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Showing posts from November, 2016

Monthly Recap: November

How is it already the end of November?! Christmas is nearly here!
What I read: November was a pretty good reading month for me. All of the books I read were pretty good, and there were a few that were really good. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (****) (review) Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers (****) (review) Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston (****) The Archers of Isca by Caroline Lawrence (****) The Princess Virginia by A.M. and C.N. Williamson (****) (thoughts on these three) Penelope's English Experiences by Kate Douglas Wiggin (***) (This was entertaining, but I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the author's other books) Mother Carey's Chickens by Kate Douglas Wiggin (****) (I really enjoyed this; it reminded me quite a bit of children's classics like Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm) The Old Peabody Pew by Kate Douglas Wiggin (***) (Enjoyable, but nothing really happened) Book of the Month: This is actually pretty difficult, because T…

Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers

This is the first in Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series, but the second that I have read. Gaudy Night was really good but, since many people consider it the best in the series, I was worried that this book wouldn't live up to it; especially as GN focuses mostly on Harriet Vane, who doesn't appear in this book, and I wasn't sure I would enjoy this as much with only Peter. I needn't have worried though; although this isn't quite as good, it's definitely still very enjoyable.
The mystery itself was interesting; it begins with the rather bizarre circumstance of a man discovering a body in his bath, having no idea how it got there. Naturally this is rather intriguing to Lord Peter, who decides to investigate, working with a friend in the police. There are quite a few twists and turns along the way to the conclusion (which I guessed just after Lord Peter had solved it, but before he revealed the solution), which is certainly original. Some aspects …

The Bookish Time Travel Tag

This tag seems to have been going around for quite a while now, as I've seen it on a lot of blogs. I haven't been specifically tagged for it, but it looked fun so I'm going to steal it and fill it out anyway :) It originated from The Library Lizard.
What is your favourite historical setting for a book?
Just one?! I've long had an interest in reading about Ancient Rome (started by the Roman Mysteries series, which I loved when I was about thirteen) but I also feel a strong draw seventeenth-century England (the Civil War and so on), although I'm not entirely sure why. More recently I've developed a love of the Middle Ages. Basically anything before about 1700 :) Although I enjoy books with more recent settings too!

What writer/s would you like to travel back in time to meet? This is another hard one, because I have a lot of favourite authors who are no longer around :) I think I'd like to meet Elizabeth Gaskell, because I really enjoy her books and it seems li…

Mini-Reviews #4: Historical Settings

The Archers of Isca by Caroline Lawrence The sequel to Escape from Rome; this was almost as good as its predecessor! This book focuses more on Fronto, the eldest sibling, although we also get a lot more of the other characters than the book description implies. I love the characters in this series so much, so that was great. Like the first book, there is a fast-moving plot but it is also quite character-driven, which I like. The ending does feel a bit inconclusive, as there are a few plot strands left quite open, but since this is part of a series that is understandable (although it is quite a long wait until the next book comes out!) There was one twist in the story that, as a Roman Mysteries fan, I found very exciting, but I won't spoil it for you! All in all, this was a very good book, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the story develops through the rest of the series. Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston For a Jane Austen sequel, this was actually pretty good! It tells…

Ten of My Favourite Movies That Were Based on Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is a movies freebie, so I've decided to list ten of my favourite films that were based on books. I've included miniseries as well, because there were a few that I couldn't not include. There were quite a few others I could have included, but here are ten films/miniseries that I really like and could watch over and over again: Sense and Sensibility (1995) Wives and Daughters (1999) Les Miserables (2012) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) North and South (2004) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) Cranford (2007) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) Ballet Shoes (2007) Little Women (1994)

Thoughts on The Fellowship of the Ring

So, I have finally finished part one of The Lord of the Rings!
Some thoughts: I am completely blown away by the depth of the world-building. This reads more like a historical narrative than a story set in a made-up world. The level of detail and the different languages and cultures within the world feel real. I think this is one of the main strengths of this book for me - it makes me want to discover more about this world, and it feels like really it is only scratching the surface in this book. Some of the descriptive passages are also beautiful. I rather enjoyed most of the songs and poems as well, and felt that they added to the authenticity of the world, as many of them tell legends and well-known stories within Middle-Earth. As for the story itself, I have to admit that I found it rather slow going at times; there were sections where really not a lot happened. So that did make it a little hard to get through at times. The pace did pick up a bit as the story progressed, and I'…

Ten Books I've Added to My Wishlist Lately

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Ten Books I've Added to My Wishlist Lately. So, here are ten books I've recently discovered that I want to read: Lady in Waitingby Rosemary Sutcliff I much enjoyed the last of Rosemary Sutcliff's books that I read, and this one, about Walter Raleigh's wife, sounded interesting. Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytalesby Elisabeth Grace Foley and others A collection of six historical fairytale retellings which is coming out in December.


Death on the Cherwellby Mavis Doriel Hay A classics mystery set in 1930s Oxford sounds like something I would enjoy.
A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George Another mystery - this is a genre I've been getting back into recently. I can't remember much about this but I obviously thought it sounded good when I added it.

Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves by Kevin Bales Human trafficking and modern slavery is a major issue today that I …

Mini-Reviews #3: Children's and YA

Here are my thoughts on four books I've read recently. Read previous mini-review posts here and here.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows I really liked this book. It retells the story of Lady Jane Grey, set in an alternative version of sixteenth-century England where some people (Edians) have the ability to turn into animals. Others think that this ability is unnatural and that Edians should all be destroyed. It's very well done and very entertaining. Definitely recommended, especially if you are a history fan.
Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff This was my second attempt at reading this author; I have to admit I didn't especially enjoy The Eagle of the Ninth, but I'm glad I gave Rosemary Sutcliff another try! I really enjoyed this book. It was in essence a fairly straightforward story, about a boy trying to escape from slavery and find a place to belong, but it was very well done. I think the tension between "light" and "dark" mom…

Favourite Authors: Charlotte Mary Yonge

Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901) was an extremely popular and prolific author in the Victorian era, which her writing career more or less spanned; her first book, Le Chateau de Melville, was privately printed in 1838, and her last, Modern Broods, was published in 1900. Despite this, she is almost forgotten nowadays. However, she was very influential at the time and was admired by many contemporary authors such as George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Christina Rossetti, and (especially) Louisa May Alcott. Although her books were definitely "of their time" in terms of the prevailing morality and sensibilities present in many of them, which is one of the reasons why they are not read much today, I think there are still things that can be appreciated about them today (although they are not for everyone). She is most known for her Victorian domestic chronicles, which detail the lives of (usually very large) families of characters, most of whom are interconnected (which can be confusin…

October Recap

What I Read Chronicle of a Last Summer by Yasmine El Rashidi. A story about a girl growing up in Egypt. This was OK, but I didn't love it. Read my review to find out more.
Autumn Term by Antonia Forest. A classic children's book about twins who go to boarding-school determined to live up to the achievements of their four older sisters (which, not surprisingly, proves much harder than they expected). I enjoyed this story, but I didn't love it as much as I expected to.
Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess by Meg Cabot. This is the first in a spin-off series of The Princess Diaries for younger readers. It was a very quick read, which I thought was OK, but it would probably be good for the target audience.


Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day. A MG contemporary novel about three sisters who move from the country to London when their mother becomes a quite successful author. It's sweet and quite funny at times, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott.…