Monthly Reflection: August 2014

August 2014

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are happy and well? August has been a very different month for me. The start of the month saw me setting off for a lovely two week holiday in France. I got to stay and visit some beautiful and historic places. The holiday didn’t leave me with a great amount of time for reading but the time I did have I devoted to longer fictions. I returned from my holiday to find my certificate for my course had arrived, I’m official passed, and my contract for my new job at a school just down the road had arrived too! With all that excitement here is what I managed to finish reading:

Fiction: 3          Non-Fiction: 0          Poetry: 0

My free time in the first week of my holiday in France was spent reading Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law by Michelle Granas* a fictional drama set in Warsaw, Poland; which I thought would be something a little different for me. A well written drama with an interesting political context. I was happily entertained reading this book for about a week. The characters, story and setting were pleasantly refreshing. Meanwhile for the whole holiday I continued dipping in and out  of the epic collection Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales* and by the end of holiday I had finished it! My 24th read off my Classics Club list. I started this collection back in February and by the beginning of my holiday I had read 60% meaning I read an impressive 40% during those two weeks which I am pretty pleased by. The short story format and the fairy tale theme seemed to suit the time I had spare when travelling or relaxing in the sun. After finishing Zaremba whilst still in France I was drawn very appropriately to the French classic The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas*. My 25th read off my Classics Club list. A sweeping romantic adventure following D’Artagnan and his friends during the reign of Louis XIII that I had trouble putting down and I thought was a perfect read for my second week of my French holiday. By the end of my holiday I was half way through The Three Musketeers and I finished it after having been home about a week which was quite nice as it prolonged that holiday feeling for me. It also means I am now officially half way to my goal of 50 books for The Classics Club.

During the month I also finished one non-fiction book which is good for my goal of continuing to read more non-fiction in 2014. At the beginning of my holiday I picked up Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge* a Christian/faith non-fiction that looks at how women can reach their full potential in Jesus. I dipped in and out of this during my holiday but really got into once I had returned home and finished it off during the last week of August.

Pick of the Month: The Three Musketeers

And those are just the books I finished during August. It feels very odd not to be telling you “I was dipping in and out  of the epic collection Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales” but of course I’ve finished it! Once home to replace this I picked up Once Upon a Timepiece by Starr Wood a novel told through short stories looking at how one watch affects the lives of different people who possess it. It is different and I am enjoying it so far. I have continued to dip in and out of historical non-fiction The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport during the month. Not something I want to rush as there is a lot of information I didn’t know before to take in. Then right at the end of the month I started Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrim by Toby Clements a novel set during The War of the Roses but I don’t think I have read enough of it to comment on it just yet.

What did you read in August?

*My full thoughts on these books are still to be posted.

Challenge: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX

RIP IX

(Art used for banners is the property of Abigail Larson)

Summer is drawing to an end and Autumn is creeping up on us which can only mean it is time for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX. The R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event is hosted by  Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings where participants are encouraged to read books and watch films that cover the broad categories of Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural. I always look forward to this event as the genres listed above are some of my favourites!

Books I could choose off my bookshelf:

Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead edited by Christopher Golden
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (All Souls trilogy)
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (All Souls trilogy)
Just After Sunset by Stephen King
Thinner by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King
Demon Seed by Dean Koontz
Drood by Dan Simmons
Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart
The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart

Books I could choose off my Kindle:

The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle
His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Trouble in Mudbug by Jana Deleon (Ghost-in-Law Mystery)
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Dead Ends by Mel Hodgkinson
Call for the Dead by John Le Carré
Invisible by Lorena McCourtney (Ivy Malone Mystery)
The Mist on Bronte Moor by Aviva Orr
A Body in the Backyard by Elizabeth Spann Craig (A Myrtle Clover Mystery)
A Dyeing Shame by Elizabeth Spann Craig (A Myrtle Clover Mystery)
Progressive Dinner Deadly by Elizabeth Spann Craig (A Myrtle Clover Mystery)

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX runs from 1st September to 31st October 2014. I have signed up for Peril the Third level which means I am aiming to read at least one book for the event. I usually end up reading more than one book but I like the freedom this level gives me. I am look forward to seeing what I will end up reading.

Are you taking part in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX?

The Classics Club: August Meme

August Meme

August brings another meme question for The Classics Club. With me being busy in July getting my portfolio ready for college and then going on holiday I missed July’s question. I am really glad I am back home just in time to do this month’s question as it is perfect for me!

I absolutely love adaptations. I know this can sometimes be a controversial subject with book lovers but not for me. I think my real love of them came from my time studying performance at university. There I became fascinated with taking a story and telling it through a different medium; whether that be book, film, TV, or on the stage.

If you visit this blog regularly you will know I do a round-up post of the adaptations I’ve been watching every month. Adaptations of classic novels often feature in these posts as they can often be some of my favourite adaptations. I love to see the beautiful costumes and sets come to life on the big and small screen, and sometimes on the stage. I think it is nice to have read the novel before watching the adaptation but I don’t worry about it if I haven’t read the book yet I will still be happy to watch the adaptation. Often adaptations of classics can encourage me and I am sure others to read classic novels they had not considered reading before; either because they seemed daunting or simply because we had not heard of them before.

Some of my favourite film adaptations of classics include the beautiful Sense and Sensibility (1995) starring the wonderful Emma Thompson, the colourful and hilarious Much Ado About Nothing (1993) also starring the wonderful Emma Thompson, Baz Luhrmann’s stunning modern interpretation Romeo + Juliet (1996) starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Alfred Hitchcock’s gothic Rebecca (1940) starring the legendary Laurence Olivier. There are many more I have enjoyed but these are the one’s that instantly came to mind.

I have also watched many TV adaptations of classics some of my favourites include the BBC’s gothic mini-series Bleak House (2005) starring Gillian Anderson and a great ensemble cast, the BBC’s beautiful and colourful mini-series Emma (2009) starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller, ITV’s long running adaptations of Poirot starring the legendary David Suchet, and the BBC’s modern interpretation series Sherlock (2010-2014) starring the great partnership of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Again there are probably many more I have enjoyed but these are the one’s that instantly came to mind.

What are your favourite adaptations of classics?

New Read: 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience

7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience

I am a relatively new Christian having come to faith in my late teens. Now in my twenties I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and to hear what other Christians have to say. I like always having a piece of faith non-fiction on the go so after I finished reading Overwhelmed by Perry Noble I was keen to pick something else. I browsed my Kindle’s to-be-read folder and chose 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience by Stormie Omartian as I enjoyed another of Omartian’s work at the beginning of the year.

In 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience Omartian shares elements that Christians can use to make themselves a strong and successful prayer warriors. These elements include wearing the whole armour of God, girding our waists with truth, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, and using the sword of the spirit (word of God) and the Gospel of Peace. Omartian discusses how these elements can help our prayer, how we can use them, and how they will help strengthen our faith and change our lives. Each element is given its own chapter and ending prayer which gives you seven chapters and prayers to read. I found it very useful and nice to follow this pattern by reading a chapter and prayer a day giving me time to reflect and act on what I’d read before reading this next.

Stormie Omartian was a new author for me at the beginning of this year but this is now the second work of her’s I have read this year. 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience was a free experience from Amazon which is based on information from Omartian’s full book Prayer Warrior. For this reason I wasn’t surprised to find this was a very different read for me from The Power of a Praying Woman which I read previously. I thought 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience was well-written, short and concise. Each chapter was a short and easy read, and I really enjoyed the specific prayers at the end of each chapter. Though this wasn’t as detailed as my previous Omartian read I did really appreciate the time to think this work gave me. The short seven chapters and prayers concept I think could work really well for anyone who is in a small church group. I am in one myself and I think 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience would be great to share with them, using a different element each week. I was really well supplied with new Christian non-fiction in 2013 and it appears that this is continuing this year too. I look forward to seeing what I discover next.

7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience is a concise and easy but thought provoking look at how we can all become prayer warriors. I recommend for individuals or groups interested in enhancing their faith and prayer time.

Have you read Omartian? Any recommendations?

New Read: A Storm of Swords book 1

A Storm of Swords book 1

I was ever so lucky to be gifted with a full set (to-date) of the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin last Christmas. I had not long finished watching the fourth series of the blockbuster TV adaptation Game of Thrones when at the beginning of July I reached for A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow; the third instalment in Martin’s epic series.

A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow is the third instalment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The next two paragraphs will contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

A Storm of Swords: 1 returns us to the action of The Seven Kingdoms to find them still in chaos with bloody war raging across the land. King Robert’s heir apparent Joffrey is still upon The Iron Throne but the kingdoms are filled with terrible rumours that he is not actually Robert’s. That instead he is the product of his mother’s incest. This has led to the rise of other claimants to the throne. Both Robert’s brothers Stannis and Renly laid claim to the throne and in their struggle for it Renly has been killed in mysteriously; dark magic is being whispered among the people. This leaves Joffrey with one less enemy and the opportunity to betroth himself to Renly’s beautiful young widow Margery Tyrell. This is a popular move among the people leaving Stannis and his new religion less popular than ever yet Stannis is still a threat. There is also Robb Stark, King of the North, the eldest son of Lord Eddard Stark who seeks justice for his land and family. Then across the sea Daenarys Targaryen the only remaining descendant of the Targaryen Dragon Lords still has her eyes upon the throne too. Meanwhile unbeknownst to them all evil is stirring beyond The Wall and there isn’t enough Brothers of the Night Watch left to hold it back much longer. Winter is coming. Oh that phrase continues to send a shiver down my spine! A Storm of Swords: 1 was another action and intrigued packed adventure which I needed my wits about me to keep up with. There is still a lot going on in this series and I could hardly be parted with this instalment because I couldn’t wait to find out more.

The adventure of A Storm of Swords: 1 is peopled with a whole host of interesting characters too.  So many I couldn’t possibly discuss them all here so instead I am going to focus on the four remaining protagonists vying for The Iron Throne. First of course we Joffrey the apparent heir to King Robert and his wife Cersei Lannister. Joffrey is beautiful, cruel, and vain. I can’t say there is any winning feature about him. He really is a character you love to hate. Next we have Stannis Baratheon the brother of King Robert. Stannis is proud, loyal, fair, but not the most charismatic of characters unlike both of his brothers. After his defeat at the Black Water and the mysterious murder of his popular brother Renly; Stannis is more unpopular than ever. Then we have Robb Stark son of murdered Eddard Stark. Robb is young, clever, brave, and yet humble. Unlike those named above he did not set out to be a King it was his men that proclaimed him King of the North because of their love for him. Robb and his men are causing a lot of trouble to Joffrey and the Lannisters which I love. Finally over the sea we have Daenarys Targaryen the only remaining heir of the Targaryen Dragon Lords who were banished by King Robert. Daenarys is the only female claimant. She is young, beautiful, and ambition yet she is kind and fair with it. Of all the claimants the only two I still truly like are Robb and Daenarys. Actually Daenarys is still one of my favourite characters since the first book. Even though the four remaining claimants are all fascinating to read about.

While I have watched the television series, A Storm of Swords: 1 the book is new for me. What put me off reading this series for some time now has been the sheer length of these books. A Storm of Swords book 1 is just under 600 pages so is actually the smallest instalment I have read so far but to me that is still a pretty long book!My fear has always been that the stories would be slow and drag but no fear on that count has been needed. I couldn’t put this book down and had the reached the end before I knew it. Like the previous instalments A Storm of Swords: 1 is jam-packed with action, adventure, intrigue, love, war, lies, fighting, secrets, and shocks! Martin’s writing is detailed and compelling, and love his choice to break these books up into bite-size chapters shown through the eyes of different characters. As a reader I find myself completely immersed in the Seven Kingdoms as I get to explore different cities, castles, and lands from the view-point of the different characters. There are a lot of names, places, and events to remember in this series but I didn’t find it that hard to keep track especially as there is maps and a fantastic appendix to help.

A Storm of Swords: 1 is an excellent epic fantasy adventure. I highly recommend to those who enjoy fantasy and historical literature. This series does contain sexual and violent content so not recommended for younger readers. I am eager to start reading the next instalment A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold. I may have to hold off for a bit though to make the long wait for the start of the fifth series of the blockbuster TV adaptation Game of Thrones next year.

Are you reading this series? Are you watching the TV series?

Previous instalments of A Song of Ice and Fire series:
1. A Game of Thrones
2. A Clash of Kings

A Bookworm’s Adventures in France

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are well? I am now back off my two week holiday to France and I am happy to tell you I had a lovely time. Had some pleasant weather, had some great time with my family, fitted in some reading and had some wonderful adventures. Here are some the places I visited:

French Adventures #1

Laguiole, Midi-Pyrénées

French Adventures #2

Belcastel, Midi-Pyrénées

French Adventures #3

Lac d’Annecy, Haute-Savoie

French Adventures #4

Château de Menthon, Lac d’Annecy, Haute-Savoie

French Adventures #5

Old Annecy town, Lac d’Annecy, Haute-Savoie

As you can see I have been able to visit some very beautiful and historic places. I hope you have enjoyed my photos of some of these places. While away I went completely blog free and must admit I enjoyed the break but now I am back in the UK I am looking forward to catching up with your blogs and sharing with you the books I’ve been reading.

Have you been any of these places? Where did you go for your last holiday?

Bookworm Holiday

Summer Holiday

Hello my fellow bookworms this is just a quick post to let you know I am currently away for two weeks on holiday in France. I want to give myself the time to truly relax with my family and some good books so I’ve decided to give blogging a break while I am away. It will be quiet on The Bookworm Chronicles until I return; although I will hopefully return with plenty of books and adventures to tell you all about. I am sorry this will also mean I won’t be on your blogs for a while too but I will endeavour to catch up on all your interesting posts (let me know if there is anything you’d really like me to see).

I hope you all have a lovely Summer and holidays wherever you are in the world. I look forward to speaking and sharing with you all again soon.