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Children, Reading, Review

October 2022 Reading

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I do a monthly round up for everything we’ve read each month. Himself focuses on science articles and forums and news, so he’s not getting a section – books only!

I think I’ve done well extracting reviews from them this month, especially from large boy.

Large boy

A World Without Princes, The Last Ever After, Quests for Glory, and One True King by Soman Chainani

It’s very good, it follows on from The School for Good and Evil. They’re about two girls, who started off a a graveyard girl and a girl with trouble with her family but she’s very beautiful. There’s a school called the School for Good and Evil, on two sides of a river. The Good one is on one side, shining beautifully. The Evil one is very dark and only has three towers. In the middle, there’s one big tower where the school master lives – he’s the baddy. There used to be two, but the bad one killed his brother and wore a mask so no one would know.

The two girls get kidnapped by the school master because every year there are two new pupils, ones for each of the schools. The girls go to what they think is the wrong school, but really the graveyard girl is good and the beautiful one is evil. The girls make friends and fight over love. The beautiful evil one kisses the school master and becomes slowly possessed by him. In the last three books (he still has to read the penultimate one as he accidently read the last one already, out of order), there’s a false king who nobody knows where he’s come from. They refer to people out of a story called the Lion and the Snake in which the ancient king dies and both the lion and the snake claim the throne. The eagle has to choose who should be kind, he ask them if they become king whether they’ll let him be free. The lion says no and the snake says yet, so the eagle picks the snake. After the snake is crowned, he goes and tries to kill the eagle after freeing him. Then the lion kills the snake and becomes the true king with the eagle at his side.

The graveyard girl’s prince, her true love, is the son of King Arthur (who’s now dead) and he’s the lion. But, the fals king, the snake, uses a fake pen instead of The Storian pen that writes the truth, to make everyone think the graveyard girl and her prince are the bad guys. The beautiful girl is actually a mix of good and evil because she save the graveyard girl many times and pretends to be the snakes true love when she’s actually an imposter for the school.

His favourite bit was right at the end when the prince and the graveyard girl get married and its happily every after etc etc and the beautiful girl’s true love appears.

Also read:

  • Future Ratboy and the Quest for the Missing Thingy by Jim Smith
  • Escape Room by Christopher Edge
  • The Lion Above the Door by Onjali Q. Rauf
  • The GReat Dream Robbery by Greg James
  • Radio Boy by Christian O’Connell
  • Twitch by M.G. Leonard
  • Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick

Small boy

Sea Quest: Repta the Spiked Brute by Adam Blade

Max and Lia and Rivet (the dogbot) are trying to save the planet Nemos from fortress prime – a fortress on Nemos that has put a control chip into a robo-beast. They’re trying to get Iris, a super computer from Max’s pod, to make more robo-beasts and try to conquer the galaxy. It was good, his favourite bit was when they thought Repta was just a massive egg and then the spikes shot out of the shell and it head and flippers came out and it started trying to get Iris back to fortress prime.

Also read:

  • By Bear Grylls
    • The Jungle Challenge
    • The Blizzard Challenge
  • Barry Loser: Worst School Trip Ever by Jim Smith
  • The Curse of the Chocolate Phoenix by Kate Saunders
  • By Sam Hay
    • Goldfish from Beyond the Grave
    • Rise of the Zombie Rabbit
    • Flight of the Battered Budgie
    • Night of the Howling Hound
    • Revenge of the Phantom Furball


Tidelands and Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

How’s that for a bit of a genre change from my usual detective mysteries? I went to the library with the boys, particularly looking for the Bridgerton books. I didn’t find them but came across a Philippa Gregory that I hadn’t read (I’d gone through the whole series of tudor novels way back when). Tidelands came first, and it actually brought a lot of the atmospheric descriptions that I so enjoy in Joy Ellis and J. M. Dalgliesh. The mists and dangers of the shifting coastline and the marshes somehow echo the distrust and disloyalty of the plot. As soon as I’d finished Tidelands I actually bought the sequel on Kindle! Almost unheard of but I do love some holiday series reading. Dark Tides is set 21 years later, and just as full of deception and deserved mistrust. It ended on a bit of a cliff hanger and I can’t wait for Dawnlands to come out – I think that’ll be a library trip again.

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs

Library again. We watched all of the Netflix series a couple of years ago and so I kind of knew that version of the story. However, reading the original Urquart comes across even more conniving and slippery. I’m going to need to read the subsequent books too. The political wrangling, plotting, manipulation and general skull duggery reminds me of the Clive Cusslers that I read 15 years ago. But there’s a coldness, the calculation and unemotional detachment here that is so disquieting.

Add to that, the excellent coincidence that just as Urquart engineered his prime minister’s downfall, our very own Liz Truss resigned after a meagre 44 days in office. It was full on life imitating art!

Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

Yep, definitely library for the win this month! Another TV series that we watched and loved that I went back to read the book for. The largely linear story is a contrast to the TV series which jumped about with Villanelle/Oxana’s past and present. I fear my impressions from the TV very much coloured the way I imagined the characters as I read the book. Eve is Sandra Oh, I can’t escape it. I was really pleased to feel how closely the TV series had respected the book though, so many of the details felt familiar. I’m not sure if I would feel that way if I’d read the book first and then seen the TV version.

Anyway, for a thriller with plenty of suspense and engaging goodies and baddies, I’d definitely recommend.

How about you?

What books have you and your family enjoyed lately?

Love from Smell xxx

12 thoughts on “October 2022 Reading”

  1. The three of you got through quite a few books in October. I really enjoyed hearing what you all thought of the books you read. The Phillipa Gregory books sound great, I’ve read a few of her books, and as far as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That first book sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? “The beautiful evil one kisses the school master and becomes slowly possessed by him”. Pretty sure that’s sexual misconduct and a sackable offence! 😂

    I’ve never watched House Of Cards, and I never realised there were books either. I think I watched the first half hour of the first episode and couldn’t get into it, which was probably just me at the time as I’ve got real problems with concentration in recent years. Might be time to have another look. Hope you enjoy the books if you do read the whole series! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, large boy loved that series. I think he paraphrased 5 books into a few paragraphs, and it’s hopefully less sinister than it sounds. Although, if the schoolmaster really was that twisted, it’s presumably a good thing that large boy recognises the inappropriateness.


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