Not a great reading week…. I was slumping BIG TIME. I did also do a bit of reading for work, which will have to extend into next week too. They are books that aren’t out for months and months yet, so they sadly don’t count for this purpose. Favourite this week was definitely the middle-grade The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome – SO GOOD!
Mask of Shadows – Linsey Miller (3 stars)
I had high hopes for this book! It involves an assassin competition (a trope I adore) and it has a gender-fluid protagonist. While I liked the characters (my favourite was Maud, the sarcastic maid) and the story, it still felt a little bit like I had seen it all before. The storyline itself lacked originality and it vacillated like made in its pacing. Sometimes I was bored witless with the lack of action, at other times it moved so quickly it went over my head. It was still a very interesting story, but it isn’t my favourite in the assassin sub-genre of YA fiction by a long shot.
Spindle Fire – Lexa Hillyer (4 stars)
I hadn’t heard amazing things about this one, so I was surprised at how much I did enjoy it!!! (Maybe it’s all about the expectations. Hehehe!) This is a really intriguing twist on the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Aurora is a beautiful princess with no voice and no sense of touch – these were taken from her as fairy tithes at her christening. Isabelle is her blind half-sister. The girls are best friends. But disaster strikes when the prince from the next kingdom over is killed on his way to marry Aurora for a diplomatic alliance. Then things start getting weird – there is some Fae magic going on; everyone starts falling asleep and it’s up to Isabelle to save her sister. I loved the twists and turns, the many different perspectives of the story, and the very different, original way in which Hillyer retold the classic fairytale.
The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome – Katrina Nannestad (Australian author) (5 stars)
Freja is a gorgeous character! She’s a little girl who has grown up in the Arctic, travelling with her Mum, Clementine, to study animals. And then Clementine gets sick. While she goes to a sanitarium to recuperate, Freja has to move in with Tobias Appleby, a famous writer. She is scared and sad, but determined to make the most of things. Tobias helps Freja to see that her quirks, which make people think her strange, are wonderful and unique. They go on a wacky adventure in Rome which is just a lot of rollicking fun! A highly recommended read from the author of Olive of Groves. I absolutely cannot wait to read the next two in the series and discover who Tobias really is.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling (Narrated by Stephen Fry) (5 stars)
I am absolutely LOVING this reread of Harry Potter through the audio books. I even think I am appreciating them more! The fourth was my second-least favourite (after the fifth), but I just adored the audio version. Imagine how much I might like the fifth! I get really emotional while listening too – I cried a few times…
I also just discovered that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is available on Audible in French and German as well! Maybe this will encourage me to take up my study of these languages again?
What have you been reading this week?