Reach for the Light


My Top 3 Favourite Book Reviews

These are all book reviews I’ve done on this site, I’ve made a small list of the best for easy access. Enjoy!

Book Review #1: The Circle of Magic Book Series

About the Book Series

The first in my book reviews is the Circle of Magic Book Series. It is a series that is stuck somewhere in between children’s books, and young adult books. However, written by self-proclaimed Author for teens, it is not completely either of them. The genre is fantasy through and through and the writing style is a unique sort of Point-of-view style that really gets you involved into the characters.

The Circle of Magic Book Series has four books, each of the books corresponding to one of the four main characters and being from their viewpoint. The First book is “Sandry’s Book”, next comes “Tris’s Book”, then “Daja’s Book” and finally “Briar’s Book”. The author herself claims that the books are aimed at teens, but personally I feel like they can be read and enjoyed at any age.

Synopsis of The Circle of Magic Book Series

This Synopsis was taken from the authors own site. 

Set in a different universe than Tortall, this quartet centers around four unusual young mages. Sandry, a noble whose parents died recently, has power with thread, from spinning and weaving to simple knot-tying. Daja, a Trader, is the only survivor of a shipwreck in which her family drowned. Declared to be bad luck and banned from life with other Traders, she is free to learn to work metals and, through metal, to work magic. Tris, the merchant’s daughter, is no orphan, but her family doesn’t want her. Briar is a street rat, a thief and convict. Only at the temple city of Winding Circle does he learn that his strange love of growing things is more than a need to garden.

Brought together in a house inside the temple city’s walls, watched over by the mages Lark, Rosethorn, Frostpine, and Niko, the four struggle to be friends, to exercise their magic, and to survive. Each book centers on one of the four, but make no mistake: they are bound tightly together, and the events that affect each of them also strengthen their connections to one another.

The Review

I really liked the Circle of Magic Book Series and I think it is very much underrated. I re-read it recently, so I thought why not review it for my readers? This series may seem like it is only for children, but please do not dismiss it so easily. It is one of the most well-written teen book series I have ever come across; in fact it is so well-written that I feel hesitant to call it a Teen book series at all. Young adult/teen genre books tend to have a negative association for crappy writing, (insert reference to Twilight here). And while, in most cases that is true, these books are masterpieces. They are not as popular as Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series, which I am also a big fan of, but are just as good. Everything, from the world-building, to the themes to the magic system is rich and satisfying in the Circle of Magic Book Series.

Book Review # 2: the Novel “A Kingdom of Dreams”

About the Book Series

“A Kingdom of Dreams” was written by Judith McNaught, published 1989, and I consider it to be one of the best romance novels I have ever read.  I am a fan of Judith McNaught’s work and this to me is one of her finest. Any Girl looking for a solid romance can be reassured that they will adore her writing. Unlike most romantic authors, Judith McNaugt’s heroes and heroines do not appear to be repeated with different names, they actually have personalities.

The romance is thrilling and the problems feel immediate and real. (Well, as real as possible considering it is a Romance novel.) “A Kingdom of Dreams” is the first novel in her Historical romance novel series, “The Westmoreland Saga” which is about the Dukes of Westmoreland (Fictional British Dukes). It is set in 16th century Scotland and England.


This Synopsis was taken from the Goodreads.

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf”; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will… until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web… a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

The Review

My Overall Thoughts

I really liked “A Kingdom of Dreams”, in the romance novel genre, I feel like this is one the best offerings. The characters are interesting without being obnoxious; the setting is captivating, and the storytelling superb. Scotland in the 1500s feels so completely exotic and alluring. The story pulls you in and the romantic interaction between the leads leaves you wanting more. Nothing more you could ask of a romance novel.

Book Review # 3: the Novel “Light A Penny Candle”

About the Book

Light a Penny Candle is a Novel which was written by Maeve Binchy, a prolific Irish author who has written a great many wonderful novels. She has written some my favorite slice of life novels, especially “Circle of Friends” and “Evening Class”. Binchy is a master of making the people and situations feel real, making it extremely easy to sympathize with her characters.

Her style is a unique one which keeps the reader spellbound throughout the prose.  “Light a penny Candle” is actually Binchy’s first published work, and I hadn’t read until just recently. I had been meaning to read it for quite some time, but I just never got around to. Once I did I really needed to voice some of my thoughts about the book.


Maeve Binchy Light a Penny Candle Novel

This Synopsis was taken from the authors own site.

Writing with warmth, wit and great compassion, Maeve Binchy tells a magnificent story of the lives and loves of two women, bound together in a friendship that nothing could tear asunder – not even the man who threatened to come between them forever.

Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, Elizabeth is sent to stay with the O’Connor family. At first she is overcome by the noise and confusion of Ireland, by the extravagant emotionalism of a people quick to anger and swift to forgive. But soon, through the determined friendship of ten-year-old Aisling and the love of Eileen, Elizabeth begins to enjoy life as never before. When she goes back to England after the war this family remains part of her life.

Through twenty years of friendship Aisling O’Connor and Elizabeth White’s paths will cross and re-cross. As they face their loves, their marriages and their disappointments, they come to realise that not all problems will be solved, nor all wishes granted by lighting a penny candle.

The Review

Overall, I liked the novel, however, unlike some of Binchy’s other works, it did not leave a lasting impression on me. Even though it has barely been a week since I read it, the details are slipping away easily and I find myself having to crack it open again and again to fact check. Usually, when a book or movie is entertaining enough, I remember the details for months afterward. Now, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book when I read it, it just means that it’s not necessarily a brilliant book just an ok one. In the end found the novel pleasant but ultimately forgettable.

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