of the settings: Glastonbury Abbey and Tor, the main settlement of Anglo-Saxon territory, Winchester, and the bustling town of London, now growing in importance. I also liked reading about Dunstan’s ability as a master craftsman.  It is clear that he was a very talented man, and though he was made a saint, he arguably didn’t act very much like one. He could be bullying, manipulative, vengeful…how close this portrayal is to the truth, I cannot attest, but can people climb so high without getting their hands dirty, even a little? I would like to think so, but… Regardless, this made for a very good, very interesting, very believable story.

Highly recommended to those who enjoy historical fiction and / or tenth century history.

Rating

Book Review: Death at the Priory by James Ruddick

Death at The Priory: Love, Sex and Murder in Victorian England, by James Ruddick.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

A well-written true crime mystery and an in-depth look into the role of women in the Victorian period. Compelling reading! 4 / 5

Summary (from back of book)

In 1875, the beautiful and vivacious widow Florence Ricardo married Charles Bravo, a dashing barrister. The marriage seemed a happy one, but one night, four months after the wedding, Bravo collapsed. For the next fifty-five hours, with some of London’s most distinguished physicians in attendance, Charles suffered a slow and agonizing death.  All the doctors agreed: Charles Bravo had been poisoned.

The dramatic investigation that followed was covered in sensational detail by the press. So great was public interest in the case that coverage of it eclipsed the prime minister’s negotiations with Egypt, the Prince of Wales’ Indian tour and the conflict in the Balkans. The finger of suspicion pointed at various times at suicide, at Mrs Cox the housekeeper, at George Griffiths, a stableman with a grudge, and at the remarkable figure of Florence Bravo herself.

Death at the Priory is a gripping historical reconstruction and startling portrait of a woman, a marriage and a society. The brilliant conclusion uses new evidence discovered by the author to demonstrate conclusively who really murdered Charles Bravo.

Favourite Quote

“An unhappy woman with easy access to weedkiller had to be watched carefully.”

(From Death at The Prioy, by James Ruddick, page 172)

Review

It’s not often that I review non-fiction on Sammi Loves Books, because I tend to dip in and out of it, but I read “Death at The Priory” from cover to cover, and was completely gripped by the case.

I enjoy reading about true crime, especially if in an historical context, and especially if said crime remained unsolved, and if it could be classed as a type of “locked room” mystery.  I was surprised I hadn’t heard of the death of Charles Bravo before, given my interest in Victorian history and true crime.  By all accounts, it was covered with relish in the media of the day, eclipsing events on the world stage, even.

Death at the Priory is extremely well-written.  The evidence is presented clearly, in an easy to understand, easy to digest manner, without becoming heavy or requiring the author to dress it up with dramatic prose.  Although some passages are quite graphic – yes, there is a reference to sex in the book’s subtitle – it does help in providing a context in which Charles Bravo’s death occurred.

Florence Bravo, wife of the dead man, was certainly an interesting woman to read about, with a colourful life, and a tragic ending. She had been unfortunate in as much as she’d had to endure two unhappy marriages to husbands who were abusive towards her. The prevailing opinion of the day was that this was a woman’s lot, and she had to suffer it with grace and silence.  Florence, unconventionally for the time, did not believe she had to accept this.  She believed she had a right to be happy and if that meant away from her husband, she would not be forced to remain with him…

Charles Bravo is not painted as a sympathetic character at all, and I found myself having little concern for him in his plight.  I thought the author’s conclusions in his attempt to solve the case were definitely plausible, but of course, after the passage of so much time, and with all those being involved long dead, we will never know the truth for certain.

A fascinating read, one which I recommend to those interested in true crime, or who are interested in the role of women in Victorian society.

Rating

Book Review: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the second book in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Enchanting and unforgettable, a wonderful fantasy read for both children and adults alike. 5 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Narnia…the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

Favourite Quote

There were so many to choose from, but in the end I picked this one:

“…Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”

(From The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, page 17)

Review

It’s been many years since I read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and having read the first book (chronologically speaking, not in terms of publication order) in The Chronicles of Narnia earlier in the year, I thought it was time to read the most famous instalment in the series.  I must confess to feelings of slight trepidation as I opened the book.  I didn’t enjoy The Magician’s Nephew as much as I hoped I would, and so couldn’t help but wonder if I would find this book as enjoyable reading it as an adult as I did as a child…

My fears were completely unfounded.  I loved it.  The characters were engaging, the world-building enchanting and the story itself, certainly unforgettable.  I enjoyed reading it as much as I did when I was younger.  It’s nice to know that the story has stood the test of time (at least for myself).  There’s a comfort aspect to reading something you enjoyed as a child.

The characters, of course, are memorable: Aslan’s personification of “good” versus the White Witch’s “evil”, Mr Tumnus the Faun and the four children.  Lucy was always my favourite of the latter, but this time round, I did feel a lot more sympathy towards Edmund.  There were a few I had forgotten until I started reading: Mr and Mrs Beaver, but perhaps more importantly, a rather well-known seasonal figure…

The Christian themes that are woven through the tale / inspired the tale, are clearly visible to me now, though at a younger age they probably didn’t even register with me.  I have always been one to get swept up in a story without necessarily paying attention to hidden themes and subtext.  However, this time I did notice but I didn’t find them overbearing.  I just noted it and moved on as the story carried me away.

I liked how the narrator was separate from the story and spoke directly to the reader. It meant that the tale was peppered with little snippets, such as hoping the reader never felt as sad as…, which really added something to the storytelling.

One of my favourite lines comes from the dedication at the start of the book, and I just think it is so magical:

“…But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

Over all, I still prefer Tolkien’s writing, and Middle Earth to Narnia, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed this book any less because of it, and I have no doubt, I will return to re-read it, again, and again, and again…

The next book in The Chronicles of Narnia is The Horse and His Boy, which I don’t think I read as a child…

Rating

Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third novel by Arthur Conan Doyle to feature Sherlock Holmes.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Dramatic and atmospheric, The Hound of the Baskervilles has everything an entertaining and captivating story needs: a legend, a mysterious death and a very eerie setting. Fantastic reading! 5 / 5

Summary (from back of book)

It was a brave man who would cross the wild Devon moorlands in darkness.

For the ancient legend of the hound of the Baskervilles had persisted in family history for generations.  Indeed it was Sir Charles’s mysterious death in the grounds of Baskerville Hall that brought Sherlock Holmes to the scene of one of his most famous and intriguing cases.

‘He was running, Watson – running desperately, running for his life, running until he burst his heart and fell dead upon his face…’ What had it been, looming through the darkness, that could have inspired such terror? A spectral hound loosed from hell; or a creature of infinite patience and cunning, with a smiling face and a murderous heart…

Favourite Quote

‘It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.’

(From The Hound of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, page 12)

Review

I really enjoyed The Hound of The Baskervilles, much more so than the previous one, even though I did like The Sign of Four too.  Whereas The Sign of Four was melodramatic and came across as a little outlandish in places, The Hound of The Baskervilles was dramatic and atmospheric, and completely captivating.

Our first meeting with Dr James Mortimer is strange to say the least, as during that initial conversation he tells Holmes, “I confess that I covet your skull.”. With that revelation out of the way, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson learn what has brought their guest to them that morning…a tale of a curse that has already claimed a victim.

The legend of the hound of the Baskervilles sets up this mystery very nicely. And, as much as I enjoy superstitions and the paranormal, the ending was very good, very sound, and very clever.

The descriptions of the moor and tor are certainly evocative and help create the eeriness required to make the legend ring with the sound of authenticity, and even possibility.  Will you guess the culprit before it is revealed?  Probably.  I did.  However, this is a classic, and is perhaps the most famous and well-known of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and as such, should not be missed.

Rating

Book Review: Lights, Camera…by Carolyn Keene

Lights, Camera…is the fifth book in the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective series, by Carolyn Keene.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Not as good as I remember, unfortunately, but worth a read just to see how the character and style has changed for a modern audience. 2.5 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

I’m a detective, not an actor, so who would think I’d be involved in a crime both offscreen and on? A producer has come to River Heights to film a re-enactment of the heist that gave our town it’s name, and he thinks I’m perfect for the part of Esther, the sister of the thieving Rackham boys. So I figure, why not give it a try?

But once the cameras start rolling, the trouble begins. Food poisoning. Broken generators. And worse! If I don’t sniff out some suspects soon, this might be my final act.

Favourite Quote

I was really fired up, because hanging out on a movie set was a far better escape from shoe shopping than I could have thought up.

(From Lights, Camera…by Carolyn Keene, page 5)

Review

I used to read the Nancy Drew books when I was younger, and when I found a copy of Lights, Camera… in a bag of books given to me by a family member, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to a childhood favourite.

However, my fond memories of the books I grew up reading were not to be reinforced by my reading of this newer take on the series.  In fact, they ensured I saw what was lacking in this more modern story.  First, let me explain what I remember of the Nancy Drew books: there was a depth to the storytelling that drew a young reader in, you wanted to know about the characters as well as the plots. And the story felt believable.

This modern Nancy Drew felt very light; there was little depth to the characters and the story moved too quickly and without the necessary fluidity to pull the pace off, making it clunky.  There was plenty of action though, and I did read it to the end.  What I did find quite annoying was that almost every time an adult said to Nancy the filming has to stop because of (fill in the blank), Nancy would respond with, “but I have a friend who can do that” and save the day.  I couldn’t help but wonder if this is one of those books that works better if you’re part of the audience it is intended for…

So ultimately, I didn’t think this was as a good as I remembered, unfortunately, but it was worth a read just to see how the character and style has changed for a modern audience.  I don’t think I would be interested in reading any more, only revisiting the earlier series of the books.

Rating

2.5 / 5

Book Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever is the third book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

An enjoyable and fitting third book in the trilogy.  I love Maggie’s Stiefvater’s style of writing. 4 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment–a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

Favourite Quote

Overhead, the stars were wheeling and infinite, a complicated mobile made by giants. They pulled me amongst them, into space and memories.

(From Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, page 85)

Review

It had been a few years since I read and reviewed the first two books in The Wolves of Mercy Fall trilogy (you can read those reviews here: Shiver, and Linger), back in 2017.  So I thought it was about time I got around to complete reading the trilogy.

I like the way Maggie Stiefvater writes.  There is fluidity to passages and the imagery she paints with words is amazing (see Favourite Quote above).  There is just something very simple but full of impact in descriptions like that.

The setting for the story, by which I mean the natural spaces, is stunning.  I loved the descriptions of the woods, and as the story moved towards the final third / quarter, the pacing really picked up.

Grace and Sam were (of course) the stars of story.  Their romance and what it must survive and overcome is quite unlike anything else I’ve read, probably because the forces at work are so beyond either of their control.  Out of the two, Sam was my favourite: he’s got a lot going on but handles the pressure fantastically.  Grace, for all her intelligence, was more self-involved and seemed occupied with a fair few “I want to do / see…” thoughts, some of which didn’t really make sense to me, given the danger that was all around them.

Although it was interesting to see what was going on from Cole and Isabel’s perspective, and they do have their own storylines and parts to play in the overall story, which I appreciated, I sometimes felt they were a little too distracting.  However, that wasn’t the case each and every time the POV switched to them, but on occasion it felt like the story was moving further away from Grace and Sam.  What I learned as I was writing this review, and thinking that their story would have made a great spin-off, is that there is another book in this series, Sinner, that focuses on Cole and Isabel! Woohoo!  Another book added to the ever-growing TBR list…

One of the highlights of the series is how being part-human part-wolf is portrayed.  There are no “werewolves”.  There is no magic.  It’s not even paranormal, at least not in the way we often expect the paranormal to be.  It just is.  It’s more science and biology than anything else, and I think that really sets this story apart from other YA paranormal books that I’ve read.

One thing I didn’t really like about Forever was the ending, by which I mean the final chapter.  Although it completed the narrative of the trilogy, I felt it was left a little too open for it to feel satisfying.  It left me with more questions that I wanted answers to, but, overall, I enjoyed the story and was glad I finished the trilogy. Now I’m looking forward to reading Sinner

Rating

Bookish Reflections – August 2020

A monthly round up of all things bookish at Sammi Loves Books…It’s my attempt at becoming more accountable in my reading and reviewing habits…


In a nutshell

August was Historical Fiction Month at Sammi Loves Books, one of my most favourite times of the year.  I read and reviewed five books and all bar one I really enjoyed.  I’m pleased with what I did read, as part way through the month I hit a bit of reading slump, but that was quickly overcome when I picked up the Phryne Fisher Mystery – I do love Phryne. 🙂

September will be a little quiet round here as I have planned a bit of a blogging break, just so I can rest the brain for a bit and blow out the cobwebs.  This will be the only post for (at least) the first two weeks in September…or that is what I am hoping.  I have a terrible habit of making claims like these and then completely ignoring them, so we will have to see what happens…

If any writers / poets / authors / etc, would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books check out this page for more information, FAQs and an index of all the previous interviews.  If you’ve any questions, please do get in touch at: sammicoxbooks@gmail.com

To keep up-to-date with what I’m reading and reviewing, find me on Facebook and Goodreads.

Books I’ve reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

  • None

Favourite read(s) of the month

  • Tough question this month…four out of the five got five stars from me, so it could be any or all of the following: Speaking Among The Bones and The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches, both by Alan Bradley, Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood and Death at Daisy’s Folly by Robin Paige.

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

  • Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood…I could not resist!

Books I’ve downloaded

  • None

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • Not been on Wattpad for a while now… 😦

August’s “Read and Review” Goals*

  • Speaking From Among The Bones by Alan Bradley
  • The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley (read, review awaiting posting)
  • The Railway Detective by Edward Marston

* Light blue = review posted | Blue = review not posted | Black = did not read / review

What I’m reading and reviewing in September

  • The Hound of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Forever by Maggie Stiefvatar

Basic Book Review Challenge 2020

To post (at least) one book review a week, to reach a target of 52 over the course of the year.

Month started at: 28 / 52

Month finished at: 33 / 52

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started last year, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • #6: a book with a girl’s name in the title

Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20

Total challenges completed in 2020: 7 / 12

Total: 15 / 20

You can find the complete list of challenges here.

A to Z Review Index Challenge

  • No change here – Still the letter “I” to go.

Challenge status: 1 / 2

Read, Review, Rehome

Goal: 20 | Total so far: 14 / 20

  • The Railway Detective by Edward Marston
  • The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
  • Speaking From Amongst The Bones by Alan Bradley

Book Review: Death at Daisy’s Folly by Robin Paige

Death at Daisy’s Folly is the third book in The Victorian Mystery Series by Robin Paige.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

This series can always be relied upon for an entertaining and engaging read.  I like Kate and Charles, enjoyed the setting and was intrigued to see how the mystery unravelled.  5 / 5

Summary (from back of book)

Kate and Sir Charles gather with a host of memorable guests at the Warwicks’ Eaton Lodge for an English country-house weekend.  Meet Albert Edward, Prince of Wales; his ‘darling Daisy’, the countess of Warwick; their friends – and their enemies.

Someone has murdered a stableboy and the Prince, smarting over a recent gambling expose and seeking to avoid scandal, directs Sir Charles to find the killer. But the stakes go up when a guest is shot with the Countess’ gun.

Favourite Quote

They had made the ten-mile run from Braintree to the Lodge in one hour and fifteen minutes, at almost twice the legal maximum speed of four miles an hour and sans the obligatory man with a red flag that – ridiculously – was still supposed to precede them by twenty yards.

(From Death at Daisy’s Folly by Robin Paige, page 34)

Review

This series can always be relied upon for an entertaining and engaging read.  Quick and easy to get in to, this is a cosy mystery series at its most comfy, by which I mean, it is enjoyable, immersive but doesn’t require much effort to follow along.  I can get lost in the storytelling, which for me, is what I want when I’m reading.  I don’t need a mental workout.

Although I’m only on to the third book in the series, I feel like I’ve been reading about these characters for a lot longer. I like that level of familiarity, and feel invested in what happens to them.  I love both main characters: the fiery, flame-haired, Irish-American Kate Ardleigh, and the not-your-usual-kind of posh English gentleman, Sir Charles Sheridan.  Kate’s background ensures that the rules of the British aristocracy only apply to her sometimes, whilst Charles’ penchant for science and deduction ensure that it is to him, and thus her, that those in a pickle turn to.  The romance subplot works well between the characters, and comes across as authentic.

As for the other characters…Most of the characters in this book are not likeable.  For the most part, it’s rich people doing all they can to stay rich, even when confronted with the abject poverty of the workhouse poor.  Daisy Warwick is the one exception here; she does her best to bring about change, and from reading about her in this work of fiction, I’ve been inspired to learn more about the real person.

One of the highlights of this tale is being able to see the early years of the motor car on the British roads.  Cars today are symbols of freedom and the ability to get to far away places in a fairly short amount of time.  Back when this book was set, cars were forbidden, by law, to go faster than work horses, for fear of startling the animals and causing accidents.  To think a man with a red flag had to walk in front of the car as it “motored” along, seems ridiculous to the point of redundancy. For if you could walk at the same speed as the car was allowed to go, why bother with the car?  It’s quite remarkable to think how easy it might have been for the car to have fallen by the wayside, like other inventions…How different would our world look today if it had?

The next book in the series is, Death at Devil’s Bridge, and my copy is sitting happily in my TBR pile.  Hopefully it won’t take me too long to get to it…

Rating


Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019 – I’ve chosen this book for challenge #6 in the list: a book with a girl’s name in the title.