Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… Novellas & Short Stories

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:

Favourite Novellas/Short Stories

Now and again, I think we all crave a novella we can finish in one sitting or a short story collection that we can easily dip in and out of when time is tight. So here are ten of my favourite novellas and/or short stories:

  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – The timeless, warm-hearted tale of the ghostly and redemptive journey one-night of the infamous miser Ebenezer Scrooge.
  2. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle – A gothic, atmospheric Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson mystery out on the foggy, lonely moors, in search of a diabolical hound.
  3. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell – A touching and charming tale that follows the lives of the women of Cranford, a small rural town in Victorian England.
  4. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – The classic, gothic horror that follows a governess as she desperately fears the house is haunted or that she might be losing her mind!
  5. A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle – The first Sherlock Holmes short story, from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collection, which also introduces the infamous Irene Adler,
  6. Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King – A gripping, kick-ass opener to Gelineau’s and King’s crime noir thread of their epic fantasy series, Echo of the Ascended.
  7. The Birds by Daphne du Maurier – The atmospheric, gothic horror novelette about birds attacking humans, that went on to inspire Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film.
  8. High House by Rosy Thornton – One of my favourites from the sixteen short stories in Thornton’s gentle and magical Sandlands collection, that focuses on the creatures and people of the Suffolk landscape.
  9. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – A short, modern masterpiece which introduces us to Antoinette Cosway, who will fatefully go on to be the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
  10. Even in the Cannon’s Mouth by Adrian Tchaikovsky – My favourite from the five Shakespearian-inspired short stories in the fantastic Monstrous Little Voices collection, edited by David Thomas Moore.

What do you think of my choices? What are your favourite novellas and short stories? Also, please link in your post in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far)

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:

Best Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far)

I have been fortunate to be blessed, although in lower numbers, with some quality reading thus far this year. Here are ten books I have enjoyed the most:

  1. The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier – A gripping, gothic suspense, which had me time-travelling back to the wild, dangerous Cornwall of the 1300s.
  2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi – An eye-opening look at Islam and an inspiring tale of finding the peace in Jesus.
  3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë – A beautifully written classic, with engaging characters, that cleverly explores the societal troubles, strifes and wrongs of the time.
  4. God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew – An inspiring and thrilling tale of one man’s truly awesome faith and mission, which also made for a wonderful discussion point at my book club meeting.
  5. Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver – A collection of great new and traditional recipes for all the family with a super food twist.
  6. Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir – A powerful tale of a courageous woman, that completely immersed me into tumultuous Tudor England.
  7. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory – Another brilliantly written and researched piece of historical fiction, which, while it lacked the romance and magic I loved from The White Queen, it did grip me from beginning to end!
  8. The Hairy Dieters (5) Go Veggie by Si King & Dave Myers – A great collection of vegetarian recipes. I look forward to trying them.
  9. Queen of Hearts, Volume 3: War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes –  A fitting and very satisfying ending to this clever and refreshing re-imagining of Wonderland.
  10. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King – Another nostalgic and thrilling mystery. I look forward to reading more from this series.

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

Meme: Six in Six 2018

With us saying goodbye to June on Sunday it means we are now half way through 2018 and it is time for the seventh Six in Six meme, the brain child of Jo at The Book Jotter. Which I think is a great way to reflect back on our reading so far. So here are my six authors/books in six different categories from the last six months:

Six new authors to me:

  1. Nabeel Qureshi, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
  2. Lee Strobel, The Case for Grace
  3. Michael R. Miller, The Dragon’s Blade: The Reborn King
  4. Mingmei Yip, Peach Blossom Pavilion
  5. Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  6. Peter Bartram, Headline Murder

Six authors I have read before:

  1. Karen Maitland, The Plague Charmer
  2. Laurie R. King, A Monstrous Regiment of Women
  3. Geoffrey Trease, Seven Kings of England
  4. Alison Weir, Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen
  5. Philippa Gregory, The Red Queen
  6. Colleen Oakes, War of the Cards

Six series of books read, continued or started:

  1. A Very Brief History series, Mark Black
  2. Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Laurie R. King
  3. The Dragon’s Blade trilogy, Michael R. Miller
  4. Six Tudor Queens series, Alison Weir
  5. Cousins’ War series, Philippa Gregory
  6. Queen of Hearts trilogy, Colleen Oakes

Six non-fictions I have read:

  1. Super Food Family Classics, Jamie Oliver
  2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi
  3. The Hairy Dieters (5) Go Veggie, Si King & Dave Myers
  4. Seven Kings of England, Geoffrey Trease
  5. God’s Smuggler, Brother Andrew
  6. Vanishing Grace, Philip Yancey

Six fictions I have read:

  1. The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman [Re-Read]
  2. Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen, Alison Weir
  3. This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. Hazard of Shadows, Mike Phillips
  5. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë
  6. The House on the Strand, Daphne du Maurier

Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year:

  1. Joanna Hickson, First of the Tudors
  2. Susanna Kearsley, Season of Storms
  3. Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
  4. Jodi Taylor, Just One Damned Thing After Another
  5. M C Beaton, Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage
  6. John A. Heldt, Indiana Belle

What books and authors have you enjoyed so far this year? Please let me know if you have taken part in this meme too.

Goodbye June, Hello July 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are well? Surprisingly, here in the UK, we have been in a blistering heat-wave for the last week or so. As well as the scorching temperatures, I have been far too busy for reading out on the patio. With three school trips; the busy wind-down to the end of term, and applying for new jobs. Plus I enjoyed an Olly Murs tribute & curry night and booked my summer holiday! During all that this is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 1          Non-Fiction: 1

First this month, I finished reading Christian non-fiction Vanishing Grace by best-selling evangelical author, Philip Yancey. A thought-provoking and sometimes challenging read, which made for a very interesting discussion at my church’s June book club meeting. Then I got my 10 Books of Summer reading challenge started with the gripping, gothic suspense The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier, which had me time-travelling back to the wild, dangerous Cornwall of the 1300s. So while a slow start in numbers, it was a cracking start for quality. I’m afraid I am really behind on my reviews though, so you will have to wait for my full thoughts on both of these.

Pick of the Month: The House on the Strand

Altogether that is just two books finished, which makes this my new, lowest month of the year! Clearly I have just been too busy! However through out June, I have been reading non-fiction Charles II, Biography of an Infamous King by John Miller and the swashbuckling classic Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari. Then at the end of the month, I started reading Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christopher Nicole and The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen (for my church’s next book club meeting).

In July, I look forward, bitter-sweetly, to the end of term, the summer holidays and hopefully reading more!

What did you do and read in June? What are your plans for July?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10… Books on My Summer TBR

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 to Read By the Pool/At the Beach
(This can also serve as your summer TBR)

There are many wonderful books awaiting me on my bookshelf and Kindle, however here are ten books, ordered alphabetically, I am looking forward to reading this summer, as part of my 10 Books of Summer challenge:

  1. Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir – After loving Katherine of Aragon, I look forward to continuing Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series.
  2. Cauldstane by Linda Gillard – I have three of the wonderful Gillard’s women’s fictions on my Kindle. Of those three I fancy this the most.
  3. Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christopher Nicole – I am looking forward to this, the first book in Nicole’s historical saga about this famous queen.
  4. Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt – I am hoping for another light, time-travel romance from Heldt – Perfect for the summer holidays.
  5. The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier – In your kind comments this seemed to have the edge on Frenchmen’s Creek for me to read next.
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I look forward to starting a re-read of this thrilling YA trilogy, preferably in the sun please.
  7. Lives of Notorious Cooks by Brendan Connell – This set of fictional biographies of famous chefs through the ages sounds fascinating.
  8. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen – This highly acclaimed book is the next read for my church’s book club.
  9. Seven Sovereign Queens by Geoffrey Trease – After reading Seven Kings of England, I am interested to find out more about some famous queens.
  10. Sourcery by Terry Pratchett – Simply because a summer TBR without Pratchett and his madcap Discworld doesn’t seem right!

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

Goodbye May, Hello June 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are well? Happily, here in the UK, there have been many more days of sunshine to indulge in reading on the patio this month, as well as some spectacular thunderstorms! I have also celebrated several birthdays; had a trip to Drayton Manor theme park; and enjoyed a few days on the south coast, during the half term break, with my mum. All in all a good month. Here’s what I have been reading in the sun:

Fiction: 5          Non-Fiction: 0

First this month, I read the brilliant Queen of Hearts, Volume 3: War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes, the long-awaited finale to Oakes’ twisted, young adult re-imagining of Wonderland. Next I lost myself in the historical fiction Peach Blossom Pavilion by Mingmei Yip, with its exotic setting and heart-breaking tale. Then at the end of the month, I started and finished within a few days, the cosy crime Headline Murder by Peter Bartram, which is the first book to follow journalist Colin Crampton and his investigations back in 1960s Brighton.

Also this month, I finished my slow but steady read of the classic The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë, a wonderful novel I felt I needed to take my time with, and I finished my re-read via Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Audiobook) by J.K. Rowling and narrated by the hilarious Stephen Fry, which I have been enjoying immensely while I do my ironing. However you may have noticed I finished no non-fiction this month! Although, for the best part of the month, I have had two longer, heftier non-fictions on the go.

As well as a quality month of reading this was a very productive month too. As Queen of Hearts, Volume 3: War of the Cards and Peach Blossom Pavilion ticked off two categories on my What’s in a Name 2018 reading challenge. While The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was my March spin result and my second book off my new Classics Club list. However I am not up-to-date with my reviews, mainly because a lot of these books I finished right at the end of the month. So you have three May reviews to look forward to in June.

Pick of the Month: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Altogether that is fives books finished, which is up on the previous few months and equals the earlier months of January and February. Carrying on into June, I have non-fictions: Charles II, Biography of an Infamous King by John Miller and Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey (for my church’s next book club meeting).

In June, I look forward to starting my 10 Books of Summer reading challenge with The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier and continuing my Classics Club reading with Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari. Plus I have a WWII school trip (I am planning to dress up as a land girl), an Olly Murs tribute night and my book club meeting to discuss Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey. Looks like it could be another good month.

What did you do and read in May? What are your plans for June?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… Bookish Worlds to Live/Not Live In

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:

Bookish Worlds I’d Want to/Never Want to Live In

With my love of the fantasy genre I just had to share with you five fantasy bookish worlds I would love to live in and five I would not like to live in!

I’d want to live in:

  1. The Wizarding World – I would have absolutely loved to have got my Hogwarts letter, so I could have joined Harry and his friends in J K Rowling’s magical world.
  2. Narnia – Likewise, as a child, I kept crawling to the back of wardrobes hoping to find my way into C S Lewis’ land of magic and talking animals, but sadly to no avail.
  3. Neverland – Who wouldn’t like to fly away with Peter Pan for adventures with Tinker Bell, the lost boys, pirates, mermaids, Indians and a ticking crocodile on a stunning island?!
  4. Middle-Earth – When reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit I want nothing more than to join the merry half-elves of Rivendell, as they sing and dance, and swim in the streams and pools of their secret valley.
  5. Discworld – It might be a bit of a crazy ride in Terry Pratchett’s magic, weird and fantastical world but it would never be dull!

I’d never want to live In:

  1. Panem – The brutal world of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, where a totalitarian government forces children to fight each other to death for entertainment, sounds like no place for me.
  2. Westeros – There are some truly awe-inspiring places in George R R Martin’s epic creation, but I just don’t think I’d survive five seconds in this cut-throat world of politics, intrigue, war and murder!
  3. All-World – As much I loved travelling with Roland and his Ka-tet through Stephen King’s warped and dangerously fractious world, as above, I don’t think I could survive it!
  4. Middle-Earth – While I love Rivendell in The Hobbit later in The Lord of the Rings this beautiful place is threatened by an immortal dark lord, a traitorous wizard and their armies of merciless orcs.
  5. Wonderland – Finally, I think Lewis Carroll’s twisted, surreal world, which Alice finds through the rabbit hole, would send me as crazy as the Mad Hatter himself!

What do you think of my choices? What bookish worlds would you want to/never want to live In? Also, please leave a link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.