Challenge: 10 Books of Summer Wrap Up

10 Books of Summer

Today, 4th September, brings an end to the Books of Summer challenge, hosted by Cathy of 746Books. Many brave people went for 20 books, however I went for the slightly more manageable 10 books.

Here’s the books I managed to read:

  1. The Little Village School by Gervase Phinn – I thought this was a touching and humorous book, which looks into the lives and characters of Barton-in-the-Dale, and a comforting read.
  2. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton – A gripping and immersive historical mystery set in Amsterdam in the 17th century, which I found very hard to prize myself away from.
  3. The Return of the King by J R R Tolkien – A comforting re-read for me of this emotional and action packed adventure. A fitting end to an enchanting series.
  4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth – An emotionally charged and guilt ridden, roller coaster ride. I whipped through this 2nd instalment in the series. Looking forward to reading Allegiant next.
  5. The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley – One of my favourite, comfort read authors. This was another immersive tale for me of love, history, mystery and the lost Ninth Legion.
  6. Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett – Currently enjoying a re-read of this light and humorous parody of Macbeth. Again set in Pratchett’s wonderfully, mad Discworld.

Sadly these are the books I didn’t get round too:

  1. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  2. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  3. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  4. The Martian by Andy Weir

This is my first year taking part and I am pleased with how many books I managed to read. Especially taking into account I read some non-fictions and review copies in between these. Here’s a few, quick meme questions to sum up my reading:

Best: The Return of the King and The Shadowy Horses

Most Recommended-to-Others: The Shadowy Horses

Most Anticipated: The Miniaturist

Most Hilarious: Wyrd Sisters

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable: Insurgent

Most Beautifully Written: The Return of the King

Most Memorable Character: The ever-faithful Samwise Gamgee from The Return of the King, and the hilarious Granny Weatherwax from Wyrd Sisters.

New Series You Discovered: Gervase Phinn’s Barton-in-the-Dale series.

New Authors Discovered: Two new authors, Gervase Phinn and Jessie Burton.

Favourite Cover: The Miniaturist

Did you take part in this event? What was your best read of the summer?

Meme: Tough Traveling – Labourers

Tough Traveling

Nathan, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, runs this weekly meme Tough Traveling, where readers are encouraged to tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week’s topic is LABOURERS

Not everyone can be a Prince.  There is only room for one Queen.  A few spoiled nobles can sit around and play cards.  But fantasyland can’t build its own castles and roads, nor can it plow its own fields, nor cook its meals.  Someone has to do the hard work.  And often, as a reward of course, these labourers get pulled from their hard but simple life into a bigger plan.

Well my fellow bookworms and tough travellers this topic sounds quite innocuous but I really found it quite hard. Here are my picks for this week’s topic:

Harry Potter by J K Rowling – House elves cook, clean and run errands for nice and nasty masters a like. And, excepting Dobby, they do it all so cheerfully!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum – the poor Munchkins, Winged Monkeys, and Winkies are enslaved to the wicked witches of Oz. Forced to farm, serve, guard and fight for the witches, until Dorothy and her friends free them.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale – Princess Ani is betrayed and hoped dead in a foreign land, far from home. Ani is reduced to becoming a servant girl who herds geese. Whilst her usurper courts her intended prince.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini – Eragon and his fellow farmers work hard for little to no profit for themselves. Eragon’s life is to dramatically change, whilst out poaching for some extra food for his family, he discovers a dragon egg.

The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien – Now I’m not asking you to feel sorry for them, but the orcs/goblins are pretty much Sauron’s workhorses. They fight, spy, mine and build. It may not be the most skilled workmanship, but it is fast and cruel work.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – Ella is cursed with the ‘gift’ of obedience by a well-meaning but misguided fairy godmother. Whenever she is asked to do something, she has to do it! This is taken advantage of by her unscrupulous step-sisters.

Can you think of some literary, hard workers? Please let me know if you’re taking part in this week’s topic too.

Goodbye August, Hello September 2015

August 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? August has been an exciting month for me.

I started the month off with a trip to London for Secret Cinema’s epic Star Wars event. I also squeezed in a little sight-seeing whilst there too (see photo above). Then I attended my friend’s wedding. It was a glorious, sunny day, and she was a beautiful bride. I then rounded the month off with my church’s holiday club, Mega Makers. I played one of the main characters that presented the club. It was a tiring but really fun week. It was also amazing to see so many new faces in our church.

While I have been busy in my holiday I have still had plenty of time for adaptations and reading. Here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 5     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

Although slow again I have made progress on my 10 Books of Summer reading this month. Firstly I whipped through the fast paced Insurgent by Veronica Roth; 2nd book in Roth’s dystopian, young adult series. Then I immersed myself in The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley. One of my favourite comfort read authors, and this book didn’t disappoint. Another beautiful tale of love, history and mystery. Plus I have had the Austen in August event. For which I picked up the delightful Mansfield Park, my final Austen novel on my Classics Club list. I really must consider reading Austen’s shorter and/or unfinished works now.

I read all these challenge and event books in the middle of the month. While I started the month off with historical fiction The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien. Which swept me back to 1382 to meet Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt and the sister of the future Henry IV. And I ended the month with another historical fiction The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Alongside these fictions I also read 2 non-fictions. First I read inspiring, Christian memoir Face to Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib and Bodie Thoene. Then I read George Washington another instalment in Mark Black’s A Very Brief History series. Although short I learnt a lot from it about Washington and American history.

Pick of the Month: The Shadowy Horses

That means I have finished 7 books! During the month I also made good progress into Christian non-fiction The Faith of a Mockingbird by Matt Rawle, and I started reading The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle. My result for the last Classic Club spin.

In September I look forward to the start of a new school year, where I am moving up with the children to year 6. Plus of course more good reading.

What did you do and read in August? Any plans for September?

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

R.I.P X Image

(Image used with permission, property of Abigail Larson)

Wow, my fellow bookworms it doesn’t feel 5 seconds since I was saying goodbye to the Once Upon a Time IX event! I seem to have blinked and R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X has arrived! I eagerly await this event each year as it perfectly embodies Autumn reading for me. This year our hosts are Andi and Heather of The Estella Society.

Through Autumn participants are encouraged to read books and watch films that cover the broad categories of Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural.

Books I would like to read off my bookshelf:

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
Drood by Dan Simmons
Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart

Books I would like to read off my Kindle:

Acqua Morta by Adam Bane
Blood on the Bayou D J Donaldson
The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle (currently reading)
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland

There are even more books I could choose, but I couldn’t list them all here! R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X runs from 1st September to 31st October 2015. I have signed up for Peril the First level, which means I am aiming to read 4 books for the event. I am look forward to seeing what I will end up reading.

Are you taking part in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X? What are you hoping to read?

Adaptations: August 2015

Adaptations #2

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adapted films and TV series I watched during August:

Gone Girl (2014)          Not Read     Film     Television
Psychological thriller based on Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel. Nick Dunne becomes the prime suspect and America’s most hated man overnight. When his wife, Amy, goes missing on their 5th wedding anniversary. Wow…this is one twisted story; gripping but also seriously messed up. With great performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. I had to keep watching because I really couldn’t believe what would happen next. And what about that ending?! Great watch (although I don’t think I could put myself through it again).

Ella Enchanted (2004)          Read     Film     Television
Fantasy, family fun, loosely based on Gail Carson Levine’s novel. Ella has been cursed with the ‘gift’ of obedience. With the help of elves, giants, fairies, ogres and a magical book she tries to break the curse and save the prince.  A little cheesy, but a fun and easy watch which cheered me up on a dreary day. With sweet performances from Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy. Okay watch.

The Leftovers (2014)          Not Read     TV Series     Television
New American drama with a science-fiction twist, based on Tom Perrotta’s novel. We join the drama 3 years after a global, ‘Rapture’ like, event which saw 140 million people inexplicably disappear. It is a tense and heart-breaking look at the fall out for those that are left behind. Great ensemble cast; including Christopher Eccleston and Liv Tyler. Good watch.

Another good adaptation month. Although less completed I have been watching some longer TV series. I am now about mid-way through the 3rd series of Hannibal, and I’m near the end of the 2nd series of Penny Dreadful. Plus I squeezed in another re-watch of the delightful film, Pride and Prejudice (2005) a happy coincidence for the Austen in August event. I hope to have plenty more to discuss with you in September. With a few series to finish off and brand new Black Sails and the BBC’s drama The Scandalous Lady W still to begin.

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

New Books: August 2015

New Books - August 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, here’s the goodies I’ve managed to add to my bookshelf and Kindle in August:

The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

The Phoenix and the Carpet by Edith Nesbit

The Story of the Amulet by Edith Nesbit

First I picked up these free classics for my Kindle from Amazon (UK). The Railway Children and Five Children and It are both on my Classics Club list. While I downloaded the other two because they were free, so why not complete Nesbit’s Psammead series?!

The Romanovs by Virginia Cowles

90 Days Through the New Testament by Ron Rhodes

I received these historical and faith non-fictions from Netgalley. These are not authors I have heard of or read before. I was particularly drawn to The Romanovs because last year I loved The Romanov Sisters /Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport, which made me want to read more.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Then I found these two classics in a rummage in a charity shop. I have a feeling I did read The Wind in the Willows as a child, however except for the characters I remember nothing about it. So I popped it on my Classics Club list. While I have read and remember Dracula. It is nice to now have my own copy.

Have you read any of these? What new books are you excited about?

New Read: George Washington

George Washington

In 2013 I collected twenty-one and read six of Mark Black’s A Very Brief History series; while I have enjoyed these I sadly only read one in 2014. I decide to remedy this in 2015. George Washington is my 3rd from this series, this year.

Before reading this I knew George Washington was an American president, and well, that was pretty much it! So while this was only a brief history. I actually found myself learning a lot! Black does discuss a bit of Washington’s education, marriage and plantation. However the bulk of the history was his military and later his political career. His military career began as a British officer in a local militia in the French and Indian War . Later after British laws harmed his business he became the Commander-in-Chief  to the Continental army fighting his former British colleagues in the American Revolution. With his military background you could be forgiven for thinking he would have been an aggressive president. Instead he was keen to keep the newly forming country out of war. Working hard to keep peace with the French, British and Spanish.

I am glad I discovered Mark Black and his A Very Brief History series back in 2013; because I’m not sure I would have picked up a full history of Washington. This was a good, clear and concise introduction for me which is broken down into easy bite-size chapters. On Washington’s family history, education, military career, life outside the army, the American Revolution and war, his time as president, his resignation, and finally his death and funeral. I warn you now though if you already know something of Washington or American history I doubt you will learn anything from this. I recommend to those, like me, who know little to nothing.

George Washington was another quick, easy read for me. I polished a couple of chapters off each night before bed. I have eleven more editions from this series still to go. Okay read.

Have you read any book about George Washington?