New Books: November 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms, here are more new goodies I have added to my Kindle and bookcase in the second half of this month:

The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

Firstly, I was very lucky to win e-book copies of new release The Emerald Circus and a new edition of fantasy classic The Forgotten Beasts of Eld in the wonderful Witch Week giveaway, hosted by the lovely Lory at The Emerald City Book Review. Thank you Lory!

Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam by M C Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came by M C Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M C Beaton

Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor by M C Beaton

Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M C Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body by M C Beaton

And finally, I am also thrilled with this large haul of more instalments from my favourite comfort author M C Beaton’s long-running cosy crime series, and best of all they were all from a charity bookshop. Now I can look forward to plenty more bumbling, amateur investigations with our Agatha!

Do you fancy any of these? What new books have you got recently?

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Nonfiction November: Favourites

This is my first year taking part in Nonfiction November, a yearly event that encourages bloggers to read and discuss non-fiction. Sadly I missed Week 1 but I was able to take part in Week 2 and Week 3. Now it is time for Week 4 (Nov. 20 to 24) hosted by Katie @ Doing Dewey:

Nonfiction Favourites: We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favourites.’

While I often re-read my favourite novels, I sadly rarely return to non-fictions I’ve enjoyed. The one non-fiction that I have re-read is Mere Christianity by C S Lewis. A wonderful discussion of the basic beliefs of the Christian faith from the point-of-view of Lewis, a former atheist who went on to write many books sharing his new found faith. What makes this a favourite is the topic and the inspirational, honest and natural style of it. Reading this book is like sitting down and chatting with a mentor over a cup of tea or in Lewis’ case over a pint in ‘The Bird and Baby’.

The only other non-fictions I can think of that I regularly return to in the hunt for new exciting recipes are cookbooks. My particularly favourites being the four The Hairy Dieters cookbooks I have from the nations-favourites: Si King and Dave Myers (better known as The Hairy Bikers). While I am not looking to lose weight particularly, I do love how down-to-earth and well balanced these recipes are.

I think it is such a shame that these are the only favourite non-fictions I can think of. Which has got me thinking now about all those great non-fictions I have that I think I will be putting on my re-read pile!

What are your favourite non-fictions? Please feel free to link in your own posts in the comments below if you have also taken part.

New Read: Crazy Busy

As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and I am very lucky that my church has it’s own book club to help me with this. Our last book was Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, after which we took an extended break for Easter and the arrival of the vicar’s fourth bundle of joy! Fortunately while the vicar is still very busy someone else has stepped up to get the group back up and running, with our first book back being: Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung.

In Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, the best-selling author, Kevin DeYoung rejects the modern day, crazy-busy lives we lead. With our long days of work, extended by emails at home; all our church activities and responsibilities; and phones, computers and other gadgets that keep us constantly connected and distracted. DeYoung argues that these lives of constant ‘busyness’ are far from what God intends for us and instead hopes to offer us the restful cure we are all in need, but have been too busy to find for ourselves.

As a senior pastor, a popular blogger and the author of several popular books, DeYoung brings warmth, humour, honesty and a life-time of experience to this book. Which at only 118 pages long with short, snappy chapters, it really is a mercifully short book and is ideal for reading in 5-10 minute bites. Each chapter discusses different elements and habits that may be causing unnecessary busyness in our lives for which DeYoung recommends what different actions and mindset could help cure them. Except for the chapter on children, I found all these chapters really helpful and insightful.

Overall, I found Crazy Busy to be a quick, down-to-earth and helpful read, from which there are many tips I will be taking forward to help lighten and de-stress my own life. My book club will be meeting to discuss this book later this month. Next month we will be reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi. Great read.

Have you read this? Have you read anything else by Kevin DeYoung?

New Books: October & November 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms, here are the new goodies I have added to my bookcase and Kindle at the end of last month and the beginning of this one:

Seven Kings of England by Geoffrey Trease

Caligula by Simon Turney

First, at the end of October, I was lucky enough to receive review copies of these via Netgalley (UK). Earlier this year, I loved Geoffrey Trease’s Seven Stages so I am looking forward to another of his histories. While Simon Turney is a new author for me – I just loved the sound of a historical fiction about the infamous Roman Emperor, Caligula!

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnet
(The Lymond Chronicles #1)

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Also in October, I snapped up bargain Kindle copies of these two gems from Amazon (UK). I have not read either author however I have heard great things about both!

Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Finally, at the beginning of November, I had a mooch in a different branch of my favourite charity bookshop and picked up these goodies in their 4 books for £5 deal. After enjoying Laurie R. King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice last year and Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, earlier this year, I am very pleased to add more books from their respective series to my to-be-read. While after loving the film, I am also pleased to finally give Joanne Harris’ well-loved novel a go.

Do you fancy any of these? What new books have you got recently?

Nonfiction November: Be The Expert

This is my first year taking part in Nonfiction November, a yearly event that encourages bloggers to read and discuss non-fiction. Sadly I missed Week 1’s topic but fortunately I was in time for Week 2. Now it is time for Week 3 (Nov. 13 to 17) hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness:

Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert)’

Last year, my vicar started up a book club at our church with the aim of encouraging himself and others to read more Christian literature. While the group has read the fictions: The Screwtape Letters by C S Lewis and The Shack by William Paul Young, the majority of our reads have been non-fictions. I have loved being part of this book club so much, I thought I would share with you the three books I’ve enjoyed the most, so far:

  • If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg – a good, thought provoking read in which Ortberg uses the story of the disciple Peter walking on water to discuss our incredible potential if we too align our purposes with God.
  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster – a useful and inspirational read, where Foster discusses what he believes to be the basic practices for a Christian to exercise to enhance their faith and lives.
  • The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson – an inspiring and worth while read that looks at the story of Honi the circle-drawer and breaks down the steps so we can pray powerfully like him too.

Are there any Christian non-fictions you would recommend? Please link in the comments below if you have done your own post for this week’s topic.

New Read: Season of Storms

Mid-Autumn felt like the perfect time to pick up another of Susanna Kearsley’s wonderful mystery novels: Season of Storms. Kearsley is one of my favourite authors – I simply love how her writing style is so comforting and familiar for me, like a favourite jumper. Sadly though it has been over a year since I read my last of her novels: Named of the Dragon!

In the early 1900s, in the elegant and isolated villa Il Piacere, Italy, the playwright Galeazzo D’Ascanio is inspired to write his most stunning and original play, for the beautiful, English actress Celia Sands: his love and muse. However the night before she was to take to the stage in the leading role, Celia disappeared. Now, decades later, Alessandro D’Ascanio is preparing to stage his grandfather’s masterpiece, and another young, beautiful English actress, who shares Celia Sands’ name, has agreed to star. Within a theatre in the grounds of Il Piacere, not only will Galeazzo’s play come back to life but so will secrets and ghosts from the past.

Initially, our protagonist the ‘new’ Celia Sands is reluctant to take the job because she has long avoided using her famous name to boost her fledgling career. Instead she has been known as Celia Sullivan so as to make it in her own right; which you can only admire her for. She only agrees when she learns that this is to be her old friend, Rupert’s last directorial role before he retires. Rupert and his partner Brian have been surrogate parents to Celia since she was a small girl, while her glamorous actress mother has flitted from place to place and man to man. They are joined in the production by dashing stage manager Den O’Malley; the famous actress Madeleine Hedrick and the roguish actor Nicholas Rutherford (Madeleine’s lover).

As soon as Celia stepped into the large, decadent and labyrinthine villa Il Piacere, with its impeccable gardens; stunning lake views and its handsome, compelling and compassionate master, Alessandro, I was completely swept away! Even more so when its past secrets start resurfacing and though Celia knows she should let the past go, in the dark, as she dreams, it comes back none the less; as if the first Celia is reaching out to her. Again I think Kearsley has weaved a mystery full of history, theatrical details, stunning settings, and a touch of romance and the supernatural. My only niggle would be the end which was a little anticlimactic, however there is reason for there not being a grand reveal so it really is only a minor niggle.

Overall, I found Season of Storms to be a wonderfully immersive and gripping mystery, that took me away from the cold and wet of the UK. I really must not allow another year to go by before I read more by Kearsley, and there is no excuse to either as I have The Firebird on my to-be-read pile, as well as a new copy of, my favourite, The Rose Garden lined up for a re-read. Great read.

Have you read this? Have you read any of Susanna Kearsley’s other novels?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII – 4/4

Nonfiction November: Book Pairing

This is my first year taking part in Nonfiction November, a yearly event that encourages bloggers to read and discuss non-fiction. This year hosted by JulzReads, Sarah’s Book Shelves, Sophisticated Dorkiness, Doing Dewey, and The Emerald City Book Review. Sadly I missed Week 1’s topic but fortunately I was in time for Week 2 (Nov. 6 to 10) at Sarah’s Book Shelves.

Book Pairing: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story’

Since reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis as a child, I have been in love with the magical world of Narnia. Clearly this love must show, in more than just my blog title, because friends from church saw non-fiction The Lion’s World by Rowan Williams and felt they just had to buy me a copy. In The Lion’s World, Williams explores the moral landscape of all seven novels in the chronicles and explains their spiritual subtext. For me, as a Christian, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Lion’s World were a fiction and non-fiction which complimented each other perfectly.

What fiction and non-fiction would you pair together? Please link in the comments below if you have done your own post for this.