The Classics Club: One Year Gone

Hello my fellow bookworms and classic clubbers, I created my second list for The Classics Club back on the 8th February 2018, which means today marks the one year stage. Time has flown by! Here is what I have read off my new list in my first year:

This Side of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald

A beautifully written, sometimes gripping, satirical portrait of the golden Jazz Age. While I don’t think Fitzgerald’s work is really for me, I am glad I persevered because these are important works of literature and social commentary.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

A beautifully written classic, with engaging characters, which cleverly explores the societal troubles, strifes and wrongs of the time.


Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari

Another rip-roaring adventure (with a touch of romance) that swept me back in time and across the seas.


The Enchanted Castle by E Nesbit

This was the lighter classic I was hoping for, with its blend of magic, adventure and old-fashioned ideals. Unfortunately, this is just not Nesbit’s best work I have read


The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

A clever allegorical portrayal of the journey Christians must take through life. I can’t say it was an easy read – in fact it was in parts hard work – however it was a rewarding read.


Emma by Jane Austen

I very much enjoyed a fun, comforting re-read of this witty, utterly charming romance, with its imperfect heroine and farcical misunderstandings.


Which means I have completed…


Lower than I had hope but not a terrible start. It has not helped that I have read some quite long and challenging books. Looking forward, I think I need to indulge in more of the shorter, easier children’s classics I have on my list, to give myself a bit of break now and again.

Have you read any of these? What classics have you enjoyed over the last year?


New Read: Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia

After I enjoyed the swashbuckling classic, Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Italian author Emilio Salgari, last year, I was thrilled to be offered the chance to read another, Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia, by its translator Nico Lorenzutti. First published in 1896 this edition was translated by Lorenzutti in 2007.

Some years after the last adventure and the destruction of their home, Sandokan, the feared ‘Tiger of Malaysia’; his faithful friend Yanez and his loyal band of rebel pirates are back with a vengeance. On one such raid, Yanez spares the life of a young Indian man, Kammamuri, who is attempting to rescues his poor master, Tremal-Naik, who has been wrongfully sentenced to life in a notorious British penal colony. Kammamuri enlists the help of Sandokan and Yanez, but in order to succeed they must lead their men against the forces of James Brooke, ‘The Exterminator’, the dreaded White Rajah of Sarawak.

It was great fun to be re-united with our righteously angry, princely pirate Sandokan and his friend, my personal favourite, Yanez, the charming Portuguese adventurer. However it was sad to learn that Marianna, ‘The Pearl of Labuan’, the woman Sandokan moved heaven and earth to possess, has tragically died in the few intervening years. But this does help to show a softer, more human side to Sandokan, especially when he discovers that Kammamuri has in his protection his master’s fiancée Ada Corishant; who is the very image of her beautiful cousin… Sandokan’s very own, dear Marianna!

Sadly Ada plays an equally small, passive role in the adventure, as Marianna did in the previous book. However Ada is by far a more interesting character: having been snatched from her father and fiancée in India by the terrible Thuggee cult. This shocking event and the violence she witnesses during her time with them have shockingly sent her quite mad, which is the main reason she plays such an understandably passive role. Seeing the sad state this beautiful, young woman has been brought to only resolves Sandokan and his pirates to see her fiancée, Tremal-Naik free and reunited with her.

While it was nice to have a more interesting female character and through her a more touching, realistic romance, what I really picked this book up for was adventure! And boy did Salgari deliver more of that! With battles at sea, deadly traps, shipwrecks, cannibals, jungle hideouts and a fetid convict ship, Salgari takes us on another fast paced, roller coaster ride. Also Lorenzutti’s translation is so smooth and seamless it means we never miss a beat or flow of the all the twists and turns.

Overall, I thought Sandokan, The Pirates of Malaysia was another rip-roaring adventure (with a touch of romance) that swept me back in time and across the seas. I look forward to reading more by this author. 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?

This is also book 3/50 off my Classics Club II list.

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?