Challenge: 10 Books of Summer

10 Books of Summer

Hello my fellow bookworms, June is almost upon us and that will mean the official start of summer (although, here in the UK that might be hard to believe with the recent patchy weather) and that means it is time again for Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer challenge (with the option to read 10 or 15 as well).

Last year was the first year I took part, I made a list of 10 physical books and managed to read 6 of them which I thought was not half bad for my first attempt. This year I have decided to make a list of 5 physical books and 5 e-books – I hope this mixture will help me read all 10! Here are my 10 books (in alphabetically order):

~ 1 ~

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

I have read and enjoyed all of the thrilling adventures of Robert Langdon, yet I seem to have missed this one! (Plus I am super excited about the release of the film adaptation of Langdon’s last adventure, Inferno)

~ 2 ~

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I have heard such great things about this book and then the lovely Lynn sent me her copy – I am super excited to read it.

~ 3 ~

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

Sadly this book has been in my Kindle’s TBR folder for too long…even though I heard great things about this book and author.

~ 4 ~

A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin

I am currently watching the amazing 6th series of Game of Thrones and, this summer, I am looking forward to continuing with the books.

~ 5 ~

Wendy Darling, Volume 1: Stars by Colleen Oakes

Another book that has been in my Kindle’s TBR folder for too long…even though I have loved all my previous reads by Oakes.

~ 6 ~

The Queen’s Choice by Anne O’Brien

This is the latest historical fiction from Anne O’Brien, who is rapidly becoming a go-to author for me when I am in a historical mood.

~ 7 ~

Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver

I have enjoyed many documentaries presented by historian Neil Oliver, so I am interested to read his first foray into historical fiction.

~ 8 & 9 ~

Trouble at the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn

The School Inspector Calls! by Gervase Phinn

I actually read the 1st book of this series as part of this challenge last year. A sweet and fun series about a small village school, perfect for summer.

~ 10 ~

A House Divided by Margaret Skea

I recently read the 1st Munro book, Turn of the Tide, by Skea and I am really looking forward to this, the 2nd book.

Are you taking part in this summer challenge? Are there any of these books you think I should read first?

The Classics Club: Monthly Meme #41

The Classics Club

Each month The Classics Club releases a question to get club members thinking, discussing and sharing; either on the official site or their own sites. This month’s question is a rewind from January 2014, originally contributed by club member Ruth (who joined in March 2012):

“Which character from classic literature is most important or influential to you and why? Or which character do you most despise and why?”

I am going to go for an important and influential classic character. It is a toughy though, because there are so many great classic characters out there to choose from. I think for me though a really influential character, a character I have looked up to, is Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Elinor is loving, patient, practical and stoic – if I could be just a tenth of how loving and patient she is, I would be over the moon. I particularly have to admire her when she conceals her own pain to support and comfort her sister, Marianne, who goes into complete meltdown. Don’t get me wrong I like Marianne, but it really does become the Marianne show when she has her heartbroken by Willoughby; yet Elinor’s heart has been broken too. However there is also a touching scene, towards the end of the book, when Marianne realises how her sister has been suffering in silence and Elinor finally gets a little of the credit she deserves; and the all important happy ending!

Which classic character has been most important or influential to you and why?

New Books: May 2016

New Books - May

Hello my fellow bookworms, here’s the goodies I’ve managed to add to my bookshelf and Kindle recently:

Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver

I have enjoyed all of Jamie’s TV cookery shows, particularly his ‘Money Saving Meals’ (which this cookbook accompanies) that was full of simple, wholesome, well balanced and affordable family meals. I thought if I saw this cookbook for about £10 I’d treat myself, then I saw it for £6 – bargain!

Lady on the Coin by Margaret Campbell Barnes

The Early Life of Anne Boleyn by J H Round

Faith and Moonlight 2 by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

I picked up for review from Netgalley, historical fiction Lady on the Coin, which I previously read a great review of, and an early history of the fascinating Anne Boleyn (both from Endeavour Press), plus another instalment from Gelineau and King’s Echo of the Ascended fantasy series.

Murder from the Newsdesk by Peter Bartram

Destined by Jordan Pinkney and Will Lenzen JR

I was then contacted by the authors about these books. First, I accepted a review copy of Destined by Will Lenzen JR; the first book in a new, exciting, young adult series. Then, Peter Bartram contacted me to let me know his new collection of crime stories is currently available for free on Amazon UK and US – I couldn’t help downloading it to find out what it was all about for myself.

Have you read any of these? What new books are you excited about?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Whim Books

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

I can be a sucker for a pretty cover which is the main culprit for my whim book buying, however there are other reasons and it was interesting to see how I came by my 10 choices. Listed alphabetically by author, here are 10 of my favourite whim buys/reads:

~ 1 ~

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

This is a beautiful, emotional charged look into the siege of Leningrad (Saint Petersburg), during WWII, through the jumbled memories of a lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. I came across this completely by chance when searching for books on mental illness for a reading challenge, and boy was I pleased I did!

~ 2 ~

The Villa in Italy by Elizabeth Edmondson

I snapped up a free e-copy of this Mediterranean suspense from Amazon (UK) just hoping for some mysterious fun in the sun, however I got a whole lot more from this wonderful novel. I would definitely like to read more by this author.

~ 3 ~

Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

Again, I discovered this novel and author when searching for books on mental illness for a reading challenge; plus it has a gorgeous purple cover! I thought it was a beautiful book which led me to reading 4 more novels by Gillard, and I look forward to reading more.

~ 4 ~

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

I used up my scanty remains off an Amazon gift card on this beautiful suspense novel, as I had vaguely heard good things about Kearsley and it had a pretty cover. 4 novels later and Kearsley is one of my favourite authors!

~ 5 ~

For Tibet, with Love by Isabel Losada
(now known as A Beginner’s Guide to Changing the World)

I knew nothing about the book, the topic or the author yet this wacky memoir had to come home with me, due mainly to it’s stunning cover and intriguing premise.

~ 6 ~

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

A striking silver and purple Venice-esque  cover, an intriguing alternative, fantasy setting and only £1 in The Works; it had to be bought! Sadly I didn’t go on to read the sequel, something I really must rectify soon.

~ 7 ~

The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier

Obviously, I had heard of du Maurier when I bought this but never read any of her novels let alone a short story collection (something I didn’t really read at this point). Knowing the author and Hitchcock’s classic film, I went for it and wasn’t disappointed. I have since read more du Maurier and more short story collections.

~ 8 ~

Initiate by Tara Maya

When the author contacted me, I had never heard of them or the book. However the pretty cover and an intriguing premise got me to read this Polynesian inspired fantasy tale; the 1st book in The Unfinished Song series. 5 books later…and I want more!

~ 9 ~

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

This was a whim request in the early days of my Netgalley use, as a re-imagining of Wonderland through the eyes of Dinah, the future Queen of Hearts, sounded amazing! I never thought my request would actually be granted.

~ 10 ~

The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

This was another surprising request granted on Netgalley, this time whilst I was looking for some new and interesting Christian non-fiction. An amazingly, inspiring book – I now pick up and/or request anything I can by Omartian.

What are some of your favourite whim reads? Have you made any whim purchases recently? Have you read any of my favourite whim reads?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Childhood Characters

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Ten Childhood Characters You’d Love To Revisit As Adults

I love re-reading childhood favourites and as an adult discovering new childhood tales, which can be so comforting, fun and inspiring. This topic has really got me thinking how great it would be to discover what type of adults our favourite childhood characters grew up to be. Here are (in no particular order) the literary children I would love to read more about:

~ 1 ~

Lyra Belacqua
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

It would interesting to find out what sort of woman this scruffy, fierce and intelligent tomboy became; and if she had anymore adventures.

~ 2 ~

Christopher Boone
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Christopher has to fight his own nature and break all his strict routines during this book – I wonder if after his adventure there was any real change or if he goes back to his old ways?

~ 3 ~

Jake Chambers
The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Jake and his faithful companion Oy are two young, innocent souls in dark, adult worlds. He was strong and survived, and part me hopes he finally got some peace as an adult.

~ 4 ~

Elanor the Fair
The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien

Elanor is one of Samwise’s 13 children! I have to hold my hands up, I just really want more stories from Middle-Earth but with the name ‘Elanor the Fair’ she must have a wonderful tale to tell.

~ 5 ~

Julian, Dick, Anne and George
The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

Wouldn’t you like to find if these perpetual children stuck in perpetual school holidays actually ever grew up?

~ 6 ~

Matilda by Roald Dahl

The delightful Matilda finally got her happy ending. Did the happiness last? I hope she grew-up to be a happy, kind and successful woman.

~ 7 ~

Mary Lennox
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mary goes through a beautiful transformation – I think it would wonderful to find out if she continued to grow in health, kindness and love.

~ 8 ~

Harry, Hermione and Ron
Harry Potter by J K Rowling

I know Rowling did that 19 years later in the last book but that isn’t enough for me! I just want more from the wonderful, magical world of Harry Potter!

~ 9 ~

Roberta, Phyllis and Peter
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

I think it would lovely to find out if siblings Roberta, Phyllis and Peter continued to live their newly discovered quiet life even as adults.

~ 10 ~

Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

After so much loss and trouble little Oliver got his happy ending but I fear, knowing Dickens, that there are still more potential trials and tribulations to come.

What are your favourite, literary children you would like to read more about as adults?

Goodbye April, Hello May 2016

April 2016

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? For me, this month just seems to have flown by! There have been days of glorious sunshine however the month has also lived up to its ‘April Showers’ reputation too. So there have still be some grey days which saw me curling up in a blanket with a good book and a mug of peppermint tea. Here’s what I managed to read:

Fiction: 3     Non-Fiction: 1     Poetry: 0

I am pleased I had another classic time in April. First I read the delightful, small town classic Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. I have been meaning to read something by Gaskell for years and now I have, I can’t wait to read more! Then after enjoying the charming children’s classic Five Children and It, this month I decided to return to Edith Nesbit’s Psammead fantasy series with The Phoenix and the Carpet. That’s another 2 books off my Classics Club list this month, while the Nesbit is also perfect for the Women’s Classic Literature Event and Once Upon A Time X.

From the past to the future – this month I also finally got round to reading gripping, science-fiction drama The Martian by Andy Weir. I am late to the party as always, as this was a bestseller and lit up many of my favourite blogs last year. I thought it was a brilliant and surprisingly funny, and I am now excited to watch the film adaptation starring Matt Damon.

Alongside these fictions I also read Christian non-fiction Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong which offers good, practical advice about how a Christian woman can face change – it certainly got me thinking and feeling a little more confident about dealing with change myself.

Pick of the Month: The Martian

That is 4 books completed in April. During the month I have also been dipping in and out of a history of Henry IV by Chris Given-Wilson and Christian devotional Let God’s Word Empower Your Prayers by Stormie Omartian. Then right at the end of the month I started historical-fiction Turn of the Tide by Margaret Skea.

In May I am looking forward to celebrating my little brother’s 18th birthday, catching up on my reviews and more happy reading.

What did you do and read in April? Do you have any plans for May?

The Classics Club: Monthly Meme #40

The Classics Club

Each month The Classics Club releases a question to get club members thinking, discussing and sharing; either on the official site or their own. This month’s question is a new one contributed by club member, Joseph @ The Once Lost Wanderer (who joined in May 2014):

“What is your most ‘treasured’ book…not the story…the physical book? Maybe a valuable first or early edition, or an autographed copy, or a family heirloom, or a gift, or maybe just the favorite binding or cover art.”

This one is easy for me, my most treasured book has to be this 1979 Unwin paperback copy of the fantasy, children’s classic The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien:

Friday Face-Off #2

This battered and well-loved 1979 Unwin copy of The Hobbit, illustrated with ‘Conversation with Smaug’ by J R R Tolkien, is the copy my father has owned since he was a child. It has, probably not the most attractive, brown background, creases, bent corners and yellowed pages but I love it! While I own a newer, shinier and golden, hardback edition of The Hobbit, it is this old copy I find myself turning to time and time again. Most of the appeal of this copy is the fond memories I have of my father reading this to me, a chapter a night, when I was about 5 or 6 years old. And for that reason this old 1979 Unwin copy will always have a place in my heart and home.

What is your most treasured book?