Challenge: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XIII (End)

Having said goodbye to October, we also have to say goodbye to the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XIII reading event, hosted this year by Heather of My Capricious Life. Here’s what I managed to read:

  1. Cauldstane by Linda Gillard – A book with all the things I love: mystery; romance; history; a big, old house and a touch of the paranormal.
  2. Stop Press Murder by Peter Bartram – A page-turning, nostalgic murder mystery, with ace crime reporter, Colin Crampton in 1960’s Brighton.
  3. Kin by Snorri Kristjansson –  A dark, intense Viking murder mystery, which is the first book in a planned series, so I look forward to more!
  4. A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King – The third nostalgic and thrilling Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery for me.

As I signed up for Peril the First level, I was aiming to read four books, so… nailed it! Although I do have a couple of reviews to catch up with, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

Did you take part in this event? Have you been reading anything dark, creepy or mysterious recently?


Goodbye October, Hello November 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are well? Autumn has truly arrived here in the UK and with our first snow fall in some parts, winter feels very close! It has been a very busy month at work, but I also enjoyed seeing my favourite, long-haired Scotsman, Neil Oliver do a talk on British history, and an amazing, belated birthday, trip to Warner Bros, Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter! Now here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 3           Non-Fiction: 0

At the start of the month, I finished re-reading the gritty, dystopian Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book in Collins’ bestselling young adult trilogy. Next I picked up the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril reading event again, with the dark, intense Viking murder mystery, Kin by Snorri Kristjansson. The gripping first book in a planned series, so I look forward to more! Then I swiftly continued my R.I.P reading with the historical mystery, A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King, the third nostalgic and thrilling Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery for me.

Pick of the Month: Kin

Altogether that is three books finished. Another lower month, however in good news I now have only two reviews to catch up with! Over the month, I have also been reading The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland. So there are few reviews for you to look forward to and I will also soon be doing a round-up post for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril reading event.

In November, I look forward to several family members’ birthdays and to going to see a stage adaptation of Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of the Four. As well as enjoying more reading, whilst snuggled up in a blanket with copious amounts of hot chocolate, as the nights draw in.

What did you do and read in October? What are your plans for November?

The Classics Club: Gothic Book Tag

I don’t really do horror being a big scaredy-cat at heart, but I couldn’t resist giving this all new scary book tag ago, from The Classics Club in honour of their Gothic month #CCdare. Which contains thirteen questions to creep you out and send shivers up your spine!

If you’re interested in joining in too, here are the easy rules:

  • Answer the 13 questions with classic books in mind.
  • How you define ‘classic’ is up to you.
  • How you define ‘scary’ is up to you (content, size of book, genre etc).
  • Add your link back here when you’re done.
  • If you’re feeling social, visit other blogs and leave a comment or share your thoughts on twitter, fb, instagram or goodreads using #CCgothicbooktag
  • Join in if you dare.

1) Which classic book has scared you the most?

That would probably have to be Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. I was so gripped I read it in one sitting, and completely spooked myself as I started reading in the light of day and when I resurfaced from this spooky tale, night had crept in completely unobserved by me!

2) Scariest moment in a book?

One of the most spine-chilling moments for me is in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, where a ghostly ship comes out of the fog and runs aground on the shores of Whitby. The captain is found dead and lashed to the helm, whilst his entire crew have disappeared!

3) Classic villain that you love to hate?

You just have to love to hate Charles Dickens’ infamously, wicked and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, the antagonist of the ghostly tale of redemption, A Christmas Carol.

4) Creepiest setting in a book?

I don’t think anything could be creepier than a carnival at night! Like in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, where two boys discover the evil that lurks at a sinister carnival that silently rolls into their small town one, chill October eve.

5) Best scary cover ever?

This cover on my edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles is pretty darn scary to me:






6) Book you’re too scared to read?

Great Russian classics, like Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, really scare me! With their epic length; depressing story lines and large sections of philosophical discussion, I doubt I will ever be brave enough to pick them up!

7) Spookiest creature in a book?

That would have to be the tragic creature of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, who having been cruelly abandoned, relentlessly chases down his creator, with chilling intelligence and inhuman strength and speed.

8) Classic book that haunts you to this day?

It has been many years since I read Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but its quiet, creeping, sinister nature still haunts me! I think it is high time for a re-read!

9) Favourite cliff-hanger or unexpected twist?

My favourite unexpected twist comes at the end of Daphne du Maurier’s modern Gothic classic, Rebecca, but I can’t say anymore or it will spoil it!

10) Classic book you really, really disliked?

I can’t think of a classic I ‘really, really disliked’, however I really struggled with Robert Louis Stevenson’ Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

11) Character death that disturbed/upset you the most?

The death of the shy, gentle and kind Beth March, in Louisa May Alcott’s children’s classic, Little Women, left her family and me utterly heartbroken.

12) List your top 5 Gothic/scary/horror classic reads.

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  3. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  5. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

13) Share your scariest/creepiest quote, poem or meme.

“If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

What do you think of my choices? What are your top Gothic/scary/horror classic reads? Also, if you have taken part in this tag please share your link in the comments below, so we can check out your answers.

Halloween Creatures Tag 2.0

If I’m honest I have never really been a big fan of Halloween – what with not being a huge fan of horror, blood, gore, being scared or of scaring other people. However, this time of year, I love taking part in the R.I.P reading event, which encourages me to read books on the darker side. So hopefully I will still be able to give this – the Halloween Creatures Tag 2.0 created by Anthony of Keep Reading Forward – a jolly good try, after Paige of Bookish Paige kindly tagged me in it.

First up here are the simple rules for taking part:

  • Answer all prompts.
  • Answer honestly.
  • Tag 1-13 people.
  • Link back to this post.
  • Remember to credit the creator (Anthony).
  • And have fun!

Now without further ado here are the prompts and my answers:

A Magical Character or Book.
One of my favourite magical characters – who also happens to be a witch – is the indomitable Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld series.

The Perfect Book to Read at Night.
Nothing too scary, as I do want to actually be able to sleep! So maybe a cosy crime like M. C. Beaton’s long-running Agatha Raisin series, would be good for this time of year.

A Book that Truly Shocked You.
I’m sorry, but as a huge lover of Mary Shelley’s novel, I first just have to say that Frankenstein is the doctor not the creature. Okay, now I’ve got that out of my system, a book that truly shocked and disappointed me was The Dark Tower VII by Stephen King. How could he do that ending to me?!

The Devil
A Dark, Evil Character.
Still one of the darkest, most evil characters for me has to be Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. While the many subsequent film and television interpretations have given him sympathetic love story and sex appeal, I found little to like about Stoker’s dark original.

Grim Reaper
A Character that Should Never Have Died.
That would have to be poor Cedric Diggory from J. K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series. Cedric was a kind, handsome and honourable young man, cruelly cut down in his prime by Lord Voldermort.

A Book that Made You “Hungry” for More.
Earlier this year, I absolutely loved the superb, time-travelling horror, The House on the Strand by, the queen of gothic, Daphne du Maurier, and the more I read by her, the more I want!

A Character that You Would Protect at All Cost.
You can’t help but feel for and want to protect poor, misused, little Oliver Twist, in the classic novel of the same name by Charles Dickens.

A Book that Sucked the Life Out of You.
I genuinely can’t think of a book that sucked the life out of me – If I wasn’t enjoying a book that much, I would give up way before it got to sucking my life away!

A Book that Still Haunts You.
That I think would have to be the quietly sinister We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, which I really need to get round to re-reading soon. It has been so long, but it is still with me.

A Book that Really Scared You.
Tough one as I don’t like books that scare me, however I did manage to read all of Stephen King’s terrifying, dark fantasy series, The Dark Tower. I would find myself staying up late into the night, as I couldn’t sleep until I got to a point in the book where the characters were safe… relatively safe anyway!

A Character You Have a Bone to Pick With.
Katniss Everdeen from Suzanne Collins’ dark, dystopian The Hunger Games trilogy. Don’t get me wrong I love her, but what’s with this umming and ahhing between Gale and Peeta… it should clearly be Peeta!

A Book You Would Preserve Throughout Time.
That is super easy! It would have to be The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien! I would say The Holy Bible, but I am pretty sure after surviving thousands of years already, that it is going to continue to be preserved with or without me.

Creepy Doll
A Cover too Scary to Look At.
My Modern Library Classics edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic, gothic mystery The Hound of the Baskervilles has pretty scary cover, featuring a distorted image of a snapping, snarling hound!

The Monster Mash
Tag Your Friends!
Well the rules state I have to tag at least one person, so my one is anyone who would like to take part!

Do you like my choices? What would your choices be? If you decide to take part please share a link to your post in the comments, so we can check it out.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… Longest Books I’ve Read

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:

Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

As I tend to run shy away from hefty tomes – i.e. War and Peace absolutely terrifies me – I thought this might be a tough topic for me. However after a closer inspection of my shelves, turns out I have read a fair few long books and here they are in size order:

  1. The Holy Bible – No surprise really that this collection of Christian sacred texts and scriptures comes in at a winning 1127 pages.
  2. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien – Not that far behind is Tolkien’s epic, high fantasy classic at around 1077 pages.
  3. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin – The fourth book in Martin’s epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire series comes in at around 1061 pages.
  4. The Dark Tower by Stephen King – I was surprised to find that the final book in King’s epic Dark Tower series is a hefty 1050 pages.
  5. Bleak House by Charles Dickens – Not surprisingly Dickens’ multi-threaded classic with its large cast of characters is around 1017 pages.
  6. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin – Martin’s second entry to the list, is the second book in his epic fantasy series, with about 1010 pages.
  7. Wolves of Calla by Stephen King – Another entry for King, with the fifth book in his epic series being another hefty one with 931 pages.
  8. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – While Dickens’ second entry to this list, is this coming-of-age classic, with around 882 pages.
  9. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales – This classic collection compiled by the Brothers Grimm is made up of over 200 tales and has about 880 pages.
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – Finally the fifth Harry Potter book has around 870 pages, which is rather impressive for a children’s book!

Have you read any of my choices? What are the longest books you have read? Also, please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

Goodbye September, Hello October 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are well? In the last week, our Indian summer ended and it has really started to feel like autumn now. So I have dug out my cosy boots, woolly tights and extensive scarf collection. I have also made a good start at my new job and I enjoyed seeing historian Lucy Worsley do a fascinating talk on Queen Victoria. During the month, here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 2          Non-Fiction: 1

I got the month and the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril reading event off to a great start with the spooky Cauldstane by Linda Gillard, which swept me off to Scottish Highlands for romance, drama, mystery and ghouls! I can’t believe I have waited this long to read this! Then I continued my R.I.P reading with another nostalgic mystery, Stop Press Murder by Peter Bartram, the second book to follow journalist Colin Crampton’s investigations back in 1960s Brighton. Alongside these fictions, I also re-read Christian non-fiction, The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen in preparation for my church’s book club meeting, later this week.

Pick of the Month: Cauldstane

Altogether that is three books finished, which is sadly half of what I read in August. However it is probably a good thing when it comes to my reviews, as I am still behind! So my full thoughts on all of my reads this month are still to be posted about. I am also very close to finishing a re-read of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book in her thrilling YA trilogy.

In October, I look forward to going to see TV presenter Neil Oliver do a talk on the story of the British Isles and a belated birthday trip to Warner Bros, Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. As well as continuing my R.I.P reading whilst snuggled up in a blanket with copious amounts of hot chocolate as the nights draw in.

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10… Books TBR By My Favourite Authors

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:

Books By My Favourite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

With one of my goals this year to make more time to read books by my favourite authors, this is a perfect topic for me. In no particular order, here are the top ten books by my favourite authors I have yet to read:

  1. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley – Many of fellow Kearsley fans have named this as their favourite of her wonderful dual narrative novels.
  2. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier – Historical fiction set during Charles II’s reign, where an English lady falls in love with a French pirate.
  3. Lady Susan by Jane Austen – Having enjoyed all of Austen’s full length novels, I keep forgetting this shorter work posthumously published.
  4. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis – A collection of Lewis’s reflections on his painful bereavement following the death of his wife, Joy in 1960.
  5. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens – I hope this will be my next Dickens’ read, after enjoying the BBC’s 2008 adaptation some years ago now.
  6. Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien – I would love to read this but I am not sure I will ever be brave enough to read this dense Middle Earth history.
  7. Queen of the North by Anne O’Brien – This is the newest historical fiction from O’Brien, one of my go-to authors for my historical fix.
  8. The Trysting Tree by Linda Gillard – Bitter-sweetly I look forward to reading this, the last of Gillard’s moving women’s fiction on my Kindle.
  9. Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir – After loving the first two books in Weir’s epic Six Tudor Queens, I look forward to more.
  10. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett – Finally, I don’t think this list would be complete without an instalment in Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld.

Have you read any of my choices? What books by your favourite authors do you have to read? Also, please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.