Goodbye July, Hello August 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are well? I am sorry it has been so quiet on here recently – I have just had little to no time to write or read posts with the crazy-busy end of term at school and the bitter-sweet goodbye to a wonderful year group and school. Then almost immediately I jetted off for an absolutely amazing holiday in stunning Norway. With all that going on, here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 3          Non-Fiction: 2

First in July, I read the gripping and rather racy historical fiction, Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christopher Nicole, the first book in a series about this infamous lady. I have the second book, Queen of Love, ready and waiting on my Kindle. For a complete change, I then read Sourcery by Terry Pratchett, the fifth magic, weird, fun instalment in Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld series. I can’t believe I waited so long to read another one of these! Finally, during my holiday, I lost myself in the Italian classic, Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari, his second swashbuckling adventure I have enjoyed.

Alongside these fictions, I also read two non-fictions in July. First the Christian non-fiction, The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen for my church’s book club. Then right at the end of the month, I finally finished the hefty biography of Charles II by John Miller, which I have had on the go since March! However I am so behind on writing reviews that all five of these are still waiting to be posted about. Hopefully I will catch up over the rest of the summer holidays.

Pick of the Month: Sourcery and Sandokan

Altogether that is five books finished which includes twos book off my 10 Books of Summer list; one book off my new Classics Club list and another book towards my What’s in a Name 2018 reading challenge. So I think July was a very good reading month. Also, at the end of the month, I started reading time travelling romance Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt, the fifth book in Heldt’s American Journey series.

In August, I look forward to a good rest, visiting my mum and more great reading. I also hope to catch up with my reviews and reading your posts too!

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


New Books: May & June 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, I have another combined post here for you. In May and June, here are the goodies I have added to my Kindle and shelves:

Queen of the North by Anne O’Brien

A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland

The Tudor Crown by Joanna Hickson

At the end of May, I was lucky enough to have my requests for these three historical fictions granted. After recently enjoyed The Shadow Queen by Anne O’Brien, The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland and First of the Tudors by Joanna Hickson, I am super excited to read these new books of theirs.

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Moving on into June, I downloaded the discounted Collins Classics’ Kindle edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress and ordered a bargain, second-hand copy of The Return of the Prodigal Son from World of Books. Both for my church’s book club.

The Black Corsair by Emilio Salgari

The Queen of the Caribbean by Emilio Salgari

Then I was thrilled to be contacted again by the translator, Nico Lorenzutti about two more Italian classics. After enjoying Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem, I am looking forward to more swashbuckling adventures. As these are classics too, I have added them to my Classics Club list too.

Knowing Max by James Long

Finally, through Endeavour Press’ weekly e-newsletter, I snapped up a free copy of this historical fiction, because some years ago now, I loved Long’s bestselling time-slip novel Ferney.

Do you fancy any of these? What new books have you got recently?

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017

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 New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2017

Last year, I was blessed to read and enjoy many new-to-me authors and here are ten of my favourites (ordered alphabetically by surname) and their books I read from across the year:

  1. Catherine Curzon – her light and fun, historical fiction The Mistress of Blackstairs was just what I needed on my flight home from Rome.
  2. Kevin DeYoung – for my church’s book club in November I read his short, down-to-earth and helpful Christian non-fiction, Crazy Busy.
  3. John Ortberg – my first read of the year for my church’s book club was his thought provoking Christian non-fiction, If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
  4. Chris Packham – the much loved naturalist and TV personality’s memoir, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar was a powerful and emotional read for me.
  5. Emilio Salgari – his Italian classic Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem was a rip-roaring adventure and a great escapist read for me.
  6. Trish Sebben-Krupka – brought me lots of new yummy vegetarian recipes in her excellent Plant Based Cookbook.
  7. Jodi Taylor – her fantastical, time-travelling romp Just One Damned Thing After Another was the perfect easy read for my holiday.
  8. Rosy Thornton – I just had to read her wonderful short story collection Sandlands after hearing such praise from other bloggers.
  9. Geoffrey Trease – I took a chance Seven Stages his history about seven influential figures from the stage and found it absolutely fascinating.
  10. William Paul Young – In February for my church’s book club I read his inspirational and controversial, international bestseller, The Shack.

Have you read any of my choices? What new-to-you authors did you read in 2017? Also, please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

Challenge: 10 Books of Summer 2017 (End)

While I was on holiday, the 1st September came and went, which saw the officially end of Summer and the 10 Books of Summer challenge. I feel I have had a great Summer of reading, however I also think I blinked and missed it! So let’s have a look at what I actually managed to read:

Sandlands by Rosy Thornton


First of the Tudors by Joanna Hickson


Pyramids by Terry Pratchett


Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari


Wendy Darling, Volume 3: Shadow by Colleen Oakes


The White Queen by Philippa Gregory


The Lioness and the Spellspinners by Cheryl Mahoney


Northern Lights by Philip Pullman [Re-Read]


The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle


(While I finished reading these two last books, I am behind on my reviews, so keep your eyes peeled for my full thoughts on them.)

Which means I have read …


I am really pleased with my result this year and while I didn’t quite finish I am up on both my previous years. The only book I didn’t get round to was A Dance with Dragons, Part 1 by George R R Martin, which I chose not to read because I was still watching the newest series of the hit TV series, Game of Thrones, as I feared I might get confused. Having made progress each year and enjoyed some fab reading, bring on next year!

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

New Books: August 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms, after an almost saintly June and July, I have had a complete blow out in August; acquiring a whopping 15 books! In my defence, I didn’t go out with the intention of buying lots of books, instead it was mainly due to my favourite charity shops having an abundance of books I wanted this month. Here’s what I got:

Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari

Cleopatra by Ernle Bradford

Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir

To my Kindle, I have added the quite modest amount of three books. First, I happily accepted a copy of the second Sandokan novel after thoroughly enjoying Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem. Then I received a free copy of non-fiction Cleopatra from Endeavour Press and I snapped up a bargain copy of historical fiction Katherine of Aragorn, which was on my Amazon wish list as I already have the next book from the series: Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin

Order of Darkness, Volumes I – III by Philippa Gregory

The first addition to my bookshelves came when my father treated me to copies of these, using his store discount, which are by two authors I am eager to read more from.

Mary Russell’s War by Laurie R. King

Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett

Next on a trip into town for a podiatrist appointment, I spotted Mary Russell’s War, the newest book in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, in The Works – Sadly, or in hindsight fortunately, there weren’t any other books I fancied to complete the 3 for £10 deal! During the same trip, I also snapped up a bargain copy of childhood favourite Johnny and the Bomb in the library sale.

The Game by Laurie R. King

Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King

The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart

Dissolution by C. J. Sansom

Finally, I picked up my largest haul of books on one single day from my two favourite charity book shops, while visiting the local city where I get my hair cut. In the St Giles Bookshop, I discovered two more books from the King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series and as the shop’s deal is 4 books for £5, I obviously had to pick up two more books!

Truckers by Terry Pratchett

Diggers by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Crooked House by Agatha Christie

While in the Oxfam bookshop, I found good copies of childhood favourites Truckers and Diggers, and new-to-me Discworld novel Sourcery. Then by chance, I spotted a lovely vintage style copy of one of Christie’s ‘Golden Age’ crime novels. I often find this with charity shops, there is nothing I will want for several months and then loads come along at once!

Do you fancy any of these? What new books have you got recently?

New Read: Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem

After enjoying several swashbuckling classics, I was thrilled to be offered the chance to read another, Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari, by its translator Nico Lorenzutti. So I put it on my 10 Books of Summer 2017 list to make sure I got to it at last.

Sandokan, the feared “Tiger of Malaysia”, and his loyal band of rebel pirates are the scourge of the colonial powers of the Dutch and British empires in the South China sea. Mercilessly they roam the seas attacking ships and islands seeking vengeance, wealth and the destruction of their Western oppressors. Then return with their bounty to the safety of their fortified island of Mompracem, where they have lived happily and untouched for many years. But the fate and fortune of Sandokan and his “tigers” is to suddenly change when they learn of the lauded “Pearl of Labuan”.

While on the surface our protagonist Sandokan appears to just be a blood thirsty villain, as we read on we come to discover he is actually a prince, who was brought low to piracy after the British and their local allies murdered his family and stole his throne. Since then Sandokan has sailed the seas in righteous anger. With his faithful friend Yanez De Gomera, a Portuguese wanderer and adventurer, by his side. Yanez is a more charming and cool headed character, who is a more instantly likeable character. But the love and devotion Yanez and the “tigers” have for their leader helps to show a more likeable side to Sandokan.

However everything is to change when Sandokan hears of the extraordinary “Pearl of Labuan” and risks a trip with two of his ships to the island of Labuan in hopes of catching sight of her. Yes her, as the “Pearl” is not the type of treasure you may have first imagined, but instead she is a young Western woman; famed for her beauty, golden hair and her kindness to the natives of the island. Pretty much on first sight Sandokan falls in love with the “Pearl” and decides to move heaven and earth to obtain her. In the process selfishly risking the lives of all his men and their home of Mompracem, although if he didn’t we wouldn’t have an exciting story to read.

Apparently since Emilio Salgari wrote this adventure novel in 1900 it has been, for more than a century, Italy’s second most famous love story. As a modern reader though I couldn’t help thinking the love was all a bit quick and while we are assured it is a mutual feeling, we get to know little about how the lady thinks or feels. In fact she sadly proves to play a small, passive role in the adventure, except for crying and fainting quite a bit. This is a reflection of the time period is was written in though. Fortunately I didn’t pick this up for love. Instead I was looking for adventure and boy did Salgari give me that in spade loads. With battles at sea, deadly storms, jungle ambushes, clandestine meetings, disguises, sharks, faked deaths and impossible odds! And it is this that kept me wanting to read more.

Overall, I thought Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem was a rip-roaring adventure (and love story) that swept me back in time and across the seas to an exotic dangerous land. Good read.

Thank you to the translator for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any of Sandokan’s other adventures?

10 Books of Summer 2017 – 4/10

Goodbye June, Hello July 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? Wow, June has been a crazy month for me: with a school trip to the Butterfly Farm; catching up with a friend and her new baby girl; finishing the last module of my church course (assignment still to go); an inspection from the Ofsted team at work and finally I went to see Puccini’s opera, Madam Butterfly. Phew! Sadly my anxiety has been all over the place too – thankfully though I have had some wonderful books to chill out and escape with at home. Here’s what I read:

Fiction: 4          Non-Fiction: 0

As it was again a busy time for me at the beginning of June, like last month, I found myself reaching for another short story collection, Sandlands by Rosy Thornton – an enchanting collection of stories about the nature, lives and history of Suffolk, which was perfect to squeeze in when I had a moment or two. Next finding myself yearning for the past, I read First of the Tudors by Joanna Hickson. This brilliant piece of historical fiction, that follows Jasper Tudor during the War of the Roses, had me enthralled from beginning to end.

Then at the peak of the month, I escaped all my busyness and anxiety with Pyramids by Terry Pratchett, an extremely fun, Egyptian-inspired instalment in Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld series. Finally, through out June, I was dipping in and out of the swashbuckling Italian classic Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari and I finished reading it on the very last day of the month. My full thoughts on these last two books are still to be posted, so keep your eyes peeled for them in July.

Unusually for me I finished no non-fiction books this month and all these fictions I read were off my list for the 10 Books of Summer 2017 challenge, which runs all summer long till the beginning of September and four books is a great start!

Pick of the Month: Sandlands

Altogether that is four books read in June, while that is an average amount for me to read the quality of reading was high. During the month, I also had the audiobook Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the memoir Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham on the go. Then at the end of the month, I started reading Wendy Darling, Volume 3: Shadow by Colleen Oakes, the final book in Oakes’ young adult series inspired by J M Barrie’s classic Peter Pan.

In July, I look forward to a quiet wind down to the end of term, especially now that the long awaited Ofsted inspection has come and gone.  Plus I look forward to more great reading, in particular from my 10 Books of Summer challenge list.

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