Title: The Magician’s Nephew
Author: C. S. Lewis
Published: 1955
Genre: Children’s novels

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

The adventure begins…
On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them.
But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia.
And in Narnia, all things are possible.

Review:

This is the first book in the wonderful Chronicles of Narnia series, written by C. S. Lewis. It is the second time I have read this book as an adult – although I remember having this collection of stories growing up so I must have read them as a child too. My review of this book, from 2008, is here.

I loved this book. We meet Aslan, and we see Narnia created. I was enjoying the story up to that point, but as soon as we met Aslan and he sang Narnia into being, the beginning of the book was basically forgotten for me! It is beautiful. One of my friends said that is her favourite chapter of all time, and it is easy to see why. The magic and the wonder are breath taking.

This series of books is meant for children, but they are wonderful reads. I was drawn in, and transported into those other worlds with ease and enjoyment. Like a lot of people, I know the story of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe really well, and this novel, The Magician’s Nephew, gives us a lot of background information and ties very neatly into the series. It is in this book we learn about The Witch – an evil, angry, proud woman who just wants power and minions; we discover how the lamp post arrives in Narnia; and how the wardrobe becomes the entrance into Narnia.

As when I last read this book, my favourite character is Aslan. He is fierce, yet gentle. He is powerful, yet so caring. When he was talking to Digory, who was sad that his mother was so ill, Aslan was compassionate and kind. The character of Aslan is based on God – our Heavenly Father – and it was an amazing read, and a great reminder of who God is, and what His character is like.

I loved this book. It was an easy read, but so enjoyable. I can’t recommend it enough. The highlight for me was the creation of Narnia – its just a shame that the Witch and Uncle Andrew had to feature at that point! I am rating this book 4 out of 5, and cannot wait to read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

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2015 Reading Number 10 – Matilda by Roald Dahl

Synopsis:

Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

Quick Thoughts
This isn’t the first time I have read Matilda, it was a book I loved as a child, and I am pleased to say I enjoyed it just as much as an adult! The book is fun, a little bit naughty and funny. Roald Dahl sucks you in and you find yourself cheering Matilda on. I remember enjoying the film as a child too, plus a couple of years ago I saw the musical on the West End and loved that too. There is nothing to dislike with this book!

Rating:5 out of 5

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2015 Reading Book 6 – The Legacy by Katharine Webb
Synopsis:

Following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott & her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, where they spent their summer holidays as children. When Erica begins to sort through the house, she relives memories of her childhood – & of her cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart.

Quick Thoughts
This is the second book I have now completed off my Mount Blanc 2015 Reading Challenge! I am really pleased to be on target with that challenge.
I didn’t enjoy this Mount TBR Book as much as I enjoyed Jane Green’s The Patchwork Marriage. That said, this book wasn’t a complete disappointment. I enjoy books which run through two time periods, which this one did. I found however, I preferred the modern day story to the Victorian era story. I did enjoy this book, but it felt like a slow read and I felt a bit flat once I had finished book. I also surprised myself by working out the Henry story line too – I hardly ever work out the mystery so I was quite pleased with myself! This isn’t a bad book, I just didn’t find it as good as novels by someone like Rachel Hore.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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2015 Reading: Book 3 – Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

Synopsis:

Mr. Hoppy is in love with Mrs. Silver, but her heart belongs to Alfie, her pet tortoise. Mr. Hoppy is too shy to approach Mrs. Silver, until one day he comes up with a brilliant idea to win her heart. If Mr. Hoppy’s plan works, Mrs. Silver will certainly fall in love with him. But it’s going to take one hundred and forty tortoises, an ancient spell, and a little bit of magic.

Quick Thoughts:
This is the first book from my Roald Dahl challenge.

I love Roald Dahl books! This book has just been adapted by the BBC for some Christmas viewing, so I decided I needed to read the book before I watched it. It is 50 pages long, but an enjoyable 50 pages. Easy to read, lovely story and I loved the illustrations by Quentin Blake. This is a children’s book, but one I thoroughly enjoyed!

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Addition:Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2014
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

When Uncle Ben’s Dublin business fails, it’s clear to Gloria and Raymond that something is wrong. He just isn’t his usual cheerful self. So when the children overhear their granny saying that the Black Dog has settled on Ben’s back and he won’t be OK until it’s gone, they decide they’re going to get rid of it. Gathering all their courage the children set out on a midnight quest to hunt down the Black Dog and chase it away. But they aren’t the only kids on the mission. Loads of other children are searching for it too, because the Black Dog is hounding lots of Dublin’s adults. Together – and with the help of magical animals, birds and rodents – the children manage to corner the Black Dog …but will they have the courage and cleverness to destroy the frightening creature?

I received this book from Netgalley to give an honest review.

I saw this book on Netgalley and was quite excited about it. However, my first impressions weren’t that good. The first chapter is a couple of dogs having a conversation about the human who lived in the house between their homes. It was a bit odd. I read the first chapter, and seriously considered stopping the book. I decided the following day to try the book again and I did actually enjoy it.

The story follows Gloria and Raymond after their Uncle Ben has had to move in with them as money is an issue for him. They overhear their parents mumbling and realise that the Black Dog of Depression has settled on Uncle Ben’s back. They know immediately what they must do – they must fight the Black Dog. They set off in the night, ready to face the Dog.

I was surprised how entertaining this book was. Like I said, the first chapter put me off but once I read some more, I was hooked. Could they do it? How would they do it? I quite liked the children, but they were not my favourite characters. My favourite was Ernie – a child who has become a vampire because his parents told him he needs to get a job. Most of what he said had me chuckling. I also liked the meerkats and the seagulls. They were very entertaining.

I did enjoy this book. I found myself scooped up into the adventure with the children of Dublin. I did get quite wrapped up in the story and felt like I was running the streets with the children. This was a good book. One thing I did really like about this book is the effect words can have. There was a lot of emphasis on how a positive word can change situations. I know this isn’t a Christian book, but it did remind me of this verse in Proverbs:

A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger. [Proverbs 15:1]

This is a children’s book, but that didn’t put me off. As an adult, I enjoyed this book. I even recommended this book to my Mum for her students at secondary school.

I didn’t like the beginning of this book, but I am pleased I kept reading. The book has an original storyline, there is adventure and suspense, and there are some great characters in this story. I rate this book 3 out of 5 and think older children and young adults will enjoy this book, as well as adults!

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Book number 23 in 2014 was Roddy Doyle’s Brilliant. I received this from Netgalley to review.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this book as I began reading it. I paused after the first chapter as it was dogs having a chat with each other…I am glad I persevered though. This is a children’s book, but a very enjoyable one. The Black Dog of Depression has been roaming round Dublin and the children need to fight him to save their families. I chuckled in places and was intrigued – could the children win and how would they do it? This was a quick read but one I enjoyed.

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Children’s
Published: 2014
Rating: 3 out of 5

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The twentieth book I read in 2014 was Sophie Kinsella‘s Mini Shopaholic. This book was on my Mount TBR Pile as it has been on my Kindle for ages waiting to be read. I have now read 5 out of 12 books in this challenge.

This is number 6 in the Shopaholic series. I had put off reading this book because I was a little bored of this series. I remember starting this book when it was released and thought it was just like the others. I remember being disappointed and not getting far into the book. It has been a few years since then and this time I made it to the end of the book. Yes, it is very similar to the other Shopaholic books, and maybe not a brilliant read, but it was entertaining. I quite enjoyed this book, but I would recommend you don’t read the whole series in one go! I will write more in my review.

Addition: E-book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2010
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Book number 18 in 2014 was Mark Batterson’s Praying Circles Around Your Children. Mark Batterson is the author of the book The Circle Maker, which I have read half of. This shorter book was recommended by one of our church leaders and I am glad we purchased it and have read it.

This book is all about praying for your children. The idea of praying circles is simply praying continually for something. Our little boy is 10 months old and is a joy. But we want more for him than to just be a delight and this book looks at some of things we should praying for our children, how to pray for them and explains why it is so important to be praying for them. I found this book incredibly helpful and challenging, and rate is 5 out of 5.

Addition: E-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Published: 2012
Rating: 5 out of 5

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The seventh book I have read in 2014 is: Michael Morpurgo’s The White Horse of Zennor. I have read a few Morpurgo books now, including War Horse, and have enjoyed them. This book is no different. I wasn’t sure I would like this book as it was short – only 150 pages, and consisted of short stories. I don’t usually like short stories, I find them hard to engage with however this was not the case with this book. It is possible that I found these easier because they are children’s stories but whatever the reason, this was a book I really enjoyed. I liked all the stories and how they were linked together at the end. It only took me a day to read this book and I found myself wanting to keep picking the book up. This was a short, fun, good read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Children’s fiction, short stories
Published: 1985
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The fourth book I have completed this year is another Secret Seven book by Enid Blyton. I am enjoying reading through this series, and am doing well with my Secret Seven Challenge – only 12 books to go!

I enjoyed this story more than Secret Seven Adventure. I found this one had more charm and for me it was a more nostalgic read. In this book, the Secret Seven set out to protect a new friend and his kitten and by doing so solve the mystery of postal vans being robbed. Again, this is a short book – only 120 pages, with large print and illustrations, but a quick and fun read. I love reading these books and being transported back to my childhood. This was another fun and quick read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Children’s; mystery
Published: 1951
Rating: 3 out of 5

A review will follow soon.

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