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Showing posts from June, 2016

Monthly Recap: June

It's the last day of June! I haven't done a monthly recap post before but I think it's a good way to keep track of what I've read and reviewed each month.

# Books Read in June 5

Books Read in June:
Phyllida in Form III by Evelyn Smith (****)
Magnum Bonum by Charlotte Mary Yonge (***+)
The Star Bell by Stephanie Ricker (****+)
The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi (***)
One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters (****+)

Reviews Posted:
The Rakshasa's Bride by Suzannah Rowntree (****)
Escape from Rome by Caroline Lawrence (****+)
The Star Bell by Stephanie Ricker (****+)

Non-Review Posts:
TTT: Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2016
TTT: Best 2016 Releases So Far
Classics Club Spin (Again)

Classics Club Progress:
I didn't finish anything this month, but I'm still reading Lark Rise to Candleford (my Spin book), and also Watership Down, and hope to pick up the pace a bit soon.

Currently Reading:
Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
Love, Nina b…

Book Review: The Star Bell by Stephanie Ricker

The Star Bell is the third book in The Cendrillon Cycle. The first two, The Battle of Castle Nebula and A Cinder's Tale, were both excellent reads, so I was greatly looking forward to reading this one, and I wasn't disappointed.

(This review may contain some spoilers for the previous books in the series.)

General Impressions: This book was quite a bit longer than the two previous books. This I think was a good thing, because it meant there was a longer time to enjoy the book. It also allowed for more development of the story, especially plotwise, and greater worldbuilding.

I have to say that I don't think I enjoyed this one quite as much as the previous books, although I couldn't say exactly why - I think it just had a lot to live up to. However, that doesn't mean that I was disappointed in it - The Star Bell is still a really good book, and I very much enjoyed reading it.
Onto some specifics:

Characters: The main characters are Elsa, Bruno, and Karl, who are of cour…

Best 2016 Releases I've Read So Far

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is favourite 2016 releases so far. As with last week, this isn't going to be a very long list; I've only read two 2016 releases so far, both of which were published last month. Fortunately, both of them were really good!
Escape from Rome by Caroline Lawrence
The first book in a new series, Roman Quests, which is a sort of spin-off of the Roman Mysteries series. I really enjoyed this and you can read my review of it here. I'm now eagerly anticipating book #2 in the series, The Archers of Isca, which comes out in October.


The Star Bell by Stephanie Ricker
This was the third volume in The Cendrillon Cycle, after The Battle of Castle Nebula and A Cinder's Tale. I've really enjoyed all three of these. I'm hoping to post a review of this one in the next few days.

Most Anticipated Releases for Late 2016

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Second Half of the Year. I'm not very good at keeping up with new releases so there are a lot fewer than ten books this week, but there are a few coming out later this year that I want to read, so I've decided to participate anyway. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (releases July 31) I haven't been following this particularly closely, and I do have a few doubts about it. Buuuut it's a new Harry Potter book, so of course I'm going to read it. :) The Archers of Isca by Caroline Lawrence (releases October 6) This is book #2 in the Roman Quests series. I read the first one last month and really enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to reading this one when it comes out. A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay (releases November 1) I quite enjoyed Dear Mr Knightleyand Lizzy and Jane,perhaps not quite as much as lots of other people seem to have done, but enough to m…

Book Review: Escape from Rome by Caroline Lawrence

Summary (from Goodreads): The year is AD 94. When the evil Emperor Domitian sends soldiers to seize his family's home in the middle of the night, Juba must escape with his brother and sisters, and journey to distant Britannia on the edge of the known world.

His task: To avoid capture and death.
His quest: To find a safe haven in Britain.
His destiny: To save the children.






I really enjoyed this book.

It has the distinction of being one of the few books I've read in recent years which I actually knew about prior to publication (although I didn't realise it was out until I came across it at the library last month). It's the first in a new series, which is a (sort of) sequel to the Roman Mysteries series, which was one of my favourite series when I was younger. It's been seven years since the last book in that series was published, so obviously I was very much looking forward to reading this one, and it did not disappoint. I think I liked it even better than most of the R…

Classics Club Spin (Again)

It's time for another Classics Club Spin. Last time I did finish my book but was a few days late in doing so; hopefully I'll do better this time.

Five books I'm slightly intimidated by: 1. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore 2. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 3. Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell 4. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott 5. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Five books I've been meaning to read for ages: 6. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott 7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 8. Elizabeth Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin 9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 10. The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild
Five books I can't wait to read: 11. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë 12. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge 13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 14. Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery 15. Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
Five books I'm neutral about: 16. Villette by Charlotte Brontë 17. Great Expectations by Charles Dicken…

Book Review: The Rakshasa's Bride by Suzannah Rowntree

Summary (from Goodreads):
Preeti Kamla has the evil eye. It’s the only explanation for the tragedy and disgrace besetting her once wealthy family. But when a handsome stranger in the village square tells her he has broken her curse, Preeti almost believes him.

Until a twist of fate whisks her away from everything she knows, and the gruesome Demon Rajah claims her as his bride.

A rich and romantic retelling of Beauty and the Beast in the style of a Bollywood epic. Novella, approximately 18,000 words.



So, I knew basically nothing about this book going in, other than that it was a fairytale retelling. I realised maybe halfway through that it was supposed to be Beauty and the Beast. It's also a Christian allegory, although this is fairly subtle, and I didn't realise this either until a fair way in. Of course after I realised these things I knew roughly what was going to happen, but I still wasn't sure what route the author was going to take and so the ending wasn't that pred…