Goodbye September, Hello October 2015

September 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? September has just flown by for me and the weather has dramatically cooled; no gradual transition into autumn for us! Which has seen me suffering with sinus problems and the sniffles. On the other hand I have loved making soup, and getting my comfortable boots and my favourite scarves back out.

September has also seen the start of the new school year. The children I support have made a positive start to year 6 and while it is very busy I am enjoying my work. In the cooling evenings I have been curling up in a blanket to enjoy a good book and some great adaptations.

Fiction: 3     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

The start of autumn always sees me pining for more gothic and mysterious books, which makes the R.I.P event perfect for me. First up was the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle; my result for The Classics Club’s last spin feature. Followed by The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland a dark, historical tale with a supernatural twist. To lighten the mood I also enjoyed a comforting re-read of Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett.

Alongside these fictions I also read two Christian non-fictions. First I read The Faith of a Mockingbird by Matt Rawle; an instalment from a new Bible series looking into books, movies, TV shows, music and pop culture. Then I read What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? by Richard D Phillips; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: Wyrd Sisters

Considering I started back at work this month I am really pleased I still completed 5 books. During the month I also continued reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson for The Classics Club, and continued my R.I.P reading with Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart.

In October, as the dark nights draw in, I am looking forward to snuggling up of an evening with more suitably gothic and mysterious books and adaptations.

What did you do and read in September? Any plans for October?

New Books: September 2015

New Books - September 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I have been more reserved this month so there is just a few goodies I’ve managed to add to my Kindle in this month:

Wendy Darling (Volume 1: Stars) by Colleen Oakes

Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

I keep telling myself I have too many galleys, but what is a girl to do when they put so many good books on there?! Last year I read book 1 and 2 of Colleen Oakes’ Wonderland re-imagining the Queen of Hearts; book 3 of which I am still impatiently waiting for! So I couldn’t resist trying Wendy Darling a re-imagining of Peter Pan. Then I love Little Women and I love short story collection so again how could I resist Flower Fables?!

Headline Murder by Peter Bartram

I was contacted by the author about this cosy crime. I couldn’t take part in the blog tour, but I do love a cosy crime and it is R.I.P season so I was still happy to receive a review copy.

Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong

Then finally, but not least, I received a copy of Christian non-fiction Girl Meets Change from the publishers via Netgalley. I haven’t read anything by Kristen Strong before. I do suffer with anxiety about change though so I am interested to see what this advises.

Have you read anything by these authors? What new books have you got your hands on recently?

New Read: The Raven’s Head

The Raven's Head

The night’s are drawing in and the weather has cooled, quite dramatically. The perfect time to continue my R.I.P reading with The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland. A historical tale with a supernatural twist.

France 1224 – apprentice librarian Vincent stumbles across a powerful secret about Philippe, le Comte de Lingones, and his family. After a botched blackmail attempt Vincent finds himself on the run, with no home or friends, in possession of a mysterious carved silver raven’s head. Vincent is an arrogant, ambitious and foolish teenager. I didn’t really like him to be honest, but he is an interesting character to read about and it was his sections of the story that had the real pace for me. Vincent makes his way by selling elaborate stories to solve problems and hide secrets. Subconsciously though the raven’s head is bending him to its will.

England 1224 – Gisa the apothecary’s niece finds herself the source of interest for Lord Sylvain, a dark mage and alchemist, who seems to have a sinister plan. While little Wilky, renamed Regulus, finds himself torn from his family as Father Arthmael and his fearful White Canons take a keen interest in him. Poor Gisa and Wilky! By no fault of their own they find themselves in the centre of some peculiar and dangerous plans. While I preferred and sympathised with Gisa, Wilky and the other boys their sections of the story were a little slow; perhaps because they didn’t journey like Vincent did. By the end of the novel they were all brought together for a dark, magical, dramatic and tragic climax.

This is the first novel I have read by Karen Maitland, after hearing lots of interesting things about her work. I thought The Raven’s Head was well-written, with intricate detail, and well researched and believable historical setting. I could picture perfectly Vincent’s cramped little turret room, the organised and interesting apothecary shop, and Lord Sylvain’s jumbled and mysterious tower where he prepares and performs his dark magic. I also had a pervading sense throughout the book of poverty, death, grime and fear. It was so strong I could really feel it. I think however this book was just a little too dark for me to love it. In hindsight I can’t remember one moment of humour, peace or hope which made it a little depressing.

The Raven’s Head was a dark and atmospheric read, perfect for the R.I.P event, but I think I might need a more upbeat book next to balance it out. Good read.

Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Have you read anything else by Karen Maitland?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X – 2/4

The Classics Club: The Valley of Fear

The Valley of Fear

My result for The Classics Club’s last Spin feature was The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle; the fourth Sherlock Holmes novel. I was pleased with this result, as I have really enjoyed previous Holmes stories. Plus with Autumn setting in, here in the UK, I thought it is the perfect time to be reading this.

This tale is broken down into two parts, like A Study in Scarlet. In the first part the famous, private detective Sherlock Holmes is still on the trail of criminal mastermind, Professor James Moriarty. During his investigations Holmes receives a coded message, that leads him to the murder of John Douglas at Birlstone Manor House. Holmes and his faithful companion Dr Watson set off at once to investigate further. Then in the second part we are taken back 20 years. To Vermissa Valley, USA to see the events that led to this murder.

As in previous Holmes stories I just loved delving into Doyle’s intricate mystery and witnessing the chemistry between his two protagonists.  As much as I find the workings of Holmes’s mind and eccentricities fascinating. It is Holmes’s companion Dr Watson I am most drawn to. The down-to-earth narration of Watson is what makes these stories more relatable for me. In this mystery it was good to see Watson play an integral part and get a chance to uncover evidence for himself.

Through The Classics Club I have enjoyed all five Holmes short-story collections. Years before the club I read A Study in Scarlet; the only other Holmes novel I have read. I have preferred the short-story format, because I was able to read a whole story in one go. Easily keeping the thread of the mystery, and all the twists and turns. However now having read this I feel I might have been a bit hard on the novel format. Doyle has very cleverly broken the mystery into two parts. The first part is very similar to his short-story; it contains just the mystery. The difference being that then part two gives you the history and background to the mystery. I thought it helped the reader to get to know the victims and criminals of the mystery too. By the end of this I found I enjoyed it as much, if not a bit more than some of the short-stories.

The Valley of Fear was another fascinating mystery, which I flew through. Perfect for Autumn. I highly recommend to fans of Sherlock Holmes and those who enjoy classic crime. I look forward to reading The Sign of the Four and The Hound of the BaskervillesGreat read.

Have you read this? What is your favourite Sherlock Holmes story?

The Classics Club – 34/50
R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X – 1/4

Goodbye August, Hello September 2015

August 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? August has been an exciting month for me.

I started the month off with a trip to London for Secret Cinema’s epic Star Wars event. I also squeezed in a little sight-seeing whilst there too (see photo above). Then I attended my friend’s wedding. It was a glorious, sunny day, and she was a beautiful bride. I then rounded the month off with my church’s holiday club, Mega Makers. I played one of the main characters that presented the club. It was a tiring but really fun week. It was also amazing to see so many new faces in our church.

While I have been busy in my holiday I have still had plenty of time for adaptations and reading. Here is what I managed to read:

Fiction: 5     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

Although slow again I have made progress on my 10 Books of Summer reading this month. Firstly I whipped through the fast paced Insurgent by Veronica Roth; 2nd book in Roth’s dystopian, young adult series. Then I immersed myself in The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley. One of my favourite comfort read authors, and this book didn’t disappoint. Another beautiful tale of love, history and mystery. Plus I have had the Austen in August event. For which I picked up the delightful Mansfield Park, my final Austen novel on my Classics Club list. I really must consider reading Austen’s shorter and/or unfinished works now.

I read all these challenge and event books in the middle of the month. While I started the month off with historical fiction The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien. Which swept me back to 1382 to meet Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt and the sister of the future Henry IV. And I ended the month with another historical fiction The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Alongside these fictions I also read 2 non-fictions. First I read inspiring, Christian memoir Face to Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib and Bodie Thoene. Then I read George Washington another instalment in Mark Black’s A Very Brief History series. Although short I learnt a lot from it about Washington and American history.

Pick of the Month: The Shadowy Horses

That means I have finished 7 books! During the month I also made good progress into Christian non-fiction The Faith of a Mockingbird by Matt Rawle, and I started reading The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle. My result for the last Classic Club spin.

In September I look forward to the start of a new school year, where I am moving up with the children to year 6. Plus of course more good reading.

What did you do and read in August? Any plans for September?

Challenge: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X

R.I.P X Image

(Image used with permission, property of Abigail Larson)

Wow, my fellow bookworms it doesn’t feel 5 seconds since I was saying goodbye to the Once Upon a Time IX event! I seem to have blinked and R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X has arrived! I eagerly await this event each year as it perfectly embodies Autumn reading for me. This year our hosts are Andi and Heather of The Estella Society.

Through Autumn participants are encouraged to read books and watch films that cover the broad categories of Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural.

Books I would like to read off my bookshelf:

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
Drood by Dan Simmons
Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart

Books I would like to read off my Kindle:

Acqua Morta by Adam Bane
Blood on the Bayou D J Donaldson
The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle (currently reading)
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland

There are even more books I could choose, but I couldn’t list them all here! R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X runs from 1st September to 31st October 2015. I have signed up for Peril the First level, which means I am aiming to read 4 books for the event. I am look forward to seeing what I will end up reading.

Are you taking part in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X? What are you hoping to read?

New Books: August 2015

New Books - August 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, here’s the goodies I’ve managed to add to my bookshelf and Kindle in August:

The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

The Phoenix and the Carpet by Edith Nesbit

The Story of the Amulet by Edith Nesbit

First I picked up these free classics for my Kindle from Amazon (UK). The Railway Children and Five Children and It are both on my Classics Club list. While I downloaded the other two because they were free, so why not complete Nesbit’s Psammead series?!

The Romanovs by Virginia Cowles

90 Days Through the New Testament by Ron Rhodes

I received these historical and faith non-fictions from Netgalley. These are not authors I have heard of or read before. I was particularly drawn to The Romanovs because last year I loved The Romanov Sisters /Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport, which made me want to read more.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Then I found these two classics in a rummage in a charity shop. I have a feeling I did read The Wind in the Willows as a child, however except for the characters I remember nothing about it. So I popped it on my Classics Club list. While I have read and remember Dracula. It is nice to now have my own copy.

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