Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier


Publication Date:  1936

Length: 332 pages

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have loved the book Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier all my life and have watched the 1939 movie adaptation countless times. I am not sure what took me so long to try another of her books but I'm glad I did. Jamaica Inn was so different from Rebecca (except for the Gothic touch) that it almost felt like it was written by a different author. It touches on a topic that is definitely unique and the only other book that comes to mind is Poldark, which is set in Cornwall as well. I love all things associated with the ocean, pirates, and Cornwall so I was really looking forward to reading this.

Mary Yellan has lost her mother and is traveling to Jamaica Inn, a long way from her home in Helford, to fulfull her mother's dying wish. The women had lived a bare bones, hardscrabble life on their farm without Mary's father to help them and now that Mary is alone, her mother wants her to go and live with her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss. Although Mary is very independent minded and wants to stay on the farm, she realizes that her mother may know better and therefore decides to journey forth, hoping for an exciting adventure and warmth from distant relatives.

Upon arriving at the inn Mary immediately is met with a sense of darkness when she meets her Uncle who is anything but welcoming. A harsh, bitter drunk, he is abusive and secretive and her Aunt Patience is clearly a mental prisoner suffering from years of living with her precarious situation.  Mary tries to jump in and accept her life, offering her services in the cleaning and supervising of the inn, but quickly starts to notice they receive no visitors and the place is hardly fit for travelers. She suspects there is more going on underneath and her suspicions are confirmed when late one night she witnesses the rowdy comings and goings of shady men who appear to be unloading cargo and stashing it in a secret room under the direction of her Uncle Joss. Threatened with harm if she discloses what she knows, Mary at first keeps the secrets she has seen, if only to protect her Aunt and her place at the inn.

In her spare time, Mary explores the vast moors and when she becomes lost near dusk, she encounters help from a strange, Albino priest who takes her in, feeds her and gives her a ride back to the inn. She can't quite put her finger on why he makes her a bit uneasy but decides to trust him and knows if she ever gets into a real bind she can go to him. He shows her compassion and appears to be a friend.

As she learns more about her Uncle's "business" ventures and nocturnal activities, Mary becomes terrified that she has stumbled into a situation involving more than just stolen, stored goods. One night Joss, in a drunken stupor, reveals how he obtains the goods and confesses to horrific deeds which plague him even as he has no plans to stop. The ships containing the cargo he steals are plundered in a way that Mary could never have envisioned and she is helpless as to what to do with the information she now knows. 

Mary also meets her Uncle's brother, Jem, who she fights an attraction to. He is a much younger brother, closer to Mary's age and the two begin a tentative flirtation that turns somewhat romantic when he challenges her to join him on Christmas Eve in the nearby town of Launceston for holiday festivities. While there, Mary witnesses Jem's reckless behavior when he attempts to sell a stolen horse and she knows she is in over her head, Jem, being a younger version of Joss, and having the same romantically, dangerous streak that drew in her Aunt years ago. Mary does not want to end up like Patience and vows to stand her ground against her feelings for Jem but finds it almost impossible as he awakens feelings in her she has never known before. 

Upon returning home to Jamaica Inn, Mary faces her worst nightmare yet. She becomes a pawn in her Uncle's schemes and finds herself in mortal danger.  She must find a way to save herself, her Aunt, and reconcile her feelings towards Jem, all while not becoming as hardened as the men who control her. 

This book is darker than one I'd normally gravitate to. I admit I found myself wanting more light hearted moments but after finishing it, I realize it does have some light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to be patient. The writing is superb, hence the five star rating, and I can understand why it is a classic, still being read nearly one hundred years later. The characters are fleshed out superbly through their thoughts and flaws as human beings and Du Maurier really captures the despair of Joss, Patience, and Jem, who are tortured in their own, personal ways for the choices they have made in their lives. Mary is a heroine even as you know she doesn't set out to be, she is just trying to survive.  Uncompromising in her wish to do the right thing at each turn, you begin to admire her ability to survive each situation she is put in.

I'm not sure if I'll read another Du Maurier book soon. Eventually I'd like to read My Cousin Rachel and The Scapegoat. But I think it's time for a lighthearted summer read....this one was pretty dark and heavy!

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Stacking the Shelves #5


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Reality. It's a place to showcase any books I have purchased, borrowed, or been lucky enough to have been given an advance copy of. Here are this week's new to me books! 

This is the Read Christie 2023 June book and I can't wait to get started. It's actually on hold through the Libby App but I'm hopeful I'll get it any day now. I like to stay ahead on these and am starting to feel like a Christie book a month is a habit I'll keep....weird how I didn't like her much a year ago. Now it is strange not to have a book going all the time.

This book is not a subject I've seen before. Yes the Nevills appear in any book on the Wars of the Roses but not in a book exclusively their own. Glad I ran across it. Not sure if I'll love it, but I had to try it out and see if I learn some interesting side stories not found elsewhere about this powerful family. 

This book was one of my free choices for May with my Amazon Prime membership. It isn't one I might choose to buy but if I can borrow it, why not? It is currently listed as number one in historical mystery and thrillers so it's worth a shot. 

Happy reading this week!

Friday, May 26, 2023

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie: Superintendent Battle Book Five (Read Christie 2023 May)


Publication Date:  June 1944

Length:  257 pages

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

I did not intend to read this book during the month of May but was unable to get a hard or digital copy of the current Read Christie book, Unfinished Portrait. This book was one of their suggestions for an alternate that was in keeping with the theme of betrayal. I am glad now that I chose it as the other book didn't appeal to me much. This is book five with Superintendent Battle as the investigator and I don't know much about him. So a good choice for me I'd say. 

As is common in Christie books, our story opens with an array of characters and events, seemingly unrelated and a bit confusing. There is a prologue where a group of lawyers are gathered around discussing hypothetical situations, the first chapter showcases a man who has attempted suicide, and then it moves to the main detective, Superintendent Battle, rescuing his daughter from a stressful situation at her boarding school. 

We continue to be introduced to the remaining characters,  who will soon be guests at Gull's Point, a seaside home of one Lady Tressilian, widow and matriarch who is confined to her bed. There are Nevile and Kay Strange, Nevile's ex-wife, Audrey Strange, family friend Thomas Royde, Ted Latimer, a friend of Kay's, and Mr. Treves, one of the lawyers introduced in the prologue. While Latimer and Treves are staying at a nearby hotel, the others are at Gull's Point in what is an awkward and tense atmosphere. Nevile has decided that in order to make peace with himself he must try to bring his current wife and ex-wife together and so has chosen a September weekend normally reserved for Audrey's visit, to foster harmony between them all. It does not go as planned and soon all the guests coming and going realize the idea is a grave mistake.

It is clear that Kay and Audrey have no love lost between them and Nevile seems conflicted about his choice to create a new life with Kay. She is spoiled and shallow and we start to see regret in him for his decision. Meanwhile, Audrey is seen as the sad victim of their affair and is loved from afar by Thomas.  Kay's friend Ted clearly has feelings for Kay and everyone sees the tension building, including Lady Tressilian, who is partial to Audrey and has no use for Kay. Her will states that Nevile and his wife will receive an inheritance upon her death, as her former husband took Nevile under his wing and raised him from a young man. When Lady Tressilain is found murdered, suspicion falls upon him, among others and Superintendent Battle, who is staying nearby on a vacation of his own, is called in to investigate. What seems a clear case of murder with a certain weapon soon becomes muddled when initial clues don't add up, and Battle finds it difficult to untangle the web he's been given.

The first half of the book is spent delving deeply into the relationships between Nevile, Kay, and Audrey. Much of the time we are privy to the hurt and pain caused by the divorce and remarriage of the guilty parties and how it has affected everyone involved. Audrey is presented as an introverted, depressed, scorned wife and Kay as an unfeeling and selfish, younger replacement. Nevile is irritatingly regretful about what he has done and spends time trying to convince Audrey he might have been wrong all along and should return to her. Thomas and Ted play the part of enamored would be suitors to Audrey and Kay respectively but get little recognition as the ladies are too caught up in the drama between the sad love triangle. When the murder occurs, things come to an explosive head and dark secrets and fears begin to surface.

I thought the story was compelling and the ending really detailed and original. So this story definitely deserves four stars. There was a lot that was hidden from the reader until the very end and what was interesting was that the murderer seemed obvious, yet the way things unfolded I'd never have guessed where it was going at all. 

The reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because I thought the first half started to repeat and drag a bit. The same feelings were rehashed and could've been shortened some. I also felt absolutely no connection to Superintendent Battle. It was odd that he referred to Poirot several times and in another review I read I agreed with the blogger who said why didn't Christie just go ahead and make this book a Poirot case? For this reason I'm not chomping at the bit to start another Battle book but I wouldn't rule it out entirely. This is a great plot line, just not my favorite so far. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Me Instantly Want To Read a Book

This week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is "things that make me instantly want to read a book." When I first saw this topic I thought it would be more about the actual words on the page in a book. But the more I pondered my reasons I realized I often want to read a book for the strangest or silliest reasons. This was surprising to think about but we are often drawn to books in all kinds of ways. Here are the ten ways I decide whether or not to give a book a go. 

1. The cover 

This has fooled me many times....a beautiful cover with a gorgeous setting and a colorful display can really suck me in. I have to watch out for this and remember that often the cover is the end for me if the book is not great.

2. The author 

I am a huge fan of sequels...maybe it's just comforting to know that I already enjoyed the other books and I know what I'm getting. So if it's one of my favorite authors like Anne Perry or Diana Gabaldon, I am going to want to read the book instantly.

3. Good reviews

I definitely will read a book if a trusted reviewer recommends it. Some of my fellow bloggers are the ones I go to first for this but Amazon and Goodreads are always a great place to start too.

4. Subtitles

I didn't realize this would be on my list until I started thinking about my answers. A well written, succinct subtitle draws me in and gives me that added "extra" within the main title to make me want to open the book and give it a try.

5. Historical fiction 

If a book is historical fiction or history set in certain time periods with certain historical figures I'm almost certain to give it a try or at least read the summary.

6. Real people 

This sort of goes along with number 5. I'm not a huge fan of fictional characters. I only enjoy them if they appear alongside real historical characters and then I get drawn into their fictional lives as they relate to those real people.

7. Length 

I enjoy longer books, those with some depth to them. If a book is 350 plus pages I'm more likely to spend my time on it. Sometimes mysteries are the exception but I love to get into an epic long book when I can.

8. Kings, Queens, Royalty of any kind

Yes this is a lot like number 5 but for me it is its own category! I am obsessed with books featuring royal persons especially if it is a narrative style biography of them.

9. Cozy mysteries set in the 1920's

This one may have more to do with the cover thing  again (see number 1) but I have discovered I am drawn to this genre in this time period. They are just fun and light hearted and good for the soul.

10. Anything set in historical Scotland 

This is such a favorite setting with me that I will give most stories a try if they take place during this time and place. 

What are your top reasons for reading a certain book? What makes you want to give it a try?


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Reality. It's a place to showcase any books I have purchased, borrowed, or been lucky enough to have been given an advance copy of. Here are this week's new to me books! 

It's time for the next book in my favorite 1920's cozy mystery series! Lady Eleanor, her butler, and her bulldog are going to the fair and I can't wait to see what trouble she will find there. I absolutely love these and look forward to buying the next one each time I am ready to continue. I try to read them "in season" as the authors write one for each time of the year. June is the perfect time to begin book six.

The only book I've seen that really delves into the life of Katherine Swynford is Anya Seton's Katherine and that one is historical fiction. I love Alison Weir so this book is sure to be thorough and engaging. I might have to wait a bit to dive into it though. I'm tired and not feeling able to concentrate on it just yet. But it does look like a good history book when I'm ready.

I am usually not a fan of audiobooks but I caved and decided to listen to this one. David Suchet from Poirot does the voice of Hercule Poirot and that sounds like a lot of fun! I found out it is the Read Christie choice for July so I guess I'll be ahead of the game too.

What "new to you" books have you gotten your hands on this week? 

Friday, May 19, 2023

The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody Book Three ) by Elizabeth Peters


Publication Date: 1985

Length: 313 pages

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

This is the third installment in a very entertaining series. I'd also say informative because I have learned a lot about pyramids and archaeology from these books! The author held a Ph.D. in Egyptology so even though these books are fiction and meant for fun, she really knows her stuff and it shines through as authentic. The main characters, Amelia Peabody and her husband Emerson Radcliffe, as well as their precocious tyke Ramses are witty and sarcastic and all the things I love about good historical fiction heroes and heroines. 

When this story begins, Amelia and Emerson are in England, trying to adjust to domestic life. They dream of working in Egypt again and Emerson longs to go to a place called Dahshoor for their next adventure. When another archaeologist is given the permission to excavate the site they are disheartened and even more so when the only place they are able to go is Mazghunah, not their first choice as there is nothing interesting or romantic there. It is in a desolate part of the pyramids and embarrassing for Emerson, who feels it is far beneath his standing to take it on in a meaningful way. With no other choice available they decide to make the effort anyway, and end up bringing son Ramses along with a grateful, yet naive minded servant, John.

Things appear to be mundane and uneventful until a local man is found hanging in his antiquities shop, and the case is presented as an unfortunate case of suicide. As Amelia and Emerson do some investigating they are convinced it is something more sinister.

Meanwhile, two religious groups appear to be clashing, the local Coptic Egyptian Christians and another band of American missionaries. Each is determined to stake out their claim to the lost souls of the area and neither is very understanding of the other groups' ways. Amelia and Emerson, being of no particular religious persuasion, do not care to be involved but things seem to move in such a way that they are slowly pulled into the animosity and are forced to conclude that there are things going on under the surface that may be connected to other, darker happenings. 

Ramses becomes attached to his own dig site run by none other than Emerson's nemesis (who he sees as the thief of the place that should rightfully have been his) one Jacques de Morgan, an actual historical figure that Peters inserted into her fictional story. He is arrogant, yet knowledgeable and although Ramses is allowed to tag along on some adventures, it is clear that his father is not thrilled. Things come to a climax as the Radcliffes start to seem to be targeted by a thief who breaks into their residence and as they feel more threatened they realize all the clues between the death of the shop owner, the religious sects, and a fire all are related in some way. For their safety and well being they have to figure out how. 

I always enjoy the author's use of unique vocabulary, setting, and history. She does a great job of weaving humor into the story, often at Emerson's expense, as Amelia loves to challenge him and assert her womanly independence whenever possible. They have a clearly defined romantic attachment underneath their sparring that shines through and although Amelia does not appear to love all things motherhood, she tempers what is Emerson's sometimes overly sentimental feelings toward Ramses and his antics. 

The mystery part of the story was a bit confusing and felt disjointed. I didn't think the plot was very strong and was kind of pieced together without a real plan. This is because I kept waiting for it all to come together at the end and honestly, I didn't find the resolution very believable. It didn't matter though because I still enjoyed the other things. Normally with a cozy mystery you'd want the mystery part to be stronger but if the characters are drawn well and are interesting enough, they can carry a mediocre story line. I'd still recommend not skipping this one if you are reading the books in order. And I give a lot of grace in series's hard to make every one of them stand out.

My only other problems with it were that yes, Ramses could get a bit annoying with his overly, unlikely genius vocabulary and as in book two, I didn't relate to Amelia's lack of motherly affection. But probably the biggest annoyance for me is that the author seems to have a subtle, yet marked disdain for Christians and their beliefs. Being one myself it can get old when she makes a habit of repeatedly letting us know through her protagonist just how ridiculous she finds us. But again, it is not strong enough to make me shun the books....just a bit disheartening and personal. One has to weigh the pros and cons of any book and this is an area for me to consider. 

I will definitely continue with book four at some point. This series is unique and historically accurate enough that I want to know what happens next. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Things Getting in the Way of Reading

This week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is "things getting in the way of reading." Boy do I need this one because it feels like when you are a teacher and a mother there is no way to read in the month of May! This post should really be "what isn't getting in the way of my reading? But for me, June is coming and hopefully a lot of reading time for summer! Here is my list of things sucking up all my reading time right now though. If you identify with some of these let me's nice to know I'm not the only one!

1. School-  When you are a teacher, April is testing month and May is all the things month....field trips, wrapping up the end of the year, etc. I'm tired and out of schedule as the days get a little unpredictable. There is barely time to eat lunch much less take a few minutes to catch up on a chapter or two in my latest book.

2. Baseball- Well this one might as well be labeled year round for my house. My son has been playing since he was 3 and now that he is almost 15 it is serious business. I am gone a lot and that will continue in June but at least I'll have my days free. And always bring that Kindle to the ballpark in case I get time between games!

3. Blogging- Oh the irony....blogging about books often keeps me from actually reading them. Any of my fellow bloggers agree? I absolutely love blogging, reading all my fellow bloggers latest posts, but am realizing all that time could be spent reading the's a real problem.

4. Chores- this one is kind of boring but it's a daily issue. I am a neat freak and I have a really hard time sitting down to read a book when there are dishes in the sink and laundry in a chair. I feel guilty and can't concentrate. I want to ignore it all but it feels impossible. Unless the book is really, really good :)

5. Family time- I do not live in a house full of readers. At all. My boys are very good at school required reading, have never ever struggled in this area but with all the technology in today's world neither they nor my husband ever pick up a book. It kinda makes me sad....but they don't identify with me in this area. So they aren't exactly understanding that I might want to skip togetherness sometimes to see how my chapter ends.

6. Technology- This is one I'm trying so hard to work on! I do it to myself. Facebook, Twitter, etc. can suck away all your time and concentration if you aren't careful. Sometimes I just have to silence my phone and put it away or I'd never finish a book.

7. Looking for new books- I think this one is kind of funny. I can kill an evening surfing for new books. And I wasn't as much this way before I started blogging. It is so relaxing to just scroll through Amazon, Net Galley, or the Goodreads shelves looking at all the books I have yet to read. But it keeps me from actually reading them. So weird. 

8. Falling asleep- This one is a real problem during the week. I will be excited to finally have a few minutes at the end of the day to read and the next thing I know, I'm out. Like a light. And the next day I have to start over because I literally can't remember anything I've read. So annoying!

9. Texting friends- While it probably belongs with number 6, this is actually its own category. I might be able to shut off apps but I have a hard time shutting off my friends. I feel the need to respond to everything and have to remember they'd want me to take me time. So I'm trying to ignore and just enjoy my book some days.

10. The gym- I am not one of those people that hates to workout. It's totally the opposite in fact. I love going to the gym. But let's face it, it is time consuming and I've never been someone who can read while on the elliptical bouncing up and down. I'm sweating, out of breath, and trying to follow a plot doesn't work for me. I end up watching Brit Box mysteries and that's fun...but it doesn't get my book read!

Usually when I finish a top ten list I'm running out of books or ideas. Not so with this post! I have a million things that take up my blissful reading time. When I was single in my nice, quiet apartment with only a cat to care for, I'd spend whole Saturdays plowing through books. I still love to read just as much but my life takes over now. I'm trying to remember to enjoy it all because my boys will be leaving me in the next 3-5 years, I'll retire from teaching, and I'll have lots of time to read....but then I'll be lonely for all the crazy!! And hey, I could be reading right I think I'll stop this list and get to it. 


Sunday, May 14, 2023

Stacking the Shelves #3

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Reality. It's a place to showcase any books I have purchased, borrowed, or been lucky enough to have been given an advance copy of. Here are this week's new to me books! 

This has been on my Classics Club list for awhile and I've always intended to read it. I loved Rebecca so I'm hoping this one is just as good. 

The current choice for Read Christie May is one I just couldn't get my hands on....digitally or otherwise. So I'm tackling this one with the same theme of betrayal.

The third in a series I love....hoping this one is good. It continues the story of Amelia Peabody and her husband Emerson as they spend their days in 19th century Egypt, pyramid hunting and getting into trouble. 

What new reads are you adding to your shelves this week? Are they new books, yet to be published books, or old classics?

Friday, May 12, 2023

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander Book 2) by Diana Gabaldon

Publication Date: July 1, 1992

Length: 752 pages

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One of my goals for my blog is to eventually review all of Gabaldon's books. I know it's been done by so many blogs but they are my favorite series of books and having read them all years ago before I started my book blog, I am behind on the review part. I always have a re-read going of one of them and am currently on my third re-read of book 3, Voyager. I finished my third re-read of Dragonfly in Amber last year so I thought it was time to get going on the review. Since I'm only halfway through the book I originally planned to review this week, it's a perfect time to turn to this goal. And's hard to review this book without a few spoilers if you haven't read book've been warned!

Always reviewing with the assumption that one hasn't read the previous book, it's a good idea to explain where we are when this one begins. Time traveler Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser at the end of book one has committed herself to her new husband Jamie and their life together in 18th century Scotland. She is pregnant with their first child and looking forward to staying in the past with the man she loves. Having left behind her first husband Frank, through no fault of her own, she realizes she is making a difficult choice, but since she and Frank had barely gotten to know each other in the present day and due to wild circumstances beyond her control, she feels there is no contest when it comes to following her heart with Jamie. 

When book two begins it is a bit confusing because we expect to continue the saga we left behind. But it begins in the year 1968 in Inverness with a completely new character, Roger Wakefield, who is going through his late father's belongings and attempting to make sense of the many books and scraps of information he left behind. He is visited by Claire and her daughter Brianna who have come to pay their respects to his late father and while they are visiting, details come to light which begin to see Roger caught up in the past and Claire's personal, fantastic story. As we settle in to hear her tale, we are taken back to 1744, to Le Havre, France, where the first Outlander book left off. From there we do not return to 1968 until the very end of the book. But there is an amazing story in between those years.

Claire and Jamie have gone to France to try to stop the Jacobite rebellion and therefore change the outcome of the Battle of Culloden. They plan to infiltrate Bonnie Prince Charlie's circle of conspirators, acting as if they are on board for the battle to see his father, James Stuart, restored to the throne of England. Jamie and Claire want Charles to fail in gaining financial and military support because they know the current outcome is devastating and tragic for Scotland and all those dear to them. Staying at Jamie's Uncle Jared's opulent Parisian home, the Frasers attend high society gatherings and in Jamie's case, brothels, to seek out any information they can gather and gain the trust of Prince Charlie and his compatriots. Their optimism in their endeavor begins to fade slowly as each experience brings them closer to the seemingly inevitable outcome. They find themselves caught up in the historical inevitability of the facts they know are true while hoping that any small thing they do will change the course they are on.

The first time I read this book I sped through it. I wanted to make sense of what on earth was going on. Why did the story start in 1968? Who is Roger and why do I care? Why is Claire in the modern time and not with Jamie in the 1700's? It was a bewildering beginning and Gabaldon even wrote a preface to reassure the reader to keep will all make sense! Even when I had finished the book I was still confused with dates, timelines, back is an intricate, detailed story and if you are a true Outlander fan, a re-read is a must. By the third go around I'd finally understood everything and all the parts fit together. But even now there are things I have forgotten. At almost 800 pages it is impossible to memorize it all.

In order of enjoyment I rank this book second. Voyager, the third book is my absolute favorite, the first Outlander my third favorite. Dragonfly covers the slow build to Culloden in a thorough way, weaving in fictional characters we've grown to hate, like Black Jack Randall and adding historical ones like Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, the sneaky head of Clan Fraser and a relative of Jamie's. We meet Master Raymond, Claire's friend from the apothecary shop and Mother Hildegarde, her mentor at the Paris hospital where Claire spends her days helping the sick and injured. The major battles of the Jacobites, Prestonpans and Falkirk, are covered in realistic detail, as well as the march toward the biggest battle, Culloden. And we are joined by the Highlanders, who become near and dear to us as their story progresses. Every time I have read it, I notice little details I'd missed before and marvel at how attached I become to the place and time. 

Many people I've talked to or read reviews from about these books complain that they are too long. I get it. The first time I plowed through her books, especially this one, I thought, "this could be shortened by a lot and still tell the same story." I have totally changed my opinion. Later Outlander books I feel this is somewhat true, but after reading Dragonfly three times I've decided that every page has great significance if you are going to understand the rest of the series. So take your time, take notes, and don't rush it. You will be rewarded in the end and even more so if you continue with book three.


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend To Others the Most


If you've read any reviews on this blog or any of my top ten lists, then you probably already know some of the books I'm going to list here. I'm honestly not someone who "recommends" books to others. I find reading is so personal that what I like is often not for others and those who read my reviews on my blog are usually either already looking for the genres I prefer or are open to anything. 

But I will list the ones I'd recommend if someone asked me, "What should I read?" Some are non-fiction, some serious fiction, and some are for pure enjoyment. Hopefully you find one you'd like to try and be sure to share some of yours with me in the comments. Happy Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) and happy reading!

1. William Monk Mysteries by Anne Perry- my favorite Victorian mystery series. Perry passed away last month and now her books will be even more special. I had hoped there would be more but sadly the series has come to an end. 

2. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon- everyone's favorite Scottish based series about time traveling Claire and her husband Jamie Fraser.

3. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis- the timeless classic case for Christ by an exceptionally wise man.

4. Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie- the most thorough, engaging story of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia that I've read. I learned so much about the causes and outcome of the Russian Revolution.

5. Shattered Crowns series by Christina Croft- a great narrative way to learn about the beginnings and subsequent political intrigues surrounding World War I. It centers around all the major aristocratic players and family drama of those involved. 

6. Queens of England series by Jean Plaidy- simple yet informative, Plaidy covers the major queens from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Elizabeth Tudor.

7. Plantagenet series by Sharon Kay Penman- the best historical fiction series covering the Anarchy period to the death of Richard the Lionheart.

8. Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters- starring everyone's favorite crime solving medieval Monk, Brother Cadfael.....each one is unique and intricate with some history thrown in.

9. Animal Farm by George Orwell- I feel everyone should read this satirical take on the dangers of Communism. It is a timeless classic about human nature and the dangers of following the wrong ideas.

10. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer- I included this one because it has always stuck with me through the years....a young man embarks on a journey of self discovery and finds himself in over his head. His story is heartbreaking and you can't help but feel it all right along with him.