June Book Round-Up

I seem to be firing through the books lately! Trips to the library have furnished me with some excellent young adult fare (I choose from the children’s library because that’s here I take Xander to choose his books – he checks out the toddlers’ section and I browse the young adult and teen fiction shelves – we both have a wonderful time!). I’ve been continuing with several series and will be getting hold of more of them to read too…

RATINGS:
Like a Star @ heaven Dire – don’t waste your time
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven OK, but nothing to write home about
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven Very good – worth a read
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven Excellent
Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven Superb – read it immediately!

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BOOKS FINISHED:
33. Julia Golding – The Diamond of Drury Lane Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
The Diamond of Drury Lane
is a young adult novel, but it’s a very good one. It’s dramatic, exciting and atmospheric – it really captures the flavour of life backstage which may have changed a little since the Regency period during which this novel has set, but from my own experiences, both front and backstage, I can tell you, I don’t think things have changed all that much, and all the grease paint and sweat and relationships forged there are present and correct here.

34. Alex Scarrow – TimeRiders (TimeRiders 1) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
I’m a huge fan of Simon Scarrow, and I’d been meaning to give his brother, Alex, a try for ages. Well, I finally did and I wasn’t disappointed! I don’t read an awful lot of sci-fi, especially if it features time travel, because I very easily get frustrated when authors ignore time paradox (honestly, I find it absolutely maddening!), but Scarrow handles it well and the fact that both the characters and plot are well-written and exciting helps a great deal! If you’re into sci-fi and time travel, don’t let the fact that this is from the teen/young adult section put you off – it’s well worth picking up!

35. Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell – Return of the Emerald Skull (Barnaby Grimes 2) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
When it comes to tales that will grab youngsters and really keep them gripped to the end, you’d be hard pushed to find another writer/illustrator team that can match up to these guys. Return of the Emerald Skull is dark and dangerous and just gruesome enough to appeal to young lads!

36. Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell – Legion of the Dead (Barnaby Grimes 3) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
The third installment of the Barnaby Grimes series is every bit as enthralling as the first two. They keep getting darker as Barnaby is thrust into yet more thrilling adventures. I’ll definitely be getting hold of the last in the series…

37. Simon Scarrow – The Legion (Romans 10) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Although this is the tenth novel in the series, it’s still as fresh and exciting as the first. Scarrow manages to keep the plots and characters cranked right up, and the tension of life in the Roman military is brought sharply to life by an absolute master of historical fiction.

38. Julia Golding – Cat Among the Pigeons (Cat Royal 2) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Julia Golding isn’t afraid to tackle big themes, even though they’re aimed at a younger audience. In The Diamond of Drury Lane, the story revolved around political activism and freedom of speech; this time it’s slavery. Golding never condescends to her audience and she handles her subject matter with great skill. The characters and situations are all wonderful and incredibly real.

39. Malinda Lo – Ash Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Ash is an enchanting and unusual retelling of the Cinderella story. It’s at once haunting and achingly beautiful, Malinda Lo has captured the well-known fairytale and transformed it into something completely original and surprising. The characters w all know and love from Cinderella are all present and correct, but there are some changes that mean you won’t expect all that will unfold.

40. Philip Pullman – The Shadow in the North (Sally Lockhart 2) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
I didn’t enjoy this second Sally Lockhart book quite as much as the first one, but it was still good enough for me to want to continue with the series. Sally isn’t a particularly likeable character, but she softens a little during the course of this novel and I’ll be interested to see where things go from here.

41. G.P. Taylor – Mariah Mundi and the Ghost Diamonds (Mariah Mundy 2) Like a Star @ heavenLike a Star @ heaven
Having read the first in this series last year, and finding it rather average, I thought I’d give the series a second chance. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this installment any better. The plot seems to be all over the place and as a result, the pace is fragmented. I also remain unenamored of the characters and unimpressed by Taylor’s writing style. So, after a second try, I think I’ll steer clear of the rest of this series and also other works by the author – they’re just not for me.

BOOKS STARTED (carrying over to July):
Maria V. Snyder – Magic Study (Study 2)

I read the first book, Poison Study, two years ago after buying it on impulse when I saw it for £1 in a shop. It turned out to be a very good read, so I’m continuing with yet another series in the hopes that it will be another one I enjoy!

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter 1) (Re-read)
This is a re-read for me and I’m reading it right now purely because Xander picked it up and asked me to read it to him. For one so young, he certainly appreciates a good story, so I’ll continue to read it to him (it may take some time) and, depending on how he enjoys it, may well continue with the rest of the series. He’s a little young for it really, but he enjoys hearing me read aloud to him and I’m not going to tell him “no” when he requests I read a children’s book to him!

PRIORITY FOR JULY:
Barbara Ewing – The Mesmerist
I picked this one up for £1 in Asda (I’m a sucker for a bargain!)  and loved the cover, so it found its way into the shopping trolley. Well, can you blame me? I figured this will bridge the gap till I can get to the library again and get the next in the several series I’m currently reading…

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