Book Tag: My Life in Books

My Life in Books

Hello my fellow bookworms time for a fun tag which the lovely Maren of The Worn Bookmark tagged everyone in. All my answers are chosen from books off my bookshelf.

1) Find a book for each of your initials.

  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

2) Count your age along your bookshelf.  Which book is it? (My shelves are in no particular order so I’ve counted along as best I could)

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

3) Pick a book set in your city/county/country.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (England).

4) Pick a book that represents a destination you would love to travel to.

Inferno by Dan Brown (Florence, Venice and Istanbul).

5) Pick a book that’s your favourite colour.

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart (purple).

6) Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien.

7) Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.

8) Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment when you finish it.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (it’s huge! and will end The Mortal Instruments series).

I tag all bookworms out there who fancy giving this a go. I would love to read your answers to these questions.

New Read: What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?

Whats So Great About the Doctrines of Grace

Mid-way through September I found my anxiety heightened; probably from a combination of darker weather, illness and a change in routine. I sought comfort in What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? by Richard D Phillips.

In six short chapters the Reverend Richard D Phillips explains the doctrines of grace; also known as the five points of Calvinism. These are Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints (TULIP). This is not really what I thought this book would be about, as Calvinism is not something I have heard or read anything about before. However I found this to be a good, short introduction to Calvinism and the theology.

I went into this book looking for comfort and inspiration. I did find some inspiration but less comfort. At first the terminology, i.e. total depravity and unconditional election, seemed a little daunting, and the book is heavy on theology. I think Phillips described the doctrines of grace really well but often cross referenced other theology I knew nothing about. I found the theology interesting yet it wasn’t as relatable as other Christian non-fiction I have read this year; which had more anecdotes and personal experience in them.

What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? was a quick and interesting read for me. If you are looking for a clear and concise explanation of the Doctrines of Grace/the five points of Calvinism this could be good for you. Not quite what I was looking for. Okay read.

Have you read this? Have you read about the Doctrines of Grace?

Meme: Tough Travelling – Roads

Tough Travelling

Nathan, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, runs this weekly meme Tough Travelling, where readers are encouraged to tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy. Using The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones for inspiration.

This week’s topic is WELL TRAVELLED ROADS

Rare is the fantasy adventure that stays close to come.  Most require a long adventure down some well travelled roads…

This seemed like a relatively easy topic, but once I got thinking I found naming roads quite hard! Here are the few I could think of:

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien – the road goes ever on and on…first Bilbo and then his cousin Frodo take the East Road out of The Shire heading for Rivendell, the Misty Mountains and adventure.

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien – later in Bilbo and the dwarves’ adventure they decide to take the Old Elven Road through Mirkwood; hoping it will be safer as it is less likely to be watched.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin – the Kings Road stretches almost the length of Westeros. From The Wall in the far north, down through the capital King’s Landing, and further down to Storm’s End in the south. Many of our protagonists have set out, for good or ill, along this road.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum – perhaps the most famous road has to be the Yellow Brick Road, which is the sure fire way to find your way to the Emerald City; the capital of Oz. Many adventures are to be found along the way too.

What well-travelled roads to adventure can you think of? Please let me know if you’re taking part in this week’s topic too.

Goodbye September, Hello October 2015

September 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? September has just flown by for me and the weather has dramatically cooled; no gradual transition into autumn for us! Which has seen me suffering with sinus problems and the sniffles. On the other hand I have loved making soup, and getting my comfortable boots and my favourite scarves back out.

September has also seen the start of the new school year. The children I support have made a positive start to year 6 and while it is very busy I am enjoying my work. In the cooling evenings I have been curling up in a blanket to enjoy a good book and some great adaptations.

Fiction: 3     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

The start of autumn always sees me pining for more gothic and mysterious books, which makes the R.I.P event perfect for me. First up was the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle; my result for The Classics Club’s last spin feature. Followed by The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland a dark, historical tale with a supernatural twist. To lighten the mood I also enjoyed a comforting re-read of Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett.

Alongside these fictions I also read two Christian non-fictions. First I read The Faith of a Mockingbird by Matt Rawle; an instalment from a new Bible series looking into books, movies, TV shows, music and pop culture. Then I read What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? by Richard D Phillips; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: Wyrd Sisters

Considering I started back at work this month I am really pleased I still completed 5 books. During the month I also continued reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson for The Classics Club, and continued my R.I.P reading with Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart.

In October, as the dark nights draw in, I am looking forward to snuggling up of an evening with more suitably gothic and mysterious books and adaptations.

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

New Books: September 2015

New Books - September 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I have been more reserved this month so there is just a few goodies I’ve managed to add to my Kindle in this month:

Wendy Darling (Volume 1: Stars) by Colleen Oakes

Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

I keep telling myself I have too many galleys, but what is a girl to do when they put so many good books on there?! Last year I read book 1 and 2 of Colleen Oakes’ Wonderland re-imagining the Queen of Hearts; book 3 of which I am still impatiently waiting for! So I couldn’t resist trying Wendy Darling a re-imagining of Peter Pan. Then I love Little Women and I love short story collection so again how could I resist Flower Fables?!

Headline Murder by Peter Bartram

I was contacted by the author about this cosy crime. I couldn’t take part in the blog tour, but I do love a cosy crime and it is R.I.P season so I was still happy to receive a review copy.

Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong

Then finally, but not least, I received a copy of Christian non-fiction Girl Meets Change from the publishers via Netgalley. I haven’t read anything by Kristen Strong before. I do suffer with anxiety about change though so I am interested to see what this advises.

Have you read anything by these authors? What new books have you got your hands on recently?

New Read: The Raven’s Head

The Raven's Head

The night’s are drawing in and the weather has cooled, quite dramatically. The perfect time to continue my R.I.P reading with The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland. A historical tale with a supernatural twist.

France 1224 – apprentice librarian Vincent stumbles across a powerful secret about Philippe, le Comte de Lingones, and his family. After a botched blackmail attempt Vincent finds himself on the run, with no home or friends, in possession of a mysterious carved silver raven’s head. Vincent is an arrogant, ambitious and foolish teenager. I didn’t really like him to be honest, but he is an interesting character to read about and it was his sections of the story that had the real pace for me. Vincent makes his way by selling elaborate stories to solve problems and hide secrets. Subconsciously though the raven’s head is bending him to its will.

England 1224 – Gisa the apothecary’s niece finds herself the source of interest for Lord Sylvain, a dark mage and alchemist, who seems to have a sinister plan. While little Wilky, renamed Regulus, finds himself torn from his family as Father Arthmael and his fearful White Canons take a keen interest in him. Poor Gisa and Wilky! By no fault of their own they find themselves in the centre of some peculiar and dangerous plans. While I preferred and sympathised with Gisa, Wilky and the other boys their sections of the story were a little slow; perhaps because they didn’t journey like Vincent did. By the end of the novel they were all brought together for a dark, magical, dramatic and tragic climax.

This is the first novel I have read by Karen Maitland, after hearing lots of interesting things about her work. I thought The Raven’s Head was well-written, with intricate detail, and well researched and believable historical setting. I could picture perfectly Vincent’s cramped little turret room, the organised and interesting apothecary shop, and Lord Sylvain’s jumbled and mysterious tower where he prepares and performs his dark magic. I also had a pervading sense throughout the book of poverty, death, grime and fear. It was so strong I could really feel it. I think however this book was just a little too dark for me to love it. In hindsight I can’t remember one moment of humour, peace or hope which made it a little depressing.

The Raven’s Head was a dark and atmospheric read, perfect for the R.I.P event, but I think I might need a more upbeat book next to balance it out. Good read.

Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Have you read anything else by Karen Maitland?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X – 2/4

Meme: Tough Travelling – Ladies & Swords

Tough Travelling

Nathan, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, runs this weekly meme Tough Travelling, where readers are encouraged to tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy. Using The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones for inspiration.

This week’s topic is A LADY AND HER SWORD

Fantasyland is full of threats.  A lady and her sword can keep those threats at bay.

Time for some girl power! It is great to be given the chance in this meme to discuss some strong, independent, sword wielding women. Here’s my choices for this week’s topic:

Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien – the Lady Eowyn travels, with little Merry, disguised as a man into the heat of the siege of Minas Tirith. There she takes on the Witch King of Angmar, who it is said can be killed by no man. Unluckily for him Eowyn is no man!

Sabriel from The Old Kingdom by Garth Nix – After her father becomes trapped in death Sabriel must take on his mantle. Becoming the new Abhorsen using magic bells and sword to hold back the dead and the evil, known as Kerrigor.

Eleyna from A World Apart by David M Brown – Eleyna goes through a dramatic transformation from housewife to pirate queen! Fighting for freedom from the all powerful Order. I can’t specifically remember a sword, but she’s a pirate so she must have one!

Vena the Raven-haired from Discworld by Terry Pratchett – While she may now look like your nice, little grandma with grey hair, who knits and bakes you cakes, do not be fooled! She is in fact a legendary hero, Vena the Raven-haired, who is both deadly with sword and knitting needle!

Brienne of Tarth from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin – Described as very tall, muscular, flat-chested and ungainly, with a nose which has been broken several times; we can tell Brienne is not your typical noble lady. However she sure can wield a broad sword, besting many a man.

What ladies and their swords can you think of? Please let me know if you’re taking part in this week’s topic too.