New Books: Christmas 2018 & January 2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, now I have finally caught up on my reviews, here is belated update on the new books I got for Christmas, my birthday and during the rest of January:

Origin by Dan Brown

First, I was absolutely thrilled to receive the paperback of Dan Brown’s latest Robert Langdon adventure for Christmas from my dad. It was sadly the only book I received for Christmas, but it’s a great one.

The Story of Reality by Gregory Koukl

Oz: The Complete Collection by L. Frank Baum

Also with an Amazon voucher I received for Christmas, I treated myself to these two for my Kindle. The first, Koukl’s Christian non-fiction, The Story of Reality is my February read for my church’s book club, which I am currently reading. The second is the complete collection of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, that I hope to continue reading as part of The Classics Club.

The Gilded Lily by Ernest Dudley

Then in January, through Endeavour Press’ weekly e-newsletter, I picked up a free copy of new-to-me author, Ernest Dudley’s non-fiction about the life and loves of the fabulous Lillie Langtry, a British-American socialite, actress and producer.

The Fork, the Witch and the Worm: Tales from Alagaësia by Christopher Paolini

Last but certainly not least, I received a beautiful hardback copy of Christopher Paolini’s collection of extra Alagaësia stories from my dad for my birthday. Hopefully this will be the carrot I need to get back to and finish Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle series.

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


The Classics Club: One Year Gone

Hello my fellow bookworms and classic clubbers, I created my second list for The Classics Club back on the 8th February 2018, which means today marks the one year stage. Time has flown by! Here is what I have read off my new list in my first year:

This Side of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald

A beautifully written, sometimes gripping, satirical portrait of the golden Jazz Age. While I don’t think Fitzgerald’s work is really for me, I am glad I persevered because these are important works of literature and social commentary.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

A beautifully written classic, with engaging characters, which cleverly explores the societal troubles, strifes and wrongs of the time.


Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari

Another rip-roaring adventure (with a touch of romance) that swept me back in time and across the seas.


The Enchanted Castle by E Nesbit

This was the lighter classic I was hoping for, with its blend of magic, adventure and old-fashioned ideals. Unfortunately, this is just not Nesbit’s best work I have read


The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

A clever allegorical portrayal of the journey Christians must take through life. I can’t say it was an easy read – in fact it was in parts hard work – however it was a rewarding read.


Emma by Jane Austen

I very much enjoyed a fun, comforting re-read of this witty, utterly charming romance, with its imperfect heroine and farcical misunderstandings.


Which means I have completed…


Lower than I had hope but not a terrible start. It has not helped that I have read some quite long and challenging books. Looking forward, I think I need to indulge in more of the shorter, easier children’s classics I have on my list, to give myself a bit of break now and again.

Have you read any of these? What classics have you enjoyed over the last year?

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?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Last year, I was again blessed to read and enjoy many new-to-me authors, especially through my church’s book club. Here are the ten new-to-me authors I liked the most from the year:

  1. Anne Brontë – Anne’s beautifully written The Tenant of Wildfell Hall showed me that she is a worthy equal to her older, better known sisters.
  2. Nabeel Qureshi – My first read of the year for my church’s book club was his eye-opening, international bestseller, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.
  3. Brother Andrew – While my May read for my church’s book club was Andrew’s truly inspiring and thrilling memoir, God’s Smuggler.
  4. Snorri Kristjansson – Perfect for the darker, cooler days of autumn was Kristjansson’s excellent, debut Viking murder mystery, Kin.
  5. Peter Bartram – I loved escaping back into Bartram’s nostalgic mysteries, Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder set in 1960’s Brighton.
  6. Michael R. Miller – More fun, escapist reading came in The Reborn King and Veiled Intentions, from the epic fantasy series, The Dragon’s Blade.
  7. Mingmei Yip – While I travelled back in time to China of the 1900s, with Yip’s exotic, historical fiction, Peach Blossom Pavilion.
  8. Lee Strobel – My church’s book club read for February was Strobel’s The Case for Grace, a compelling collection of inspiring stories.
  9. Christopher Nicole – The first book in Nicole’s historical saga, Eleanor of Aquitaine was a gripping historical soap opera for the start of summer.
  10. John Bunyan – It might have been hard going at times, but Bunyan’s classic allegorical novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress was a rewarding read.

Have you read any of my choices? What new-to-you authors did you read in 2018? Also, please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

Challenge: What’s in a Name 2018/2019

Hello my fellow bookworms, it is time to round-up my reading for the What’s in a Name 2018 challenge; hosted by Charlie at The Worm Hole. This was my third time taking part and the premise is very simple: read books with a title that fits the six categories provided. Here is what I read for this year’s categories:

Woohoo! That’s another six out of six this year. Okay, I was very inventive on the last one, but they do sing about Christmas being the ‘season’ to be jolly, right?! Sadly, I am very behind on my review writing, so you will have to wait for my thoughts on the last three books.

Did you take part in this challenge too? If yes, what did you read for it?

That’s not all though folks! Now it is time to get ready for What’s in a Name 2019, which this year is being hosted by Andrea at Carolina Book Nook. Here are the new categories and in the brackets are the books I own which I could possibly read for each:

  • A precious stone/metal (The Silver Locket by Margaret James or The Golden Antilles by Tim Severin)
  • A temperature (Cold Fire by Dean Koontz)
  • A month or day of the week (???)
  • A meal – (Progressive Dinner Deadly by Elizabeth Spann Craig or The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams)
  • Contains the word “girl” or “woman” (The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins)
  • Contains both the words “of” AND “and” (Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death by M. C. Beaton)

For those new to this challenge it runs from 1st January to 31st December; the books read can be in any format (print, audio, e-book); books cannot overlap categories; and creativity for matching the categories is encouraged! Apart from that I can read what I want in what order I want.

Are you taking part this year? Any recommendations of a book I could read with a day or month in the title?

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?

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019!

Happy New Year! Now it is time to say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, I am going to round off my reflection on my reading year with a few statistics:

Books Read: 49           New Reads: 45              Re-Reads: 4

Fiction: 33                Non-Fiction: 16

In 2017, I finished 51 books so I am only a tiny bit behind that this year, but there has been a small downward trend over the last two/three years which I would like to remedy in 2019. However, overall, I am pleased with the amount of fiction and non-fiction read, and the quality of books I have read over the year too. Now for some fun meme categories to help me reflect on 2018 and look forward to 2019:

  • Best Fiction – The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier.
  • Best Non-Fiction – Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi.
  • Best Classic – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.
  • Best Cookbook – Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver.
  • Best Re-Read – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
  • Best Series You Discovered – Six Tudor Queens by Alison Weir.
  • Favourite New-To-Me Authors – Peter Bartram and Michael R. Miller.
  • Most Memorable Character – Alison Weir’s courageous Katherine of Aragon, who I was left in awe of.
  • Most Read Genre – Historical Fiction (13), Science-Fiction/Fantasy (10), Christian (8) and Mystery (7).
  • Multiple Reads of an Author – Alison Weir (3), Peter Bartram (2), Mark Black (2), Suzanne Collins (2), Laurie R. King (2), Karen Maitland (2), Daphne du Maurier (2), Michael R. Miller (2) and Geoffrey Trease (2).
  • Ambitions for 2019 – I would like to continue to make more time for re-reading old favourites, as well as reading more new-to-me books by my favourite authors. I would also like to get fully back into The Classics Club with my second list.

That completes my reflection on 2018, which also consisted of My Top 10 Books of 2018 and My Top 10 Adaptations of 2018, so please do check those out too, if you haven’t already. Later this week, I hope to have up my end of month posts for books read and adaptations watched in December too.

What did you read and love in 2018? Any ambitions or plans for your reading in 2019?