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.

New Read: Sisters of Treason

Sisters of Treason

After a busy June and first half of July I was so very grateful when my college course finished, the schools broke up for the Summer holiday and the sun came out. Finding myself with glorious weather and time on my hands half way through July I decided to throw myself into the political and power intrigues of the Tudor period in Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle.

In Sisters of Treason we join the infamous Grey family during the Tudor period. The young Jane Grey has been overthrown from the English throne by her cousin Mary Tudor after the death of King Edward VI which left the succession in doubt. Poor Jane is put death along with her husband Guilford Dudley and her power hungry father leaving her mother Frances and two younger sisters Katherine and Mary to the mercy of the new Queen Mary and her re-instated Catholic regime. Frances is able to remarry and as a favourite cousin of Queen Mary is allowed to live away from court but Katherine and Mary are not to be so fortunate. Katherine is now the Grey heir and with her looks and royal blood she could become the figure head for the Protestant rebels during Queen Mary’s reign and for the Catholic rebels during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. For which she is kept close at court under suspicion during both Queens’s reigns. Then there is the youngest Mary who is small with a crooked spine who is not seen as much as a threat because who would wish to marry her and it is believed she wouldn’t be able to bear a child but her traitor’s blood still keeps her at court for most of her life. While Katherine and Mary are two very different young women they will both find themselves on the wrong side of Queen Elizabeth I as they seek the lives and loves they so yearn for.

The narration of Sisters of Treason is told from three perspectives. There is Katherine (as spelt in this novel) Grey a beautiful and spirited young woman who is less worried about the monarch or religion but longs only for love and marriage. While I found Katherine’s motive innocent I think she is often selfish and rather naïve to individuals and the dangers around her. Then we have her younger sister Mary Grey while she might be small with a crooked spine Mary is intelligent, witty and loving. I really liked Mary she certainly wasn’t perfect but I always felt she tried her hardest and thought of others with her only wish being to live a quiet life away from court; which doesn’t seem that much to ask really. I did sympathise with both sisters plights though as it was other people’s actions which has left them tainted with treason no matter what they do. The third narrator is Levina Teerlinc a Flemish artist who makes miniatures for the royal court. In this novel Levina is a close friend with Frances Grey and is often like an Aunt to the young Grey sisters. I liked reading about a woman with a career and artisan skills in the Tudor period. Levina also gives a perspective from someone outside of royalty and the aristocracy which I thought gave a good balance to the story.

I had heard of Elizabeth Fremantle before but Sisters of Treason is the first novel I have read by her. After reading positive reviews of Fremantle’s debut novel Queen’s Gambit I snapped up the opportunity to read her second novel Sisters of Treason. I thought Fremantle’s writing style was detailed and easy to read with the story flowing really well and smooth transitions between the three narrators. The action and tense of the story is firmly set in the present which means that tension can be built about the retribution for the sisters acts even though if you know anything of English history you already know what is going to happen. Last year I read a couple of short histories that looked at the three Grey sisters and yet I was so drawn into this story I didn’t find myself thinking back to the facts but waiting instead for the novel to unfold the story. After finishing Sisters of Treason I realised how little I thought about the actual feelings or personalities of the Grey sisters when reading those short histories. Even though this was fictional it really did help me to think of these young women as really people. Fremantle has obviously filled in some historical gaps and fictionalised events and people in this novel which I thought she did really well. I totally believed in her characters and the Tudor world she created with her words. At the end of the novel Fremantle also references the real historical characters, events and facts she took inspiration from.

Sisters of Treason is a well written and fascinating look into the intrigues and lives of those living under the shadow of treason in the Tudor period.  I highly recommend to those interested in historical fiction and English history. I would really like to read more by Elizabeth Fremantle.

Thank you to Penguin Books (UK) for providing a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or anything else by Elizabeth Fremantle?

Monthly Reflection: July 2014

July 2014

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are happy and well? July started as a busy month for me but then I handed in my college portfolio and did my review the first week which was a huge relief. Then I was busy for another week after that finishing off the term with my placement school and sorting out my car MOT, insurance and breakdown cover; but after that I found myself with whole lot of time on my hands which is a real novelty for me! So I decided to spend the second half of July catching up on my sleep, reading and blogging. Here is what I managed to finish in that time:

Fiction: 4          Non-Fiction: 2          Poetry: 0

Right at the beginning of the month I finished reading A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard which I had started reading in June but I was so busy I had less time to throw myself into till July. I don’t generally read a great deal of chick lit or women’s literature but I make an exception for Gillard’s work. I just love all the detail and history Gillard puts into her family dramas which is topped off with a beautiful writing style and A Lifetime Burning was no exception to that. Next I went for a completely different choice; picking up the fantasy comedy The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett the first book in Pratchett’s epic Discworld series. This was a re-read for me as I originally read The Colour of Magic many years ago now. I loved going back to where it all began giving myself the chance to hear well loved jokes again and to spot some extra detail which meant I found my re-read just as enjoyable if not more so.

Next with the free time I now found myself with I decided to throw myself into the intrigue of the Tudor court with Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle*. I heard positive things about Fremantle from other bloggers but this is the first novel I have read by her. Sisters of Treason was a moving, detailed and well written look into the lives of Katherine and Mary Grey. I was lost in the glamour, intrigue and fear of it all right to the end. Still having plenty of time on my hands I decided to throw myself into A Storm of Swords book 1 by George R R Martin* the third instalment of Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. I finished watching the fourth series of the TV adaptation Game of Thrones in June. The wait for the fifth series next year will be just too long so reading this helped me to get my fix of Westeros and give me lots of extra detail, characters and intrigue.

During the month I also finished two non-fiction book which is good for my goal of continuing to read more non-fiction in 2014. In June I started reading Overwhelmed by Perry Noble a Christian/faith non-fiction which again with that month being so busy I didn’t finish till July. I was drawn to Overwhelmed because I was myself feeling rather overwhelmed with all the college work I was doing. A friendly and concise look at how God supports us through stressful and worrying times which I got some real comfort from. Then near the end of the month I picked up The 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience by Stormie Omartian* another Christian/faith non-fiction which is exactly what it says in the title. A short and simple look at seven themes over seven days that we can use in our prayer to make us stronger humans and Christians. This is the second book I have read by Omartian this year and I have another, Choose Love, on my Kindle which I am really looking forward to reading too.

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

Picks of the Month: A Lifetime Burning and Sisters of Treason

And those are just the books I finished during July. Through out the month I have continued to dip in and out of the epic collection Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales for which this month I’ve made good progress but still a long way to go! I have also been dipping in and out of historical non-fiction The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. Near the end of the month I started reading Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law by Michelle Granas a fictional drama set in Warsaw, Poland; something a little different for me but I am enjoying it so far.

What did you read in July?