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

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First of the Tudors by Joanna Hickson

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Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

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Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari

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Wendy Darling, Volume 3: Shadow by Colleen Oakes

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The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

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The Lioness and the Spellspinners by Cheryl Mahoney

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman [Re-Read]

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The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle

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(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 …

9/10

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?

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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 Aragorn, 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?

Challenge: 10 Books of Summer 2017

Hello my fellow bookworms, June is almost upon us which will be the official start of summer and in turn Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer challenge (with the options to read 10 or 15 books as well). Again, I am aiming for the 10 book goal this year. Here are the books, in alphabetical order, I hope to read:

  1. A Dance with Dragons, Part 1: Dreams and Dust by George R R Martin
  2. First of the Tudors by Joanna Hickson
  3. The Girl in the Glass Tower by Elizabeth Fremantle
  4. The Lioness and the Spellspinners by Cheryl Mahoney
  5. [Re-Read] Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
  6. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
  7. Sandlands by Rosy Thornton
  8. Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari
  9. Wendy Darling, Volume 3: Shadow by Colleen Oakes
  10. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The challenge runs till the end of summer (3rd September), so just after that I will check back in with you all to discuss what I manage to read!

Are you taking part in this summer challenge? Are there any of these books you think I should read first?

New Books: November 2016

new-books-november-2016

Hello my fellow bookworms, my current to-be-read is getting a little out of hand, so this month I have been good and kept my new acquisitions down to just these three review copies:

The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

First, I was contacted by husband and wife publishing team about their debut, science-fiction novel, The Last Day of Captain Lincoln. Described as a ‘soft’ sci-fi focused on the characters and relationships rather than just the technology.

Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompraecem by Emilio Salgari

Next, I was contacted by Nico Lorenzutti about an English translation of the Italian classic, Sandokan, The Tigers of Mompraecem. A swashbuckling adventure and love story; it sounded right up my street.

The Sacrifice: Short Stories Volume 1 by Indrajit Garai

And finally, I was contacted by a close friend and muse of American writer Garai about his collection of short stories, The Sacrifice. I don’t read a great deal of general fiction, but I have enjoyed many a short story collection.

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