New Books: September 2016


Hello my fellow bookworms, I had such a splurge of new books in August that some books have had to be carried over into this month’s post. Here are those other goodies I have added to my bookshelf:

Dreaming Spires by Laurie R. King

The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

Jingo by Terry Pratchett

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

At the end of August, I had another chance to browse in some of my favourite bookshops. In the St. Giles Hospice bookshop I snapped up four books. First, two more of Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mysteries which I have been keeping my eyes peeled for, after enjoying The Beekeeper’s Apprentice earlier this year. Secondly, I am always looking to add to my Pratchett collection and this time I found two books; both of which are new-for-me.

The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans

Then at the end of the long Summer break from work, I went to visit my mother who asked if I fancied reading this. I have never read anything by Evans before but the synopsis mentions a big, country house with a mystery; how could I not give it a try?!

Do you fancy any of these? What new book purchases have you made recently?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Gothic Books

Blog - Top Ten Tuesday

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

Top Ten ALL TIME Favourite Books Of X Genre

As the leaves turn gold, the weather cools and the night’s draw in it is the perfect time for an atmospheric, gothic novel, so here are 10 of my all time favourites (ordered alphabetical by author):

~ 1 ~

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I found it so amusing to follow the young heroine, Catherine, as her imagination runs a mock with decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes and tyrannical fathers. A witty and satirical twist on the gothic novel.

~ 2 ~

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

A stark, wild and passionate tale of Catherine and Heathcliff’s destructive love – set out on the cold, isolated moors. What could be better than curling up in a blanket with this as the wind howls outside?

~ 3 ~

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

I wouldn’t class all of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales as gothic but this novella takes us out to an isolated house on the misty moors with a legend of a diabolical hound. Gothic brilliance!

~ 4 ~

We have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

A slow and creeping tale of ‘Merricat’ and her sister Constance who live an isolated life after a family tragedy; hated and feared by their neighbours. Just describing it to you sent a little shiver up my spine!

~ 5 ~

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

While at university, I read this chilling novella, about an isolated country home with a dark past, in one sitting. Are there ghosts or is the young governess losing her sanity?! I emerged from this gripping tale to find it had gone pitch dark around me!

~ 6 ~

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The new Mrs de Winter is swept off her feet by dashing widower, Maxim, and brought to his country estate, Manderley. Only to find reminders and memories of his dead wife, Rebecca, everywhere; she almost seems to haunt her very steps! I long to return to Manderley…

~ 7 ~

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Perhaps my favourite of them all! This is chilling, scientific horror that tells the tale of Dr Frankenstein and the creature, some would say monster, he creates. All told in some of the most beautiful language.

~ 8 ~

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart

Tourists at the idyllic Camasunary Hotel on the quiet Isle of Skye are dragged out of their restive vacation by a series of brutal murders. A much lighter option than the rest on this list, however I think the beautiful descriptions of this old, isolated community and the rugged scenery means it is still very worthy of the label of gothic.

~ 9 ~

Dracula by Bram Stoker

This book hardly needs any introduction, as it is the first and probably best known vampire novel. From Castle Dracula in Transylvania to the storm whipped, coastal town of Whitby with the Abbey perched on the cliffs…pure gothic settings!

~ 10 ~

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The dazzling and repulsive tale of Dorian Gray, who sells his soul for eternal youth, beauty and good health – his dark secret only revealed in his portrait which he hides away in the attic

Have you read any of these? What is your favourite gothic novel? Also, link in the comments if you have also taken part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic.

Adaptations: August 2016

Blog - Adaptations

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adaptations I’ve enjoyed, over the month of August, on the big and small screen:

Penny Dreadful (Series 3)
Read     TV Series     Television

The 3rd, final and best season of this lavish, gothic horror series! That brings alive the classic, horror characters of Dr Frankenstein and his monster, Renfield, Dr Jekyll, Dorian Gray and Dracula. Who join a host of original characters too, for the final, dark, gory and thrilling showdown on the streets of Victorian London. With a strong ensemble cast, including: Eva Green, Timothy Dalton and Josh Hartnett.


Vikings (Series 3)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

Epic, historical drama inspired by the legendary Norse sagas of Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok. After successful raids in the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia in Britain, Ragnar sets his sights on a new prize…Paris! Another gripping watch full of battles, politics, family, lust, lies and faith, with a strong ensemble cast. I can’t wait for more!


The Martian (2015)
Read     Film     Television

Science-fiction drama, based on David Weir’s popular 2011 novel, that chronicles the heart-racing, against-the-clock race to rescue astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) from Mars. A visually stunning film with a stellar ensemble cast, which made me gasp and laugh in equal measure!


Suicide Squad (2016)
Not Read     Film     Cinema

A new, action-packed superhero film, featuring DC Comics antihero characters: Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo and Enchantress. I had heard many negatives feelings about this film however I am so glad I still gave it a go, because I thought it was a fun spin on a superhero film with a really cool soundtrack.


The Musketeers (Series 3)
Read     TV Series     Television

I have been looking forward to the return of this swashbuckling adventure series from the BBC , which colourfully brings alive Alexandre Dumas’ classic characters: d’Artagnan, Athos, Aramis and Porthos. A fun watch with great camaraderie, beautiful costumes and a good ensemble cast.


That’s 5 adaptations watched in August. Not my highest month but it has got to be some of the best quality television I have got to watch in a row for ages! While I still have plenty more to look forward to as, on my Sky+ box, I still have Wayward Pines (Series 2), Black Sails (Series 2) and brand new series Outcast and The Secret Agent to watch.

As for non-adaptations, I have been to the cinema to see the visually stunning Star Trek Beyond (2016)**. While on my television from Sky Box Sets I downloaded: the Manson-inspired crime series Aquarius (Series 1)*** which stars David Duchovny and from Sky Cinema I downloaded: the gothic film Crimson Peak (2015)** from director Guillermo del Toro; terrifying!

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

Challenge: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI


(Thanks to Hugo Award winning artist Abigail Larson for the use of her art)

September is upon us my fellow bookworms which means we can look forward to cooler days, golden leaves, darker nights and taking part in the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI event; hosted by the lovely Carl V. I love this event as it perfectly embodies all the literature most associated with Autumn: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural.

Books I would like to read off my bookshelf:

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
The Quarry by Iain Banks
O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King
Innocence by Dean Koontz
A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin
Drood by Dan Simmons

Books I would like to read off my Kindle:

Acqua Morta by Adam Bane
Blood on the Bayou D J Donaldson
The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
Civil Blood by Mark Gelineau & Joe King
Cauldstane by Linda Gillard
The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank

There are even more books I could choose, but I couldn’t list them all here! This event runs from 1st September to 31st October 2016. I have signed up for Peril the First level, which means I am aiming to read 4 books for the event. I am look forward to seeing what I will end up reading.

Are you taking part in the event this year? What are you hoping to read?

Challenge: 10 Books of Summer (Wrap-Up)

10 Books of Summer

The 1st September has arrived, which means summer is officially over and I have come to the end of the 10 Books of Summer challenge; hosted by the lovely Cathy at 746 Books. I feel I have had a great summer of reading but I also think I blinked and missed it! So let’s have a look at what I actually managed to read:

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M Harris

The Gospel of Loki

This is the first novel I have read by Joanne M Harris – I was particularly interested in this one because of my childhood love of Norse Mythology and I thought this was a really interesting and refreshing twist on these ancient tales of gods, giants and monsters.


The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code

I finally got round to reading Brown’s second thrilling adventure to star Robert Langdon – this time he delves into the history, art and symbols of Leonardo da Vinci and the secrets of the Priory of Scion.


Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver

Master of Shadows

Having enjoyed many documentaries presented by historian Neil Oliver I was interested to read his debut novel – I found it to be a detailed and very realistic historical adventure, that swept me back to the bloody downfall of Constantinople.


Trouble at the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn

Trouble at the Little Village School

The second novel in Phinn’s charming Barton-in-the-Dale series which continues the touching and humorous tale of a small school and village.


Wendy Darling, Volume I: Stars by Colleen Oakes

Wendy Darling

After loving Oakes’ previous novels, I was excited to read this; the start of her new, young adult series. My expectations may have been a bit high, however I did find this to be an enjoyable fantasy adventure in an expanded, detailed and magical re-imagining of Neverland.


The School Inspector Calls! by Gervase Phinn

The School Inspector Calls!

As you can see, I didn’t wait long to read the third novel in Phinn’s charming Barton-in-the-Dale series which continues the touching and humorous tale of a small school and village.


A House Divided by Margaret Skea


Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye


While I finished reading these two great books my full thoughts are still to be posted. Keep your eyes peeled!

Which means I have read …


I am really pleased with my result this year and while I didn’t finish it I am also a good way into my 9th book: The Queen’s Choice by Anne O’Brien. That means it is only A Feast for Crows by George R R Martin which I haven’t picked up off my list – I am sure I will be picking it up very soon though! Last year, I read 6 books and I was reading my 7th which I was pleased with; especially as it was my first year taking part in this challenge. So I am even more pleased with my progress this year. Bring on next year!

Have you read any of these books? Did you take part in this challenge?

Goodbye August, Hello September 2016

August 2016

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? While there have been a few rainy days, on the whole here in the UK we have been enjoying a few weeks of lovely, sunny weather – just what I needed over my long summer break from work. This break has not only been good for my soul but has been brilliant for my reading too. Here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 4          Non-Fiction: 2

In August, I again made good progress through my list for the 10 Books of Summer challenge. First, I read the light and  comforting The School Inspector Calls! by Gervase Phinn; the third book in the Barton-in-the-Dale series. Next, I was swept back to 16th century Scotland reading historical fiction A House Divided by Margaret Skea; her second Munro novel. And, finally I stayed in the past with Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye; a gripping historical mystery inspired by Jane Eyre. My thoughts on these last two books are still to be posted.

That’s 3 more books read off my 10 Books of Summer list and the end of August also means this challenge has come to an end too – I will post a full round up of the challenge later today. I also ticked another title off my Classics Club list by reading the charming, comedy-of-errors Mr Harrison’s Confessions by Elizabeth Gaskell; another tale set in a small, provincial town from The Cranford Chronicles.

Alongside these fictions I also read two non-fictions. First, I read an interesting and comprehensive history, The Secret Poisoner by Linda Stratmann. Which delved into the murders and poisons that shook the Victorian world. Then at the end of the month, I finished the thought-provoking, Christian non-fiction The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. This is the first choice for my church’s book club which starts in September. My full thoughts on this book are still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: A House Divided and The Circle Maker

That is another 6 books finished in August which is great! I also started reading historical fiction The Queen’s Choice by Anne O’Brien and the classic, adventure The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas.

In September, I will be starting back at work with a new Year 5 class. I am also looking forward to attending a Comic Fest and I have tickets to see ‘The Woman in Black’ at a local theatre.

What did you do and read in August? Do you have any plans for September?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Read at School

Blog - Top Ten Tuesday

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

Back To School Freebie

Which means we can do anything “back to school” related – I have decided to share with you a selection of 10 books, plays and poems I was required to read back when I was at school (ordered alphabetically):

~ 1 ~

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

A children’s novel which was first published in 1962 and features an alternative history of England, where rural areas are terrorised by packs of wolves. I read this early on in secondary school but other than I enjoyed it I don’t remember a great deal about it.

~ 2 ~

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

A nonsense poem included in the children’s novel Through the Looking Glass; Alice’s second adventure in Wonderland. I also read this early on in secondary school and thought it was so much fun!

~ 3 ~

The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy

A short story which was first published in 1888. I read this later in secondary school, as I was getting ready to take my GCSEs. I found it really depressing and it put me off reading anything else by Hardy for years.

~ 4 ~

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A Pulitzer Prize winning, American novel which was first published in 1960, that tackles the issues of race, class, courage, compassion and gender in the American ‘Deep South’. This was one of my set GCSE texts in secondary school – I thought it was a powerful and touching read.

~ 5 ~

A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller

An American play that, after revision, premiered in 1956 and chronicles life in the Italian American neighbourhood in New York, which sits in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. I read this in secondary school but I sadly don’t remember a great deal about it.

~ 6 ~

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

A narrative poem that follows the exploits of the highwayman and his one true love, set in 18th century England and first published in 1906. A beautiful, tragic tale that I first read in primary school and it has stayed with me all these years.

~ 7 ~

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

A Carnegie Medal winning, children’s time-slip novel that was first published in 1958. A charming tale of Tom’s adventures in the past – I have very fond memories of Mr Lord, in primary school, reading this to the class at the end of long, cold school day.

~ 8 ~

An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley

Priestley’s best known play that critiques Edwardian society in England, when out of the blue an inspector comes to call on a prosperous upper middle-class family, which had it’s UK premiere in 1946. Another one of my set GCSE texts in secondary school which is still one of my favourite plays!

~ 9 ~

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Elizabethan tragedy that follows the fate of two young star-crossed lovers – a play known, read and performed all over the world! Another one of my set GCSE texts in secondary school, however school almost put me off it for life as we read it 4 out of our 5 years there! Fortunately I came to appreciate it again in college.

~ 10 ~

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

An American novella that follows two ranch hands struggling through the Great Depression in the USA. My final set GCSE text in secondary school which was another touching, tragic and powerful read.

What books did you read at school? Also, please let me know and link in the comments if you have taken part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic.