Goodbye June, Hello July 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? Well June has been a month of extreme weather: from week long rain to a mini-Saharan heatwave! It has also been another busy month attending to a local Film and Comic Con; celebrating Father’s Day; a theatre trip to see The Lady Vanishes and going to a local, street food and music event. With all that going on, here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 2          Non-Fiction: 1

In July, I had quite a ‘classic’ month of reading. First, I finished reading the classic, science fiction The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, which I carried over from June and was my result for the last Classic Club’s Spin event. Then being eager to see what happened next to Aunt Jo and her boys after Little Men, I picked up the charming, children’s classic, Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott, off of my 10 Books of Summer 2019 reading list. Two gentle, classic reads, that were easy for me to dip in and out of when I found time.

As well as these fictions, I also read, one lazy Sunday morning, the short non-fiction D-Day: A Very Brief History by Mark Black, a super quick bite of World War II history. I’m afraid I am behind on my reviews, so you will have to wait for my thoughts on all three of these.

Pick of the Month: Jo’s Boys

Altogether that is three books read – a perfectly reasonable amount for me, however I can’t help but feel a little disappointed because I feel I was reading more than that. As, through out the month, I was also reading the Norse mythological fantasy, Runemarks by Joanne M. Harris and the memoir Undivided by Christian worship leader, Vicky Beeching.

In July, I look forward to a church ‘fun day’; a joint work’s retirement and leaving do; breaking up for the summer and my holiday to the Amalfi Coast. Also, hopefully, more reading!

What did you do and read in June? What are your plans for July?

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Goodbye May, Hello June 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? May has absolutely flown by for me in a blur of four friends and family birthdays (including my baby brother’s 21st!), a lovely bank holiday weekend, buying a new car, and a short term at work which led to another week break. Even though it flew by, it was a quieter, more relaxing month, which left me plenty of time for some great reading. Here’s what I read:

Fiction: 3          Non-Fiction: 1

First, I finished reading the engaging, turn-of-the-century classic, Howards End by E. M. Forster off of my Classics Club list, which I was inspired to add to my list after watching the BBC’s delightful 2017 adaptation. I found the book to be an equal delight and the perfect spring read as I had hoped. Then I travelled further back to 16th century Scotland and France, in By Sword and Storm by Margaret Skea, the gripping and eagerly anticipated conclusion to Skea’s brilliant Munro Scottish Saga trilogy. It was great to catch up with well loved characters and see some conclusions for them… although I think teasingly left open enough for the possibility of more.

Finally, for something completely different, I indulged in a short, fun read of Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M. C. Beaton, the sixth full-length mystery from Beaton’s long-running cosy crime series. The premise for which was so familiar I thought this was a re-read, but the further I got into the twists and turns I had no idea what was coming, so either my memory is worse than I thought or I never actually read/finished this before.

Alongside these fictions, I also finished my continued read of the fascinating biography, Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley. Started back in January, I took my time over this in-depth and enthusiastic look into this beloved author’s life through the places and spaces that mattered to her.

Pick of the Month: I can’t choose!

Altogether that is a brilliant four books read – not only does that make this my best month numbers wise this year, it was all top-notch quality too. At the end of the month, I also started reading my first book off my 10 Books of Summer 2019 Reading Challenge: Runemarks by Joanne M. Harris; my book club‘s next read, Undivided by Vicky Beeching; and my Classics Club Spin result: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.

In June, I look forward to a trip to a local Film and Comic Con; a special ‘Vision Evening’ at my church; celebrating Father’s Day and a trip to the theatre to see The Lady Vanishes. It is shaping up to be a busy month – Here’s hoping there is still plenty of time for reading!

What did you do and read in May? What are your plans for June?

Goodbye April, Hello May 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? April has been another super busy month with a rainy school residential trip, an Agape Meal on Maundy Thursday, a gloriously sunny Easter Sunday, a St George’s Day extravaganza in our castle grounds and a lovely trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Where did my two weeks off go?! Even with all that though, I enjoyed some great reading, especially in my garden in the mini-heatwave we had. Here’s what I read:

Fiction: 2          Non-Fiction: 1

First, I lost myself in the historical fiction The Tudor Crown by Joanna Hickson, which continues Hickson’s War of the Roses story from the brilliant The First of the Tudors. I didn’t love it as much as the first book, however it was still a fascinating glimpse into the lost history of Henry Tudor’s exile. Then I moved on to the riotous fantasy Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, the eighth instalment in Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld series and the first book following Captain Vimes and his ramshackle Night’s Watch. With magic, a secret society, mysterious goings-on, incompetent policing and dragons, what is not to love?!

Alongside these fictions, I also read the Christian non-fiction Love Wins by Rob Bell, which challenges the old presumptions of heaven and hell, and offers courageous, provocative alternative answers. My church’s book club will meet to discuss this at the end of May.

Pick of the Month: Guards! Guards!

Altogether that is three books read. During the month, I also read a little more of Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley  and the turn-of-the-century classic Howards End by E. M. Forster. I also started reading historical fiction By Sword and Storm by Margaret Skea: the eagerly anticipated conclusion to her Munro Scottish trilogy.

In May, I look forward to celebrating my brother’s special birthday and to a short term and so another week off very soon! A quieter month, with hopefully even more time for reading.

What did you do and read in April? What are your plans for May?

Goodbye March, Hello April 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? March has been a super busy month for me with Shrove Tuesday, my dad’s birthday and Mothering Sunday to celebrate; a school trip to Water World; and a special evening of music and talks about dealing with anxiety and depression at my church. Even with all that going on, I have been able to set time aside to read and here is what I read:

Fiction: 3          Non-Fiction: 1

First I read Lives of Notorious Cooks by Brendan Connell, a 2012 fictionalised collection of surreal, succinct biographies of famous and legendary cooks. Not the type of book I would usually go for, however it made a nice change and it was the lighter, shorter read I was looking for. In parallel I was reading the lovely, easy-going children’s classic, Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, the 1869 sequel to the utterly charming Little Women. After a heavy first year (2018) into my new Classics Club list this was just what I needed.

Finally, I rounded off my lighter March reading fare with a fun re-read of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, the last book in Collins’ bestselling, young adult trilogy: The Hunger Games. Still not my favourite instalment in the brilliant series, but I definitely enjoyed it more the second time around. It has also been great refreshing my memory of the extra details of the books, after having enjoyed the highly successful film franchise.

Alongside these fictions, I also read Christian non-fiction The Death of Western Christianity by Patrick Sookdheo, a fascinating – if a little depressing – look into not only the decline of Christianity but also the growing opposition from an increasingly secular Western society. Sadly I won’t be able to attend my church’s book club meeting to discuss this, as I will be away for the night on a school residential trip.

Pick of the Month: Mockingjay

Altogether that is a perfectly respectable four books read, which is even more impressive considering how much I have been up to. During the month, I also read a little more of Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley and I started reading historical fiction The Tudor Crown by Joanna Hickson and the turn-of-the-century classic Howards End by E. M. Forster.

Looking forward to April, I have the school residential trip (as mentioned above) to go on and I very much look forward to the Easter break, which should hopefully afford a good rest, some wonderful celebration and plenty of time for reading.

What did you do and read in March? What are your plans for April?

Goodbye February, Hello March 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well, but where on Earth did February go?! Apart from work and a gloriously sunny half term break, I have no idea what I did to warrant the month racing by so quickly! With nothing else to share personally, here is what I read:

Fiction: 1          Non-Fiction: 1

Most of the month, my reading was dominated by the Christian non-fiction The Story of Reality by Gregory Koukl, which was for my church’s book club. A challenging and in-depth book, that I needed to take my time with – Generally, I read just one or two chapters a day, so I had time to reflect. Once I had finished that, I was able to give my full attention to Origin by Dan Brown, the latest Robert Langdon book. Another thrilling adventure, that had me racing round Spain, as Langdon tries to release his friend’s earth-shattering, scientific discovery.

Pick of the Month: Origin

Altogether that is only two books read, exactly the same as January, again a perfectly reasonable amount for me normally. However I do find myself still rather disheartened, because I actually feel like I read a lot! During the month, I also read some more of Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley and I started reading Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. On the other hand, this down-turn in reading does mean I have caught up with my large back-log of reviews. The only outstanding I now have are the two books from this month.

Looking forward to March, it should be a busier month, what with my dad’s birthday and Mother’s Day to celebrate; a school trip to Water World; and a special evening of music and talks about dealing with anxiety and depression at my church. Hopefully, even with all that going on, I will be able to up my reading – maybe some lighter reads are needed?!

What did you do and read in February? What are your plans for March?

Goodbye January, Hello February 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? According to the Media and many people I work with this was a long, miserable month, but it simply wasn’t true for me! I celebrated my birthday;  attended a fascinating talk by Professor Alice Roberts; had an uplifting weekend away in Kent; and threw myself into my church’s year of exploration by joining a new house group and attending a weeknight vision service.. All in all I think a great month!  With all this excitement, here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 2      Non-Fiction: 0

Firstly, I finished reading the newest dual narrative novel, Bellewether by, one of my favourite authors, Susanna Kearsley, which swept me back to 1759 to experience how the Seven Year War between Britain and France impacted on the regular American colonists. Lastly, I finished a comforting, fun re-read of the charmingly witty Emma by Jane Austen, my result for The Classic Club‘s last Spin event. Now I need to confess I didn’t technically finish Emma till a day into February, however as I read the vast majority of it in January I hope you understand me counting it here.

Pick of the Month: Bellewether and Emma

Altogether that is only two books read – a perfectly reasonable amount for me normally. However I do find myself rather disheartened, because I actually read a lot more but just didn’t seem to finish much. During the month, I was actually also reading non-fictions: Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley and The Story of Reality by Gregory Koukl. On the other hand, I am still behind on my reviews, so actually not finishing too much should help me catch up.

Compared to January, February looks like it is going to be relatively quiet, as I don’t have much planned. Except I am looking forward to the school’s half term break. So hopefully it will be a month of reading and catching up with reviews.

What did you do and read in January? What are your plans for February?

Goodbye December 2018, Hello New Year!

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well and that you had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year. December whirled past me in a blur of shopping, writing cards, wrapping presents, special end of term fun at work and spending quality time with family and friends. In amongst all the wonderful craziness of the holidays I managed to read these:

Fiction: 4          Non-Fiction: 1

First, I lost myself in the fantasy adventure The Dragon’s Blade: Veiled Intentions by Michael R. Miller, the second fun book in Miller’s epic trilogy. Next, I travelled back to Restoration England for a swashbuckling romance in Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier. Perhaps not my favourite from du Maurier, but still a very beautifully written tale.

Then, as the busyness of the festive period truly got going, I squeezed in a couple of short reads. First, a Christmas e-short Agatha Raisin and the Christmas Crumble by M. C. Beaton, from Beaton’s long-running, cosy crime series. And the very short, e-short The Tower is Full of Ghosts Today by Alison Weir, a companion read to Weir’s historical Six Tudor Queens series.

Alongside these fictions, I also read the republicated, non-fiction Theatre Royal by Michael Coren, which gives a brief overview of the history of Stratford East’s Theatre Royal. Originally published in 1985 on the hundredth anniversary of the theatre.

Pick of the Month: Frenchman’s Creek

Altogether that is five books finished, which is pretty impressive considering the time of year. During the month, I also started reading Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley, the newest of Kearsley’s dual narrative novels. However I am now majorly behind on posting, so you have a whopping seven reviews to look forward to.

In January, I look forward to celebrating my birthday; a weekend away to Kent and going to see Professor Alice Roberts’ talk on digging into Britain’s past. Oh and hopefully catching up on those pesky, back-logged reviews!

What did you do and read in December? What are your plans for January?