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 Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis

The Silver Chair is the sixth book in The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Quite possibly my favourite book in The Chronicles of Narnia. Full of action and adventure, with entertaining characters and an interesting setting, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you only read one of the Narnia stories, I would certainly recommend it be this one. 5 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Jill and Eustace must rescue the Prince from the evil Witch.

NARNIA… where owls are wise, where some of the giants like to snack on humans (and, if carefully cooked, on Marsh-wiggles, too), where a prince is put under an evil spell… and where the adventure begins.

Eustace and Jill escape from the bullies at school through a strange door in the wall, which, for once, is unlocked. It leads to the open moor… or does it? Once again Aslan has a task for the children, and Narnia needs them. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, they pursue the quest that brings them face to face with the evil Witch. She must be defeated if Prince Rilian is to be saved.

Favourite Quote

“Very likely, what with enemies, and mountains, and rivers to cross, and losing our way, and next to nothing to eat, and sore feet, we’ll hardly notice the weather.”

(from The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis, page 60)

Review

Quite possibly my favourite instalment in the series. I loved the setting and the characters, and the story itself was good. Fast-paced and full of action and adventure, the quest felt focused and fulfilling, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I loved Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle. His pessimistic nature ensured he was always surprised when things turned out better than expected, and he is never dull, but rather interesting, engaging and quirky, not to mention brave. Without a doubt, he is my favourite character from the whole series.

I missed the Pevensie children in this one, but I think Eustace and Jill were good main characters. Neither are perfect, but they do well in the face of adversity and are relatable (the Pevensies, even Edmund, do tend to come across as a little too perfect, I think). Jill in particular is strong and likeable, determined and courageous.

Again, we are shown parts of Narnia we have not been to before, and as always, the geography of this world is one of my favourite parts of the books. What was interesting in The Silver Chair is that a large chunk of the story takes place below ground which made for fascinating reading.

One thing I did find strange, and this links back with my reading of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is that the woman Prince Caspian marries, and who is the mother of Rilian, is never named. She is called Queen, and is referred to as the wife of a king, the mother of a prince, and the daughter of Ramandu, but she doesn’t seem to possess a name of her own.

If you only read one of the Narnia books, I would certainly recommend you read this one. Although not as well known nor as iconic as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Silver Chair is by far the most well-written and most engaging of the stories, at least in my opinion.

The final book in The Chronicles of Narnia is The Last Battle, which I read straight after this one, so expect the review soon.

Rating

Bookish Reflections – February, March & April 2021

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

Welcome to this bumper Bookish Reflections.  I’ve spent a little over a month away from blogging.  This unexpected hiatus was needed as I tried to find the balance between everything I have to do and everything I want to do.  And, sometimes, the best way to do this is to simply stop, step back and look objectively at everything. Is this break over? Probably, though it might take a little while for me to work out a regular schedule again.  But that is fine.

My plan to post a “Read, Reading Now, Reading Next” update every couple of weeks did not work out so well in practice. I think there was just too much going on in those posts, so the updated plan is post shorter reviews alongside my longer posts.  Over the next few weeks, I will go back over the books that were reviewed as part of these bigger round-ups and post the reviews singularly…

Thanks to my taking a break from blogging, I’m a little bit behind with my classic reads challenge but hopefully it won’t take me too long to get caught up with it.  I have, however, still been reading a fair bit, so have a number of reviews to share here over the coming weeks.

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. And, if you have previously been interviewed as part of this series, there is now a second set of questions, if you fancy being interviewed again! 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 Read and Reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

Favourite Read(s) of The Month

  • Learning to Fly by Crispina Kemp

Books I’ve Bought or Been Given

  • The Hog’s Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Croft

Books I’ve Downloaded

  • None this month

What I’ve Been Reading on Wattpad

  • Not much as I’ve not spent much time on the site these past weeks…sigh

February’s “Read and Review” Goals

  • Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • The Good Knight by Sarah Woodbury
  • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

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

What I’m reading and reviewing in May

  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (read, awaiting review)
  • Death in Captivity by Michael Gilbert
  • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (read, review awaiting posting)
  • The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (read, review awaiting posting)
  • Sign of The Cross by Chris Kuzneski (currently reading)

The Very Informal Classic Reads Book Club Challenge 2021

  • January’s Book – The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells – Read and reviewed!
  • February’s Book – Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon – Read and reviewed!
  • March’s Book – Last of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper – Almost finished reading
  • April’s Book – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – Not started yet
  • Next month’s book – David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Basic Book Review Challenge 2021

To read (at least) one book a week, to reach a target of 60 over the course of the year, with the aim of posting a review for some of them.

  • Month started at: 4 / 60
  • Month finished at: 8 / 60

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started in 2019, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • none
  • Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20
  • Total challenges completed in 2020: 8 / 12
  • Total challenges completed in 2021: 0 / 4
  • Total: 16 / 20
  • You can find the complete list of challenges here.

Read, Rate, Review, Rehome

Goal: 35 | Total so far: 4 / 35

  • The Good Knight by Sarah Woodbury

Note: I’ve actually far-exceeded my goal as I’ve been having a sort out of my books, with two big bags set aside for donating to charity. So this tally will focus on books I’ve Read, Rated, and Reviewed in 2021, with an aim to also being Rehomed in 2021 😉

Afternoon Tea (II) with Crispina Kemp

Crispina Kemp, author of the five-book epic fantasy series, The Spinner’s Game, and the newly-released Learning to Fly (available 1st April 2021) is visiting Sammi Loves Books to answer a second set of Afternoon Tea Interview questions.

You can read the first Afternoon Tea interview here, my review of Learning to Fly here, and an interview whose questions are focused on Learning to Fly here.

So grab a cup of tea and maybe a biscuit or slice of cake, then sit back and relax and read the interview…

* * * * *

So what have you been up to writing-wise since we last spoke? What projects have you been working on recently? What plans do you have for the future?

Since last we spoke, I’ve been busy with Learning to Fly – no, I don’t mean I’ve earned a pilot’s licence. Learning to Fly is the title of my new book. My critique partner is hard to please; she’ll find every little plot hole and complain at me if I have “soft” chapter endings. All of which has involved loads more work when I thought it was done. And then the “polish edit” which is my prime delight, to make the manuscript sparkle.

Do you listen to music when you write or do you prefer to write in silence? Do you create playlists for the stories you are working on?

I always have music playing; I can’t imagine writing in silence. And yes, I do create playlists according to the story I’m writing. With The Spinner’s Game I listened to Pagan Rock and Mongolian Metal which seemed to fit the setting. With Learning to Fly I played Hard Rock (what the MC Neve calls Music with Muscle). For my work-in-progress (Roots of Rookeri) I’ve lightened up with what might be called Sing-along Rock.

Do you have any writing rituals? For example, writing first drafts with a special pen, or writing with a special candle lit? 

My only writing ritual is to make sure I have a fresh cup of coffee to start me off. After that first one I tend to forget the coffee until it’s cold! Also, I check emails and Twitter before starting each day… and the weather forecast. I prefer to write in the mornings and will get up at 4:00 am to do so. But even if I sleep in, I like to be writing by 8:00 am. I’m a morning person, that’s when my brain is most creative.

Do you set yourself writing goals and targets? Do you find it easy to stick to them?

I don’t set myself targets, except to say, “Today I am writing from 8:00 am until noon,” or such. However, I do have “To Do” lists. Top of today’s list is to answer these questions for Sammi. Top of tomorrow’s list is to revise/rewrite the supplementary material for Roots of Rookeri to send to beta readers for their opinion of whether to include in the book or not.

Have you read any writing craft books / articles / blog posts etc to help improve your craft? Which ones have you found the most helpful?

I have read loads of craft books. After a virus wrecked my brain (way back in 2005) I was left unable to write above a few words. Since I had to learn that basic skill again, I decided now was a good time to delve into craft books too. In the years leading up to 2005, structure had been my downfall. Also, back then, I was a panzer – or rather a knitter. I’d start with a thread and follow it to where it led; mostly to dead-ends or chaos.

The craft books I’ve found most helpful – and these I recommend because I believe as writers it’s not enough to know how to do something but also to understand why we do it:
Save the Cat! Write a Novel, Jessica Brody
Between the Lines, Jessica Page Morrell (having worked out the structure, here’s how to finesse it)
– Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them, John Yorke
– The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, Jonathan Gottschall, not a craft book but highly recommend.

About Learning to Fly: Medievalist Neve is delighted to find herself surrounded by swirling colours and foot-stomping music in Regin-jarl’s mead hall… even if her presence is dependent on the memories of a banished angel. Prompted by the angel to find the truth of her grandfather, locked in a cage to be food for vampiric grimmen, trapped beneath a dragon… life isn’t fun for Neve… though she does like the music!

What was the last book you read and what were your thoughts on it? Would you recommend it?

The last book I read was The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker. A murder/mystery which centres on what we would recognise as a paedophiliac affair and yet is the most beautiful love story I have ever read. This was well beyond my comfort zone; I was led there by a fellow author whose comedic spoof-books use a spoofed version of the MC of Dicker’s book. And yes, I do recommend it.

Do you prefer reading e-books or physical copies of books?

E-books or physical? Difficult to answer. I have a problem with my eyes (waiting for an op) so the ability to adjust font size and boldness is important to me, especially since I most read at night when my eyes are already tired. However, I find the physical book so much easier to navigate, eg: to check back on a passage that you suddenly realise was important.

Do you organise your bookshelves? If so, by what criteria?

Do I organise my bookshelves? Yes. First, fiction resides in the bedroom, which keeps the main shelves free for everything else. Everything else falls under the headings of Literature, Folklore & Mythology, Psychology, History, and Reference books. Within the Reference section are books and books and books on symbols. The History section is divided into archaeology, prehistory, Middle East/Egypt, Europe general, then Britain by dates covered. Homer sits in the Literature section with Beowulf and Roland, Chaucer and Mallory.

In the first interview we closed by discussing a fantasy afternoon tea, with you choosing who would attend, where it would be and what would be served.  This time round, we are talking about a fantasy book club.  If you could host a fantasy book club where would you hold it? What beverages and snacks, if any, would be on offer?  And, most importantly, what would your chosen book club read be and why?

Where would I hold a fantasy book club? There can be but one answer: In Middle Earth, in the Shires.
What beverages and snacks? I know from when I hosted a Community Workers Lunch there must be snacks. Being gluten-free my first thought is to offer a range of nuts, but I wouldn’t like to be responsible for someone having an anaphylactic shock. Therefore, I’ll have to settle on potato crisps. And fruit: cherries, strawberries, pineapple. As to beverages, water. Ok, I’m a health freak, I admit it.

My chosen book for the club to read is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V E Schwab. “France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets” (taken from the book’s blurb).

Why this book? Apart from Schwab is a genius of a writer, it has an interesting structure, weaving back and forth in time until the unexpected ending. The imagery sets the imagination on fire. The MC Adaline (Addie) captures the heart and draws the reader into her strange world to share her entrapment. A quick look at the reviews on Goodreads shows how many readers got lost in the book as well as in Addie’s world. It’s a delightful challenge, well worth the read. It would be a great book to discuss.

* * * * *

About Crispina Kemp

Failing to find a place on the space programme – to boldly go – I turned my vision inwards to a study of psychology and exploration of spirituality. This encouraged an outward journey to explore this wonderful world, its peoples, its beliefs, but mostly its pasts. From the exploration I returned with the core of my writing.

But, for the more mundane-minded: For a shy child with a speech problem, the written word came as a release, enabling me to express myself without being asked, ‘Eh? What did you say? Say again?’ I wrote my first ‘proper’ story when I was nine. A gothic offering to scare my friends. Since then, there’s been scarcely a day when I haven’t been busy writing. Novels. The short story form doesn’t appeal to me, although over recent months I have posted micro-fiction on my blog.

In my early teens, I visited Grimes Graves, the Neolithic flint mines in Norfolk. The following summer, I visited Stonehenge in Wiltshire. Thence began a lifelong interest in the archaeology of prehistory. The study of myths and legends seemed a natural progression, and from there to linguistics (despite my inability to pronounce the words).

Resident in Norfolk (UK) where my roots dig deep, my regular rambles into the surrounding countryside provide balance to the cerebral… and ample subjects for my camera.

https://www.amazon.com/author/crispinakemponamazon

https://crispinakemp.com

On Twitter: @crispinakemp1 and @ineebrown51


If you would like to be interviewed as part of Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books, check out this post.

Book Review: Learning to Fly by Crispina Kemp

Thank you to Crispina Kemp for sending me an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Learning to Fly is a captivating read. Entertaining and engaging, this perfectly-paced tale is historical fantasy on an epic scale. Well-written, and filled with colourful characters and rich, vivid descriptions, it’s impossible not to get pulled into the gripping story-telling.  Highly recommended! 5 / 5

Summary (from Amazon)

Medievalist Neve is delighted to find herself surrounded by swirling colours and foot-stomping music in Regin-jarl’s mead hall… even if her presence is dependent on the memories of a banished angel.

Her vicarious entry to the past begins when, curious about the local offshore windfarm, she ventures down to Yalesham seafront.

“We buried Skimaskall there,” an unlikely-looking youth says.
“And Skimaskall is?”
“A dragon.”
“And you are…?”
“I’m Raesan, an angel… an elf… an Asar. And you are illegal, Lady Nineve, child of Constance Oath-breaker.”

Raesan offers to take her back to 1086 to identify her grandpa before he can spawn more illegal semi-divines… and there she is, hooked on the quest.

Favourite Quote

“Toli fitzMa, clearly you’re unacquainted with the role of squire. Humbly to serve his knight.”

“Oh, I know that, Sir Guy. But what’s to humble me? Those four years between us? Na, let’s make a deal. Say, the higher you rise, the lower I’ll bow. Does that satisfy, Sir Guy?”

(from Learning to Fly by Crispina Kemp, page 49)

Review

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to beta read this story, and I must say that I loved it from the very beginning.  So, as you can imagine, I was very keen to write a review of it in the run-up to its release day.

Learning to Fly is a story set in the same world as the epic fantasy series The Spinner’s Game, by the same author. And, without a doubt, I loved this story as much as those. We have a quest, a journey of discovery, angels, dragons, mystery and suspense, action, romance, magic, monsters, knights, and plenty more besides…what else could you ask for?

Like The Spinner’s Game, Learning to Fly is full of things that I love, in general, but also things I enjoy reading about. So for me, this book is a perfect read.

The story is well-written, and the many threads, characters and locations are marvellously handled by the author. Like the stories that make up The Spinner’s Game, Learning to Fly is historical fantasy on an epic scale.  It is complex without being complicated, and full of rich world-building. We have, in effect, a story within a story in Learning to Fly, where Anglo-Saxon and Norman history of the eleventh century is brought into sharp focus in one timeline and we have a modern tale of personal discovery and empowerment in the other. 

I really liked Neve. She’s intelligent and sensible, and her story and journey is an interesting and engaging one. Neve’s a main character I can really get behind and root for.  She won’t believe the things she’s told unless she can verify them from a reputable source, yet she can’t help but feel the pull of magic and possibility in the tales she hears, which is perfectly understandable and makes her relatable.

Apart from Neve, my favourite character was Rat, but I also liked the interplay between Guy and Toli – just who is the master and who is the squire? See my Favourite Quote above for a glimpse at the humour also to be found in the story. I liked that we got the opportunity to be briefly reacquainted with some old friends from The Spinner’s Game as well as get to better understand the person Raesen has become.

I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story.  The descriptions of people and places really brought the story to life and I could imagine each location with ease. And, the fantastical elements of the story blended in very well with the rest of the story to create a seamless narrative that kept me hooked until the very end.

If you like your historical fantasy on an epic scale, I can’t recommend this (as well as the five books of The Spinner’s Game) highly enough.

Find it on Amazon, where it will be released 1st April 2021.

Rating

Book Review: Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

February’s Book for The Very Informal Classic Reads Book Club Challenge 2021…


Quick Review (read on for full review)

An enjoyable, entertaining tale full of twists and turns. Gothic, atmospheric and melodramatic, it kept my attention from beginning to end.  4 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Bigamy, child abandonment, deception, theft, murder, and insanity all take part of Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s novel. Her over-the-top drama was one of the most popular novels of the mid-1800s and provides an interesting portrayal of both class- and gender issues as they intersect within the domestic sphere.

Favourite Quote

I always find it harder to pick favourite quotes from ebooks and audiobooks than I do from physical books, and so I sought out the list of quotes from Lady Audley’s Secret on Goodreads and picked my favourite, and I think it’s a smashing one…

“Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea.”

(From Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon)

Review

This was a very enjoyable read, and, given its age, not at all dry.  In fact, it was very readable.

Although the story was very much over-the-top in pretty much every aspect of the story, it made for an unpredictable tale. With so many twists and turns I had no idea what was going to happen next, and that ensured the story remained engaging from beginning to end. The gothic atmosphere of the setting really came through, and the detailed descriptions helped to create a clear image of where the story was taking place and what time of year it was. 

Robert was an interesting main character. Depicted as laidback and often idle, with a love of books and pipe-smoking, it’s not until he is faced with a personal loss that we the reader and the other characters that surround him, get see just how clever and determined he can be. Naturally, for heightened dramatic effect, there were a few times I found myself thinking a few of his choices were unwise but that is par for the course for a sensation novel. My favourite character was probably the astute Alicia Audley, stepdaughter of Lady Audley.

Is Lady Audley a sympathetic character? Can her motivations be justified? The character is constructed in such a way as the reader can have very little sympathy with her, even if at one brief point in her story it is possible to feel sorry for her, but I’ll not go into further detail for fear of spoilers. She is in effect the Victorian arch-villainess as whatever a bad woman in Victorian society could be accused of being, she was.

The ending was a little soppy and too perfect my liking, but there is an element of poking fun at itself there too, which helped make it more palatable. The only other downside to the book was its length, and that’s where it a lost a star in my rating of it. In my personal opinion, it felt overly long for the story, yet at the same time I can’t really point to any part of it and say it was unnecessary to move the story forward.

If you don’t like melodrama in your fiction, you may not like this, but if you can see pass it for the fun it is, I think you will enjoy it.

Rating


March’s Book for The Very Informal Classic Reads Book Club Challenge 2021 – The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Read, Reading Now, Reading Next (12 Feb 2021)

Want to know what I’ve been reading, what I am reading and what I plan to read next? Read on…


What I’ve Just Read

Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Summary from Goodreads: In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful WWI memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot’s death.

A deathbed plea from his wife leads Sir Cecil Lawton to seek the aid of Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. As Maisie soon learns, Agnes Lawton never accepted that her aviator son was killed in the Great War, a torment that led her not only to the edge of madness but to the doors of those who practice the dark arts and commune with the spirit world.

In accepting the assignment, Maisie finds her spiritual strength tested, as well as her regard for her mentor, Maurice Blanche. The mission also brings her together once again with her college friend Priscilla Evernden, who served in France and who lost three brothers to the war — one of whom, it turns out, had an intriguing connection to the missing Ralph Lawton.

My Thoughts: This is the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series, and I am slowly beginning to warm to the main character.  As I have found with the previous two books, I really enjoy the storylines and the cases Maisie works on.  The setting and period are brought to life with ease, and I’m looking forward to reading book four, in the hope that Maisie herself starts to grow on me.

Rating:

The Good Knight by Sarah Woodbury

Summary from Goodreads: Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among the royal princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales… The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king. But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride’s brother tasks his two best detectives—Gareth, a knight, and Gwen, the daughter of the court bard—with bringing the killer to justice. And once blame for the murder falls on Gareth himself, Gwen must continue her search for the truth alone, finding unlikely allies in foreign lands, and ultimately uncovering a conspiracy that will shake the political foundations of Wales.

My Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Both Gareth and Gwen were fantastic characters, and authentic to the time period.  Gwen especially was well-written.  It’s not easy creating a female character that is vulnerable without her coming across as weak, but in Gwen we have a character that is both vulnerable because of the time in which she lives, yet strong in spite of it.  The romance was convincing, the setting wonderfully described, and the story itself was historically accurate.  Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction.

Rating: 

What I’m Reading Now:

What I’m Reading Next:

Bookish Reflections – January 2021

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

This month, I spent a good deal of time editing, which inevitably means I read less.  Sigh.  However, four books is one a week, and so not too shabby for this bookworm, methinks.  Hopefully, I can pick up the pace in February…

January saw me trial my new “review only some books and rate the rest” policy. To be honest, it did feel like it took the pressure off, and I doubt I would have been able to claim the above four books for the month if I was still reviewing them all.  So, a month in, and it seems to be working so far…

I also started my classic reads challenge this month, which I am enjoying at the moment.  January’s read was H.G. Wells’, The Island of Dr. Moreau, which I think will stay with me for a while yet. February’s book is one I’ve been meaning to read for a while, Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, which is supposed to be one of the great sensational novels of the Victorian period…

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 Read

  • The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
  • Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Books I’ve Read and Reviewed

Other Book-Related Posts

Favourite Read(s) of The Month

  • All of January’s books were rated 4 / 5, so I’m guessing I enjoyed them all equally 😉

Books I’ve Bought or Been Given

  • none this month

Books I’ve Downloaded

  • Lady Audley Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

What I’ve Been Reading on Wattpad

  • Not much as I’ve not had a great deal of time for reading really this month…sigh

January’s “Read and Review” Goals

  • The Voyage of The Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
  • The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
  • The Island of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells

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

What I’m reading in February

  • Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • The Good Knight by Sarah Woodbury
  • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Very Informal Classic Reads Book Club Challenge 2021

  • January’s Book – The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells – Read and reviewed!
  • Next month’s book – Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Basic Book Review Challenge 2021

To read (at least) one book a week, to reach a target of 60 over the course of the year, with the aim of posting a review for some of them.

  • Month started at: 0 / 60
  • Month finished at: 4 / 60

Sammi Loves Books Reading Challenge 2019

I’m revisiting this challenge I started in 2019, to complete the challenges I missed. I’ve completed the following challenges from the list this month:

  • none
  • Total challenges completed in 2019: 8 / 20
  • Total challenges completed in 2020: 8 / 12
  • Total challenges completed in 2021: 0 / 4
  • Total: 16 / 20
  • You can find the complete list of challenges here.

Read, Rate, Review, Rehome

Goal: 35 | Total so far: 3 / 35

  • The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
  • Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Book Review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is, chronologically, the fifth book in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

An interesting adventure with plenty of action, mystery and magic. 4 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the ‘Dawn Treader’, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world.

Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true.

Favourite Quote

Most of us know what we should expect to find in a dragon’s lair, but, as I said before, Eustace had read only the wrong books. They had a lot to say about exports and imports and governments and drains, but they were weak on dragons.

(From The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, page 70)

Review

I felt like this book was a bit of a mixed bag really.  There were some parts of it which I loved dearly, but others not so much. And, there were parts where I felt the pacing was fast (not too fast) but others where it felt too slow. Hence the rating. Yet, I think this book, out of the five that I’ve read so far, contains the most interesting and inspiring quotes, and so it was with some difficulty I picked the one above.

I really liked the characters in this one.  Lucy and Edmond were always my favourite of the Pevensies, so for them to get their own adventure was fun, yet there is a reminder here that all children grow up.  This time around, their cousin Eustace joins them, albeit unwillingly, but his presence in the story is also very good. We also get to meet Prince Caspian again, who is now King of Narnia.

There is plenty of action and adventure to be found in the story, as well as mystery and magic, of course. My favourite adventure of the book was the one with the dragon (I shan’t go into details for fear of spoilers), but the place where dreams come true was also very clever. And I really enjoyed exploring the different geography in this story: we are taken to distant islands and cover great swathes of ocean and see all sorts of things we haven’t seen in Narnia before.

The next in the chronological order of the series, is The Silver Chair, which is book six and the penultimate volume in The Chronicles of Narnia. I plan to read it in February…

Rating

Book Review: The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells

January’s Book for The Very Informal Classic Reads Book Club Challenge 2021…


Quick Review (read on for full review)

A thought-provoking read which poses questions still relevant today. 4 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Ranked among the classic novels of the English language and the inspiration for several unforgettable movies, this early work of H. G. Wells was greeted in 1896 by howls of protest from reviewers, who found it horrifying and blasphemous. They wanted to know more about the wondrous possibilities of science shown in his first book, The Time Machine, not its potential for misuse and terror. In The Island of Dr. Moreau, a shipwrecked gentleman named Edward Prendick, stranded on a Pacific island lorded over by the notorious Dr. Moreau, confronts dark secrets, strange creatures, and a reason to run for his life.

While this riveting tale was intended to be a commentary on evolution, divine creation, and the tension between human nature and culture, modern readers familiar with genetic engineering will marvel at Wells’s prediction of the ethical issues raised by producing “smarter” human beings or bringing back extinct species. These levels of interpretation add a richness to Prendick’s adventures on Dr. Moreau’s island of lost souls without distracting from what is still a rip-roaring good read.

Favourite Quote

‘I hope, or I could not live.’

(From The Island of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells, page 142)

Review

As I read The Island of Dr Moreau, I couldn’t help but think H.G.Wells was ahead of his time, and I came away with the over-riding view that this story was a cautionary tale whose message is: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

This is not a story of science at its most exciting and awe-inspiring, but rather at its most strange and horrifying. And, the most terrifying aspect of the book is not the strange creatures of the island, but rather the scientist behind them, a man who thinks it is perfectly acceptable to do what he does.  Yet, the fact that he has to do it on an island miles away from any other human being because he’s been shunned by his own community should have given him a clue as to why he shouldn’t be doing it.

The book poses some very interesting questions, ones which still are relevant today, regarding the ethics of science and the experimentation on other sentient beings. If I had known the story was going to deal with issues such as these, I’m not sure I would have chosen it, as prior to reading, all I knew about it was that it was a Victorian horror story.  And, I’m not sure I would read this one again. That being said, I’m glad I read it the once. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it was interesting and it did keep me gripped.

Rating


February’s Book for The Very Informal Classic Reads Book Club Challenge 2021 – Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon…

Read, Reading Now, Reading Next (25 Jan 2021)

Want to know what I’ve been reading, what I am reading and what I plan to read next? Read on…


What I’ve Just Read

The Mangle Street Murders by M. R. C. Kasasian

Summary from Goodreads:

Gower Street, London, 1882: Sidney Grice, London’s most famous personal detective, is expecting a visitor. He drains his fifth pot of morning tea, and glances outside, where a young, plain woman picks her way between the piles of horse-dung towards his front door.

March Middleton is Sidney Grice’s ward, and she is determined to help him on his next case. Her guardian thinks women are too feeble for detective work, but when a grisly murder in the slums proves too puzzling for even Sidney Grice’s encyclopaedic brain, March Middleton turns out to be rather useful after all…

Set in a London still haunted by the spectre of the infamous Spring-heeled Jack, THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS is for those who like their crime original, atmospheric, and very, very funny

My Thoughts: This is the first book in The Gower Street Detective series, and I really enjoyed it.  Sidney Grice was an interesting if not particularly likeable character on the whole but March is quite the opposite. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Rating:

Books Read With Reviews Forthcoming on Sammi Loves Books:

What I’m Reading Now

What I’m Reading Next