Bookish Reflections – June 2017

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’ve more or less caught up with my backlog of reviews.  There is only one now outstanding and as it’s a historical fiction book, I’ll save it and post it in August for Historical Fiction Month.  July is Indie Only Month (one of my favourite times here at Sammi Loves Books).  I’ve already got a few books earmarked for reading and reviewing,

Books I’ve reviewed

Favourite read of the month

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Books I’ve bought (or been given)

  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • The Lancashire Witches by Harrison Ainsworth

Books I’ve downloaded

  • You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant
  • Memory Man by David Baldacci

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

June‘s “What I’m reading and reviewing next month” goals

  • Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles [complete]
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate [complete]
  • Torment by Lauren Kate [complete]
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth [complete]
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth [complete]
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

What I’m reading and reviewing in July

July is Indie Only Month here at Sammi Loves Books, so the only books that I’ll be reviewing will be ones written and published by Indie authors.  And I’m very excited 🙂

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 57.  I have read 22.  39% complete.  Currently 6 books behind schedule.

Other reads (books not on Goodreads)* : 1

Total books read so far this year: 23

* “Other reads” means books that are not listed on Goodreads, but ones that are still of novel / novella length.  I’m not counting anthologies, single short stories, magazines / ezines, but I will count short story or poetry collections if they are not too short.

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

(This review may contain spoilers)

Allegiant is the third and final book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

Summary (from back cover)

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power-struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal.  So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready.  Perhaps beyond the fence she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated ties, tangled loyalties and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind.  Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless.  Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves.  And once again Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Favourite Quote

I wonder if fears ever really go away, or if they just lose their power over us.


I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.


So, I really enjoyed Divergent and Insurgent, and my expectations of the final book in the trilogy were, of course, high, higher than they had been at any other point in the series.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

Allegiant is quite different from the first two books.  We are now outside of the fence; in effect, in the real world, if one far into the future.  But here the world is divided too, along different lines, but the results are the same.

Tris is such a strong and clever young woman.  It’s hard to read how someone so young has lost so much, suffered so much, witnessed so much, but it’s a testament to her character that she doesn’t give in.  But it is still heart-breaking, all the same.  Tris and Four’s relationship is also hard to watch; it’s almost constantly put to the test because of what they have to endure and live through, but there are also times where it is sweet and easy and terribly moving.

I both did and didn’t expect the ending to this book and thus the series.  I know that doesn’t make too much sense, but there it is.  The question is, am I happy about it?  No.  I’m not.  Why?  Because I’m human and emotional.  And yet, I’m not sure how else it could have ended.  The ending needed to big and bold to create an impact after all that had gone before, and the author certainly achieved that.

I loved this series.  It was definitely one of the best YA series I have read, and also one of the best dystopian series I have read.  And as such, I can’t recommend the Divergent trilogy highly enough.


Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

Summary (from back of book)

One choice can transform you – or destroy you.  Tris Prior’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration: instead it ended with unspeakable horrors.  Now unrest surges in the factions around her as conflict between their ideologies grows.

In times of war sides must be chosen and secrets will emerge.  Tris has already paid a terrible price for survival and is wracked by haunting guilt.  But radical new discoveries and shifting relationships mean that she must fully embrace her Divergence – even though she stands to lose everything.

Favourite Quote

Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged.


Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.


I read Divergent in a couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn’t wait to get stuck into book two in the series, but I did wonder if Insurgent could live up to my sky-high expectations.  I needn’t have worried.  It did, without question.

Whereas with book one, we get to see up close two of the five factions (Abnegation and Dauntless), in book two we are given not only a closer look at the remaining three (Amity, Candor and Erudite), but also the factionless; those who have been forced to live outside and on the edges of society.  The divide between those within the faction system and those discarded by is great, and so naturally, the tension that exists between them is also great.

What I also liked about this book was that it wasn’t only a vehicle to get you from the amazing first book in the series to the amazing last book in the series.  It served it’s own function in the trilogy, building on book one and guiding the reader to book three via its own storyline.  It was packed full of information and detail about the world Tris, Four and the others live in, and the pace and action level of Divergent was maintained.

Insurgent is a fast, emotional, action-fuelled story that kept me entertained and ensured my attention never wavered.  The characters are not perfect; they are flawed and they are human, and it was interesting (and moving) to see how they each responded to the terrible events that unfolded around them.

As of writing this review, I’ve now finished reading the final book in the Divergent series, Allegiant, and will be posting the review of it soon.


Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is the first book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.

Summary (from back of book)

Beatrice Prior is on the brink of a decision that will change her life.  In a society divided into factions all are forced to choose where they belong.  And the choice Tris makes shocks everyone, including herself.

Once decisions are made, the new members are forced to undergo extreme initiation tests with devastating consequences.  As their experience transforms them, Tris must determine who her friends are – and if the man who both threatens and protects her is really on her side.

Because Tris has a deadly secret.  And as growing conflict threatens to unravel their seemingly perfect society, this secret might save those Tris loves…or it might destroy her.

Favourite Quote

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point.  That’s impossible.  It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”


“…there is power in self-sacrifice.”


I’m surprised at how quickly I was pulled into this story, so much so that I really struggled to put it down.  I hadn’t seen the film before reading the book (which is how I prefer it), though a little serendipity, the film was on TV the day I finished it.  And I’m aware that it took me quite a long time to get around to reading it.  However, I do have a tendency to keep away from “popular” books at least while everyone is still talking about them.  (I still haven’t read The Hunger Games series yet!)  It helps to form my own judgement of the book, and to consider whether I think the hype surrounding it was justified in my opinion.

So, in a nutshell, I loved pretty much everything about this book.  I don’t often tend to read dystopian fiction, so Divergent was a pleasant surprise.

The faction system was really interesting, and I did spend a little while after reading it (and some time whilst I was reading it) wondering which of the five factions I would choose.  To think such a major decision has to be made by every sixteen year old is crazy.  I’m not sure I would have trusted my sixteen year old self to make a decision like this, and not one that would have had a major effect over the rest of my life.

Roth is very good capturing her characters personalities.  Tris is a fantastic main character; possibly one of my favourite YA leads.  Four is also great.  The book is well-written, and the storyline clear.  The pace was fast enough to keep me hooked and actively engaged in what was happening but not too fast that things passed me by in a blur and left me confused.

All-in-all, a great first book in a series, a great YA read, and one you can completely immerse yourself in for a few hours.

As soon as I finished this book, I started the second, Insurgent, the review for which I will be posting soon.


What’s coming up at Sammi Loves Books…

As we move towards the end of June, the season of reading challenges approaches here at Sammi Loves Books. Yay!

July is Indie Only Month

August is Historical Fiction Month

And as always, I’m really excited! 🙂

Book Review: Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles

Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country is the first novel in the Guenevere series by Rosalind Miles.


Guenevere is the last of the queens of the Summer Country, a pagan kingdom of ancient Britain, where the Great Goddess is venerated above all.  But times are changing.  Under the guidance of Merlin, Arthur, the secret son of the last High King of Britain, is on a quest to reclaim what is his by rights.  At the same time, a new religion is sweeping across the land.

The future seems uncertain.  When it is time for Guenevere to choose a husband and king to rule beside her, she must pick carefully.  The wrong choice could have disastrous consequences for the Summer Country.  So, in her hour of need, she summons to her the one man who can help her…Arthur.

Favourite Quote (or rather, 3 Favourite Quotes)


As Guenevere watched and listened, the power of the ritual stole over her, and her dread began to fade.  Lulled by the chanting, cocooned by the warm air, she fell into a trance. Now she could hear the secret music at the heart of things, and feel the breath of the mystery brushing against her cheek. Her senses swam in a pearly light like Avalon, and a great sweetness filled the air.


He came in a silver sunset at the end of a sweet spring day. The evening star was shining in a pearl-grey sky when the message was brought in.


On the far horizon, a white moon sailed up into the sky, bathing the earth with light. She could hear an owl calling from the nearby wood, and the soft cooing as the doves nestled down for the night.



I thought I would really enjoy this book, and although there were parts of it that I did really like (such as the pagan descriptions of the Britain during the Dark Ages), the problem was, I didn’t really connect to the main characters.

When I first saw the title of the book, I thought that it was definitely a book for me. Then I saw the cover and I was smitten. Arthurian myths and legends are my thing; I’ve been reading about the subject since I was a child, both fictional stories (fantasy, historical, re-imaginings) and the history (or lack there of) behind them. So when I came across this, a story being told from Guenevere’s point of view as a strong queen in her own right, I was quite excited.

However, I think the book tries to do too much. Arthurian myth spans centuries, but this book attempts to weave a story from the pagan past, the spread of Christianity and the conflict between paganism and monotheism, as well as the early medieval obsession towards chivalry and courtly love. And in the midst of all this, I think something gets lost.

On the upside, the tale is full of beautiful passages of evocative descriptions, and it is this, above all else, that I will remember from this book.  I have included three quotes from Guenevere instead of the usual one to illustrate this and also in the hope that this review doesn’t come across as too negative, which isn’t my intention.  After all, I did read the book from cover to cover, and found the story itself to be well written, not to mention I adored a number of the locations found within the story, especially Avalon.

The question is, am I going to read the second novel in the series, The Knight of the Sacred Lake? At the moment, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that I will at some point in the future.


Bookish Reflections – May 2017

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’ve read more books than I have reviewed this month.  Seven were completed, and yet I only wrote one review!  I did wonder whether there was any point posting May’s Bookish Reflections, but then, if the point is accountability it would be wrong not to.  In fact, I have neglected the blog entirely this past month because of one thing or another and that leaves me feeling quite disappointed with myself.  Well, I endeavour to do better this month, and of course, something I always look forward to is coming up…Indie Only Month.  So, any book review requests or recommendations, send them this way.  And I promise to respond within a couple of days 🙂

Books I’ve reviewed

Favourite read of the month

The Shrine by Ben Kane

Books I’ve bought

  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • Eagles at War by Ben Kane

Books I’ve downloaded

  • The Novice (The Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

Book review requests I’ve accepted

Still behind with email responses 😦

What I’ve been reading on Wattpad

  • The Shrine by Ben Kane
  • Into the Light: Poems by Stacie Eirich

April’s “What I’m reading and reviewing next month” goals

  • Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • The Shrine by Ben Kane

What I’m reading and reviewing in June

  • Guenevere: The Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Fallen by Lauren Kate (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Torment by Lauren Kate (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • Into the Light: Poems by Stacie Eirich (read, awaiting reviewing)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

To be honest, my aim this month is to catch up with the backlog of reviews that need writing.  If I get around to reading anything else, it will be a bonus.  We shall just have to see which books catch my eye…

Goodreads Reading Challenge

My goal is 57.  I have read 16.  28% complete.  Currently 7 books behind schedule.

Other reads (books not on Goodreads) : 1

Total books read so far this year: 17