Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category


December 27, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Twas a few days after Christmas that I decide to post something to commemorate my eighth anniversary (which was on December 19).

Can I use the pandemic as an excuse that I forgot The Novel Hermit’s Eighth blogoversary?

Because it’s been a tough year for me. I wasn’t as productive as I hoped I be with most of my focuses going into other parts in my life.

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October 12, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik • September 29, 2020 • Del Rey Books
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Uprooted and Spinning Silver comes the story of an unwilling dark sorceress who is destined to rewrite the rules of magic.

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.

I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.

At least, that’s what the world expects me to do. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school itself certainly does.

But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either.

Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a heroine for the ages—a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.


First sentence: “I decided that Orion needed to die after the second time he saved my life.”

Imagine yourself going to a magic school where there are no teachers and the school is actively trying to kill you. That’s the Scholomance.

Your main goal is to survive until graduation, lest you be food for all the creepy monsters that lurk in the underbelly of the school, picking off unknowing students who don’t have anybody to watch their back in the cafeteria or in the staircase. There’s no teachers, and you learn your magic—whether it’s on the Alchemist track or the language track or wherever—on your own with constant threats to your life if you’re not careful. That sounds intriguing, right?

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October 5, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce • October 6, 2020 • Algonquin Young Readers
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Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle has a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science. Armed with her father’s law books and her mum’s microscope, Myrtle studies toxicology, keeps abreast of the latest developments in crime scene analysis, and Observes her neighbors in the quiet village of Swinburne, England.

When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy spinster and eccentric breeder of rare flowers, dies under Mysterious Circumstances, Myrtle seizes her chance. With her unflappable governess, Miss Ada Judson, by her side, Myrtle takes it upon herself to prove Miss Wodehouse was murdered and find the killer, even if nobody else believes her — not even her father, the town prosecutor.


I received this book for free from Algonquin Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “‘Correct me if I’m wrong.’ My governess, Miss Judson, strolled into the schoolroom, her sharp bootheels clicking like a telegraph.”

Move over Sherlock Holmes, there’s a new detective in town! Twelve-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle is making a run for his money, and she will not let any stones be unturned until she gets to the truth behind the murder! And the the murder she’s investigating? Well, it’s her wealthy elderly neighbor—Miss Wodehouse—who supposedly died in the bath. Did she though, or was there a sinister reason for her death?

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September 17, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke • September 15, 2020 • Bloomsbury
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Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.


First sentence: “When the Moon rose in the Third Northern Hall I went to the Ninth Vestibule to witness the joining of three Tides.”

Beware: Don’t read too much about the world of Piranesi. You’ll want to go into this blind because it’s a wonderful journey full of magic and beauty about a weird majestic House with endless wonders. (This goes without saying, don’t expect another Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.)

Piranesi is a hard book to describe, if only because anything I want to say about this book feels like a spoiler that readers need to unveil themselves. How can people even understand the breathtaking magic you find in the House with its infinite Halls and Vestibules with marble statues and the waves crashing around like you’re near the seaside?

There’s something very dreamlike about this world that Susanna Clarke created. This surreal house has a way of hypnotizing you with its beauty. It’s no wonder Piranesi falls. 

(If you haven’t read Piranesi, stop reading this and read the book now if you want a weird, dream-like story!!!)

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March 14, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Normal People by Sally Rooney • April 16, 2019 • Hogarth Press
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At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.!


First sentence: “Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell.”

It’s a bad sign when you start a book—that everybody you knew was raving about how “dark and gritty” and “psychological” it is—and come out of the first few pages knowing that you won’t like this book and no matter how much you push yourself into reading more, it won’t change your mind. Normal People is that book.

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February 26, 2020 • Cee • Reviews

Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise • March 10, 2019 •  Algonquin Young Readers
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Is the sweet town of Appleton ripe for scandal?

Consider the facts:

  • Appleton Elementary School has a new librarian named Rita B. Danjerous. (Say it fast.)
  • Principal Noah Memree barely remembers hiring her.
  • Ten-year-old Reid Durr is staying up way too late reading a book from Ms. Danjerous’s controversial “green dot” collection.
  • The new school board president has mandated a student dress code that includes white gloves and bow ties available only at her shop.

Sound strange? Fret not. Appleton’s fifth-grade sleuths are following the money, embracing the punny, and determined to the get to the funniest, most rotten core of their town’s juiciest scandal. Don’t miss this seedy saga!


I received this book for free from Algonquin Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: Welcome to Appleton, Illinois. Home of the GIant Red Apples. Population: 800 713 620 479 198 83

The sweet town of Appleton has been thrown off its apple crate by a new librarian by the name of Rita B. Danjerous! Rita has quickly become a beloved member of the community bringing amazing books to the students at Appleton’s Elementary School, yet despised by Ivana Beprawpa, the new school board president, for going against the “manners and morals” she desperately want to bring back.

How does this clash of personalities and priorities affect this sweet as apple pie town?

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