Goodbye February, Hello March

February 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? February has been another cold month here in the UK, with some extreme days of rain and days of bright sunshine. Did mean it was another good month for me tucking myself in bed early with a good book though. Here is what I have managed to finish:

Fiction: 4     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

I started the month off by finishing Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, my 28th read off my Classics Club list. A slow read about the glitzy and gritty lives of 1920’s American socialites in Europe. In parallel to Tender is the Night I read The Book of Jonah by Joshua Max Feldman. An often dark and sad contemporary fiction with an Old Testament twist.

Next for a change of pace and mood I re-read The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien. An intricate, epic, and enchanting tale that brought magic and comfort into the recent cold days. Still in a comfort read mood I next read the children’s classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, my 29th read off my Classics Club list. Another delightful read for the recent cold days; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Alongside these fictions I also read two non-fictions. First the memoir Our Zoo by June Mottershead. A nostalgic, touching and inspiring memoir which I was inspired to read after watching the BBC drama. Then faith non-fiction The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot an interesting look into the founding fathers of Christianity; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: The Fellowship of the Ring

And those are just the books I finished. A new aim for 2015 for me is to always have a classic on the go so after finishing The Secret Garden I returned to my favourite sleuth in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. I have also not quite finished urban fantasy World Below by Mike Phillips yet (although by the time this post goes out I am hoping I will have finished).

I am looking forward to more good reading, Mother’s day, and my father’s birthday in March.

What did you do and read in February?

Meme: Top 10 Literary Heroines

Blog Page #4

I have never taken part in the weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme which is organized by The Broke and the Bookish before but I saw this week’s topic: Top 10 Heroines and just had to give it a go. Here are my choices (in alphabetical order):

1. Arya Stark – The Song of Ice and Fire series
Arya is a young and spunky tom boy more interested in swords, fighting and revenge rather than dolls and dresses.

2. Elinor Dashwood – Sense and Sensibility
Elinor is loving, patient, practical and stoic. I particularly admire how she conceals her own pain to support and comfort her sister.

3. Emma Woodhouse – Emma
Emma is young, beautiful, rich and witty. Amusingly Emma doesn’t always make the right decisions but I feel that in her heart she usually has the best intentions.

4. Eowyn – The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Eowyn is a young and beautiful princess who is able to care, tend and govern her people but when needed can also fight for them.

5. Hermione Granger – the Harry Potter series
Hermione is clever, hard working and loyal. Best at home in the library but still prepared to defend her friends, family and those weaker than others when the going gets tough.

6. Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games trilogy
Katniss is not perfect but she is tough and hard working, and fiercely loyal to her family; sacrificing herself to the games to save her little sister.

7. Lisbeth Salander – the Millennium trilogy
Lisbeth is a young, alternative loner. Tough, strong, clever and resourceful Lisbeth needs nobody and isn’t someone to mess with!

8. Lucy Pevensie – The Chronicles of Narnia series
I like all the Pevensie siblings but Lucy is definitely my favourite. She is kind, loving, loyal and full of faith. If it wasn’t for Lucy they wouldn’t have found Narnia.

9. Lyra Belacqua – His Dark Materials trilogy
Lyra is another tom boy more interested in fighting, climbing and adventures rather than dolls, dresses and washing!

10. The March sisters – Little Women
I know its cheating but I can’t choose between the sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. I love them all for different reasons.

Do you love some of my choices too? What are your favourite heroines?

Meme: The Ultimate Book Tag

Blog Post #1

I was tagged by the lovely bookarahma to do this ultimate book tag meme. I’m afraid 25 questions was a bit too much for me but I was keen to take part so I’ve edited it down to my favourite 10 questions:

1) Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Sadly yes. If I read for longer than about half an hour I start to feel dizzy although fortunately never got bad enough to throw up. Rather not push it though.

2) Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

It is hard to pick just one author with a unique style. I am going to choose one of my favourite authors J R R Tolkien. I love how every word is precious to Tolkien and how he uses them perfectly to bring his characters, places and adventures alive.

3) Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books…)?

I don’t necessarily carry a book bag. My day-to-day bag however is a satchel so there is always plenty of room for purse, phone, keys, tissues, lip balm, food, drink, umbrella, a shopping bag, and of course a book or my kindle. I am often teased for being like Mary Poppins!

4) Do you smell your books?

Yes…don’t all book lovers?

5) Books with or without little illustrations?

I am happy with or without illustrations. If there are going to be illustrations though they need to be good and appropriate to the story.

6) What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

I think the thinnest book on my shelf is the play The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe dramatised by Adrian Mitchell which I used for my dissertation at university.

7) What is the thickest book on your shelf?

I think the thickest book on my shelf is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling.

8) When did you get into reading?

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated with books and reading. I come from a family of readers, although I do seem to have overtook them in my passion for it.

9) What is your favourite classic book?

Again it is hard to pick just one but I think I will have to go with the children’s classic The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien. I have fond memories of this book from my childhood and now I’m an adult too.

10) In school was your best subject Language/Arts/English?

My best subjects when I was at school were Drama, Food Technology (cooking) and English Language. Not English Literature though I think perhaps because I disliked picking novels apart which is still reflected in my simple blog posts today.

I am not going to tag anyone specifically. I will instead leave the tag open to anyone who would like to take part. If you do take part please come back and share a link.

New Books: February 2015

New Books - February #1

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

The Curse Keepers Collection by Denise Grover Swank
(including 3 novels and 3 prequel novellas)

The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland

Victorian Fairy Tales edited by Michael Newton

I received this really interesting mixture of fantasy and supernatural novels, novellas and short story collection for my Kindle from Netgalley.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

My father picked these up for me from an antique shop as they are first editions with the original cover art. My Potter books currently have several different covers which my OCD nature doesn’t like. These two books help me along to making one complete, matching set.

New Books - February #2

The Hairy Dieters: Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers

The Hairy Dieters: Good Eating by Si King & Dave Myers

For a while I have been keeping my eyes peeled for these cookbooks so when I saw them for only £8 each I had to get them. These are from the nation’s (UK) beloved ‘Hairy Biker’ chefs. I am not looking to lose weight particularly but I love how down to earth and well balanced these recipes are.

Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran

I also received this historical non-fiction for my Kindle from Netgalley. I just couldn’t resist clicking download as it’s about one of my favourite historical characters.

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

Goodbye January, Hello February

January 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? It has been a very cold month here in the UK, we’ve even had some snow. January has been brightened by several birthdays; including my own which I celebrated with a wonderful meal at my favourite Mediterranean restaurant. The cold has also promoted my reading as in the evening all I have wanted to do is tuck myself in bed with a good book. Here is what I have managed to finish:

Fiction: 4     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

I started the month off with Inferno another great thriller by Dan Brown. I loved re-uniting with Robert Langdon for an adventure following clues through the streets, buildings, and history of Florence, Italy. In parallel to Inferno I was dipping in and out of the classic Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. A slow and comforting read about life, love and death in a rural community in England’s past.

Next for a change of pace I read The Reflections of Queen Snow White an adult re-imagining of the classic fairy tale by David Meredith. A quick and interesting read. I also raced through Mariana another historical suspense by Susanna Kearsley. A wonderful dual time period novel set in the beautiful countryside that I simply didn’t want to put down.

Alongside these fictions I also read two non-fictions. First The Moor by William Atkins. A discussion of the geography, history, inhabitants, ownership and uses for the moors, and the literature and art they have inspired. Then Christian non-fiction Love So Amazing by Pam Rhodes a delightful and interesting reflection on 40 favourite hymns.

Pick of the Month: Inferno and Mariana

And those are just the books I finished. A new aim for 2015 for me is to always have a classic on the go so after finishing Shirley by Charlotte Brontë I moved on to Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald. I think so far it is my favourite by this author. I started reading the modern fiction The Book of Jonah by Joshua Max Feldman but half way through I have lost my enthusiasm, hopefully it comes back soon. I have also started a lovely memoir Our Zoo by June Mottershead; the youngest daughter of George Mottershead the founder of Chester Zoo.

What did you read in January?

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Blog 2014

Hello my fellow bookworms, Happy New Year! It is time to say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. Looking over my end of year reading stats I have much to be pleased with:

Books Read: 56           New Reads: 52              Re-Reads: 4

Fiction: 35                Non-Fiction: 20              Poetry: 1

In 2013 I finished 73 books so I am down this year. I think quite a lot of my losses can be put down to my college course. For which I read a fair amount of text books, reports and articles rather than books for pleasure. With 20 non-fictions read I can safely say I reached my goal to continue reading more non-fiction. My re-reads and multiple reads are down on last year though.

Multiple Reads of an Author: Cassandra Clare (3), Stormie Omartian (3), Terry Pratchett (3), C S Lewis (2), George R R Martin (2), Colleen Oakes (2).

Now for some fun meme questions I have used since I started this blog many moons ago to help me reflect on what I’ve been reading in 2014:

Best: I couldn’t possibly pick just one: Top 10 Reads of 2014

Most Surprising (In A Good Way!): Just After Sunset by Stephen King

Most Recommended-to-Others: The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

Best Series You Discovered: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Favourite New Authors Discovered: Colleen Oakes and Elizabeth Fremantle

Most Hilarious: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable: A Storm of Swords, Book 1 and 2 by George R R Martin

Most Anticipated: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Favourite Cover: The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald

Most Memorable Character: Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

Most Beautifully Written: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

Had the Greatest Impact: Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful by Laurie Wallin

Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2014 to Read: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum

This year I didn’t find it too difficult to pick one or two for each category but. there are as usual plenty more wonderful authors and books that I read in 2014 which didn’t manage to make it into this meme.

Ambitions for 2014: I hope to continue to make good progress through my Classics Club list. I would also like to make more time for re-reads and favourite authors.

How was 2014 for you? What are your aims for 2015?

Top 10 Reads of 2014

Blog 2014

Hello my fellow bookworms the end of 2014 is upon us. I can’t believe it myself 2014 seems to have flown by but whether I believe it or not it is time to choose my top 10 reads of the year. After much thought here are my choices (ordered alphabetically by author):

1. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
A sweeping historic and romantic adventure in France which I could hardly put down. Film and TV adaptations had left me with high expectations fortunately the novel easily lived up to them.

2. The Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle
A well written and fascinating look into the intrigues and lives of those living under the shadow of treason in the Tudor period. I would like to read more by Elizabeth Fremantle.

3. A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard
Another beautiful tale of the love, life, and death from an author rapidly becoming one of my favourites.

4. A Storm of Swords, Book 1 and 2 by George R R Martin
Another excellent epic fantasy adventure full of action, adventure, intrigue, love, war, lies, fighting, secrets, and shocks! I look forward to reading more of A Song of Ice and Fire series.

5. Queen of Hearts, Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Colleen Oakes
A clever and detailed reimagining of Wonderland through the eyes of Dinah the future Queen of Hearts. A new series and author for me. Roll on volume 3.

6. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
A wonderfully fun, colourful and thought provoking adventure from a beloved author.

7. The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart
A wonderful romantic suspense in the exotic and beautiful setting of Lebanon; it was a perfect read for the start of Autumn.

8. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
A delightful and eccentric adventure around the world in days gone by. I wasn’t sure about this before I started reading it but I was pleasantly surprised.

9. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
A beautifully told memoir of a lonely and unusual childhood but with hints of hope and humour. I feared it would be a too depressing read but instead found it to be a well balanced read.

10. A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley
An interesting and enjoyable non-fiction looking into the British obsession with a good murder mystery. As a fan of the murder mystery myself I found it all fascinating.

2014 has been another good reading year for me. I have finished fewer books but still plenty of enjoyable reads to try to trim down to just ten. It was difficult and yes I cheated a wee bit as two of my choices are actually two books; I thought it acceptable though as they continue the same story. I shouldn’t complain though it is a very good thing to have so many books to choose from.

What were your favourite reads of 2014?