New Read: Lamp Black, Wolf Grey

Lamp Black, Wolf Grey

Sadly on the 31st October I had to say goodbye to the R.I.P event, but that didn’t mean I had to stop my dark and atmospheric reading. I decided to continue it with the supernatural Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston.

Laura and Dan Matthews have a strained relationship as the lack of children begins to wear them down. Hoping to renew their love and give them a better chance at conceiving Laura makes the drastic choice to up sticks, from the hustle and bustle of London, and make a new home in the beautiful Welsh mountains. For Laura this seemingly idyllic place is to hold history, magic, danger, terrible regrets and the legendary figure of Merlin. For once Merlin walked these very same mountains and visited Laura’s new home to see his true love, Megan. Laura is to find that her life is inescapably intertwined with those of the past.

I love dual time period novels and this is an interesting one. We have Laura, a young artist, narrate the present time and Megan, the nurse-maid to the Lord’s sons,  in the past; both are brave, strong and relatable women. While we have the chance to get to know Merlin and his powers in the past and present. I found both threads of the story and both narrators interesting to read about. Although I think I liked Megan more because Laura makes some terrible decisions, which I know she needed to make for the story to continue but they still upset me. However it is these terrible decisions that also make the present story the most gripping of the two.

The wild, isolated and beautiful setting of the Welsh mountains was almost itself a character. I have never read anything by Paula Brackston before and what drew me to this book was the Welsh setting and the legendary Merlin. I love magic and I love Wales; it being a place I grew up visiting every summer holidays. Brackston really took me back there with her words. The lush green valleys, lonely farmsteads, castles and shady woods which can be illuminated by glorious sunshine or where the fog and storm clouds can so quickly cover.

The only downside for me was the stronger focus on romance and sex this had then I was expecting. I found Merlin and Megan’s relationship really lovely. As I thought their interactions came across natural and innocent. Sadly however I didn’t enjoy Laura’s relationships. This was because of the erotic detail which made some of those terrible decisions, I spoke of earlier, even less relatable for me. This is just my personal taste though and I can see how Brackston did this for effect.

 Lamp Black, Wolf Grey was a gripping book which swept me off to a world of magic, history and legend. 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? Or anything else by Paula Brackston?

The Classics Club: The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles

I enjoyed reading The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle in September so much that I barely managed to wait a month before going back for another mystery. Next I picked up The Hound of the Baskervilles, the third Sherlock Holmes novel.

Dr James Mortimer comes to Sherlock Holmes with a legend of a diabolical hound out on the moors that hunts all the Baskerville descendants, in revenge for a murderous past deed. Mortimer has lived many years out on the moors and had never taken much store in these superstitions before until the shocking death of his good friend, Sir Charles Baskerville. He hopes Holmes’ can get to the truth and protect Henry; the heir and last remaining Baskerville. Holmes is intrigued by the case but is busy working on another so he puts his trust in Dr Watson. Who returns with Mortimer and Henry to the lonely Baskerville Hall on Dartmoor to investigate further.

I loved getting to explore this intricate and supernatural mystery with Dr Watson. As much as I enjoy the workings of Holmes’ mind and find his eccentricities fascinating. It is Holmes’ companion Dr Watson I am most drawn to. The down-to-earth narration of Watson is what makes these stories more relatable for me. To have a whole investigation where he took the lead was wonderful. Holmes isn’t too far away though because Watson is in constant contact with him and it is through these letters we see a lot of the facts unfold. There is also a twist to come later in the book!

I think this may now be my favourite Holmes mystery. I loved the foggy, lonely moors, scattered with the remnants of ancient inhabitants, with the isolated Baskerville Hall stranded in the middle of it. Doyle really builds a creepy atmosphere and that is even before the hound comes on the scene, which is described as large, dark and vicious by any locals who have had the misfortune to see it. Plus it seems to be able to frighten you to death! This was a great mystery with an interesting collection of characters who are all thrown together because of the loneliness of their situation.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a creepy and atmospheric mystery which I simply loved. A cosy and comforting read for autumn and the R.I.P event. I highly recommend to fans of Sherlock Holmes and those who enjoy classic crime. Sadly I only have The Sign of the Four  left to read. Great read.

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

The Classics Club – 36/50
R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X – 4/4

Goodbye October, Hello November 2015

October 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? October has been cold and has just flown by for me; I think I blinked and missed it! Work has continued to go well however I have also been suffering with sinus problems, a rotten cold and cough. When I am under the weather I often find myself watching more TV and films as I find them easier on my mind. So I have watched plenty of good adaptations this month but sadly I had read a lot less.

Fiction: 3     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

I started the month off with Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson off my Classics Club list. A sweeping historical adventure that was a little slow but a comforting read. October has also seen the R.I.P X event continue for me so first up was modern classic The Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart. A nostalgic suspense set in the beautiful Austrian mountains which was a perfect read for this event and my tired mind. Then I finished the event off with, the classic Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. My full thoughts still to be posted.

Alongside these fictions I also read two non-fictions. First historical non-fiction The Rise of Thomas Cromwell by Michael Everett. A really interesting look into the back story and day-to-day life of the notorious Thomas Cromwell. Then at the end of the month I finished off Christian non-fiction Better Relationships, Better Life by Pam Ovwigho. My full thoughts still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: The Hound of the Baskervilles

The beginning of the month was slow for me but my reading improved near the end and I did really enjoy all that I read. Near the end of the month I also started reading the mysterious Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston.

In November I am looking forward to Bonfire night and more nights snuggled up with a good book.

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

New Read: Airs Above the Ground

Airs Above the Ground

After finishing The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland, a dark supernatural read, I was hoping for a lighter book to continue my R.I.P reading. So I reached for modern classic Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart. Since reading The Gabriel Hounds last year I have been longing to read more by Stewart.

This novel swept me off to Austria with Vanessa March and her young charge Timothy Lacy. Vanessa is a married woman on a spur of the moment mission of the heart. While Timothy is a young man seeking freedom and a connection with his long lost father. They’re two people thrown together seeking something, who form an unlikely but sweet friendship. Together they will try to discover what Mr March is really up to, and in the process find themselves embroiled in a dangerous mystery surrounding a travelling circus and the famous Lipizzan stallions of Vienna.

At the beginning of the story we’ve barely been introduced to Vanessa when Stewart hits us with a mystery. Malicious Carmel Lacy, Tim’s overbearing mother, let’s slip that she saw Vanessa’s husband in an Austrian newsreel when he’s meant to be in Sweden. Thus she persuades Vanessa to chaperone her son. I liked Vanessa and Tim. They initially form a friendship of respect and common goals, however they also discover a love of horses. Vanessa is a trained vet and Tim harbours a dream to join the Spanish Riding School in Vienna which also helps them infiltrate the travelling circus and the mystery surrounding a fatal fire. Once fully immersed in the mystery we are introduced to other interesting character including: colourful performers, quaint locals and the secretive Englishman Lee Elliott.

I found this to be another nostalgic mystery from Stewart full of intrigue, secrets, suspicion, lies, betrayal, twists and turns. I think Stewart has a wonderfully comforting style which in cooperates a mixture of suspense, romance, and society issues. I also loved the beautiful descriptions of the Austrian countryside and mountains, the lively circus, the quaint villages and historical castle. And it was fascinating to find out the history and tradition of the Spanish Riding School and their famous Lipizzan stallions, who are trained in the difficult and beautiful moves known as the ‘airs above the ground’.

Airs Above the Ground is a nostalgic suspense set in the beautiful Austrian mountains; a perfect read for Autumn and the R.I.P event. I highly recommend this sadly I have no more of Stewart’s novels on my to-be-read shelf. I will have to look out for more. Great read.

Have you read this? Are you a fan of Mary Stewart?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X – 3/4

New Books: October 2015

New Books - October 2015

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

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M. C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M. C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley by M. C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin: There Goes the Bride by M. C. Beaton

It has been months since I found some gems in The Works but I’ve still been going in for fear I might miss something if I didn’t. My faith paid off because they had the first four books of M C Beaton’s hilarious Agatha Raisin series plus one later book too. I really look forward to rediscovering this series. Then to make up my numbers for the 3 for £5 deal I chose Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch. I haven’t read any of this series however I’ve heard great things about it.

The Queen’s Choice by Anne O’Brien

Out of Darkness by Stormie Omartian

I received historical fiction The Queen’s Choice and Christian memoir Out of Darkness from Netgalley. Okay I have a lot of galleys and I had told myself I needed to stop requesting! But…I have read and loved several of Anne O’Brien’s and Stormie Omartian’s books over the last year or so.

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

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?