Time for this month's Countdown! What is Countdown? It's a feature I have started in which I pick a topic, genre, country, or subject and list five books that I have read related to that topic or subject. There is a 5 star read (loved it!), a four star read (liked it), a three star read (it was okay but had some issues and I'm not recommending it to 5000 people), a two star read (had a LOT of issues, I struggled with it), and the dreaded one star read (I hated it).
This month, the topic is a setting: Rome. The following are books I have read that occurred in Rome and what I rated them and why.
5 star read:
Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield. First published in 2008. Heroines don't get any tougher than this. Amazing look at ancient Rome from the eyes of a female gladiator. There's love among women, hate, blood, gore, revenge. Would make a superb movie as well. Sequel due out this month.
4 star read:
Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray. First published in 2011. A fictional novel about Cleopatra's daughter, Selene and her young years in Rome growing up in the Emperor's household. There's forbidden romance, politicial intrigue, and religious strife. Heroine was just a tad too passive for my taste, but I understand it's just the beginning.. this is the first in a series. Sequel due out later this year.
3 star read:
Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. First published in 1996. A historical novel about the woman who was pope.. this is much debated, but I believe. This woman passed herself off as a man and became pope. The first half was an intriguing look at her young life. The second half was fully of details about the papacy and war and I grew a bit bored.
2 star read:
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. First published in 2010. Historical novel revolving around two women and a gladiator. Lots of sexual depravity. Seems everybody is doing everybody else. Thea has a strange addiction to cutting herself, Lepida is addicted to sex, Arius just loves to kill people, and the Emperor is just plain demented and perverted.
1 star read:
Den of Wolves by Luke Devenish. First published in 2008. The narrator is over a hundred years old. People are obsessed with breasts and women piss on their husbands. "She raised her long, white stola from the coals and stood astride him, giving him his final view of her privates. Then she let go a hot stream of urine, dousing his face and hair with it until she had put out the last of the embers." EWWWWW.