Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10… Books on My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

There are many wonderful books awaiting me on my bookshelf and Kindle, however here are ten books, ordered alphabetically, I am looking forward to reading this spring:

  1. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M. C. Beaton – The sixth book in Beaton’s long-running, cosy-crime series.
  2. By Sword and Storm by Margaret Skea – The eagerly anticipated conclusion to Skea’s brilliant, historical Munro Scottish trilogy.
  3. Cold Fire by Dean Koontz – A mystery recommended by my dad that will be perfect for my What’s in a Name 2019 reading challenge.
  4. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett – The next book I have, chronologically, from Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld series.
  5. Howards End by E. M. Forster – For some reason I think this turn-of-the-century classic could be a perfect spring read.
  6. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory – After loving The Red Queen, I look forward to continuing Gregory’s popular Cousins’ War series.
  7. Love Wins by Rob Bell – This controversial look at God’s love and judgement is an upcoming read for my church’s book club.
  8. River Rising by John A. Heldt – After finishing Heldt’s American Journey series, I look forward to this, the first book in his Carson Chronicles series.
  9. Runemarks by Joanne M. Harris – I am hoping for another refreshing, re-imagining of the Norse Gods and legends, like in The Gospel of Loki.
  10. The Tudor Crown by Joanna Hickson – After loving First of the Tudors, I also look forward to continuing Hickson’s new historical series.

Have you read any of my choices? What books are on your spring TBR? Also, please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Last year, I was again blessed to read and enjoy many new-to-me authors, especially through my church’s book club. Here are the ten new-to-me authors I liked the most from the year:

  1. Anne Brontë – Anne’s beautifully written The Tenant of Wildfell Hall showed me that she is a worthy equal to her older, better known sisters.
  2. Nabeel Qureshi – My first read of the year for my church’s book club was his eye-opening, international bestseller, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.
  3. Brother Andrew – While my May read for my church’s book club was Andrew’s truly inspiring and thrilling memoir, God’s Smuggler.
  4. Snorri Kristjansson – Perfect for the darker, cooler days of autumn was Kristjansson’s excellent, debut Viking murder mystery, Kin.
  5. Peter Bartram – I loved escaping back into Bartram’s nostalgic mysteries, Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder set in 1960’s Brighton.
  6. Michael R. Miller – More fun, escapist reading came in The Reborn King and Veiled Intentions, from the epic fantasy series, The Dragon’s Blade.
  7. Mingmei Yip – While I travelled back in time to China of the 1900s, with Yip’s exotic, historical fiction, Peach Blossom Pavilion.
  8. Lee Strobel – My church’s book club read for February was Strobel’s The Case for Grace, a compelling collection of inspiring stories.
  9. Christopher Nicole – The first book in Nicole’s historical saga, Eleanor of Aquitaine was a gripping historical soap opera for the start of summer.
  10. John Bunyan – It might have been hard going at times, but Bunyan’s classic allegorical novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress was a rewarding read.

Have you read any of my choices? What new-to-you authors did you read in 2018? Also, please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

My Top 10 Adaptations 2018

As 2018 comes to an end, I continue my reflection back on another great year, with a round-up post of my favourite new-to-me adaptations. After a long, hard think here are my top ten adaptations (ordered alphabetically) I have watched this year:

~ 1 ~

A Very English Scandal (2018)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

A new British three-part drama, based on John Preston’s book, which dramatizes the 1970’s political scandal of Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant), leader of the Liberal Democrats, being tried for conspiring to murder his former lover, Norman Scott (Ben Wishaw). With a gay love-affair, a bungled murder plot and a dead dog… this really has it all for a very funny yet chilling watch!

~ 2 ~

Endeavour (Series 5)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

This year saw ITV air the fifth series of nostalgic ITV crime drama, based on Colin Dexter’s characters and prequel to the Inspector Morse series. It is 1968 and young detective sergeant Endeavour Morse is investigating several new bloody investigations, as Cowley police station faces closure and race/gang tensions rise in Oxford. Another gloriously atmospheric and nostalgic series.

~ 3 ~

The City and the City (2018)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

A gripping, BBC four-part science-fiction/crime noir drama, based on China Miéville’s novel. Set in the fictional twin cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma, we follow Inspector Tyador Borlú (David Morrissey) as he investigates the murder of a young woman, who may have illegally ‘breached’ from one city into the other. You need your thinking-cap on for this one, but it is worth it.

~ 4 ~

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (2013)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

I was thrilled to finally see the final episode of ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot series, starring the brilliant David Suchet as our favourite, little Belgian detective. Poirot and his old friend Hastings return to Styles Court, the site of his first ever murder, to solve what will be his final poignant case. An excellent cast, a twisting mystery, high-stakes, raw emotion and an ending I never saw coming!

~ 5 ~

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
Read     Film     Cinema

In this, the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), inspired by J K Rowling’s fictional textbook, we re-join Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his case of magical creatures in Paris, France; as he tries to trace the Obscurial, Creedence Barebone, before the dark wizard Grindelwald. Another wonderful, fantasy romp with a more adult edge. I didn’t love it as much as the first, but I still had a big grin on my face.

~ 6 ~

Killing Eve (2018)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

New BBC drama, based on Luke Jennings’ thriller novella series, introduces us to Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a low-wrung officer for MI5, who gets the chance to hunt down the deadly female assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer). This had me gripped, scared and laughing in equal measure, as these two strong women become dangerously obsessed with each other.

~ 7 ~

Mr. Holmes (2015)
Not Read     Film     Television

I was thrilled to finally watch this alternative Holmes mystery, based on Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel. In 1947, the long-retired Holmes (Ian McKellan), aged 93, is desperately struggling to recall the details of his final case, as his mind slowly deteriorates. There are no huge thrills in this film, instead what you get is an emotionally charged, well-wrought and superbly acted drama.

~ 8 ~

North and South (2004)
Read     TV Series     Television

I was thrilled to finally watch this much-talked-about adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1855 novel, which sees the lovely Daniela Denby-Ashe and the dashing Richard Armitage beautifully portraying young Southerner, Margaret and Northern industrialist, Mr Thornton, and their uneasy, growing attraction. The costumes, setting and supporting cast were also excellent.

~ 9 ~

Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of the Four (2018)
Read     Play     Theatre

I was very lucky to see Blackeyed Theatre’s excellent stage adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novella. Which cleverly transported me back to smoggy Victorian London and warm, exotic India for a gripping mystery with the famous sleuth, Sherlock Holmes and the faithful Dr Watson. All of which was performed with drama, finesse and humour.

~ 10 ~

Shetland (Series 4)
Not Read     TV Series    Television

The fourth series of this atmospheric BBC crime drama, based on Ann Cleeve’s characters. A cold case of a murdered teenager is re-opened when the chief suspect returns to the island… only for another young woman to be murdered. Thus Jimmy Perez and his team are drawn into another gripping, dark and twisting case, all set against the beautiful, rugged, isolated backdrop of Shetland.


Honorary mentions must also go to: the pantomime, Cinderella (2018), BBC crime dramas, Ordeal by Innocence (2018) and And Then There Were None (2015), and the Marvel film Deadpool 2 (2018).

Did you watch any of these? What were your favourite adaptations you watched in 2018?

Yesterday, I started my reflection back on the year with My Top 10 Books of 2018 post. On New Year’s day, I will complete my reflection with some statistics and an overall round-up of my reading.

My Top 10 Books of 2018

As 2018 comes to an end, it is time to start reflecting back on another great year of reading. First up is my round-up of my favourite new-to-me books. After a long, hard think here are my top ten books (ordered alphabetically by author) I have read this year:

~ 1 ~

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew (1968)

This classic of Christian literature was an inspiring and thrilling tale of one man’s truly awesome faith and mission, which also made for a wonderful discussion point at my church’s book club meeting.

~ 2 ~

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (1848)

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

~ 3 ~

Cauldstane by Linda Gillard (2014)

Another beautiful written tale, from one of my favourite authors, with all the things I love: mystery; romance; history; a big, old house and a touch of the paranormal.

~ 4 ~

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (2010)

After The White Queen made my list last year, it was brilliant to discover that this was another well written and researched piece of historical fiction from Gregory, which gripped me from beginning to end this year!

~ 5 ~

Kin by Snorri Kristjansson (2018)

An excellent historical fiction, which is also a fast, gripping and twisting murder mystery, that shows a very different side to the raiding and pillaging Vikings.

~ 6 ~

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (1969)

A superb, time-travelling horror, from the gothic queen, du Maurier, that had me gripped from beginning to end. A precursor/inspiration perhaps for those newer dual narrative novels that I enjoy so much.

~ 7 ~

Queen of Hearts, Volume 3: War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes (2017)

After Volume 1 and 2 made the list back in 2014, it is great that this fitting and very satisfying ending to this clever and refreshing re-imagining of Wonderland made it this year. It was worth the wait!

~ 8 ~

Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver (2016)

A great collection of new and traditional recipes for all the family with a super food twist. So far I have made Jamie’s Sag Aloo Korma, Veggie Bolognese and Four Seasons Minestrone (Summer & Autumn).

~ 9 ~

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi (2014)

This award winning, international bestseller was an eye-opening look at Islam and an inspiring tale of finding true peace in the love of Jesus.

~ 10 ~

Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir (2016)

The first book in Weir’s ambitious Six Tudor Queens series, is a powerful tale of a courageous woman, that completely immersed me into tumultuous Tudor England.


Honorary mentions must also go to fictions: Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier and Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir, and cookbooks: The Hairy Dieters (5) Go Veggie by Si King & Dave Myers and The Hairy Dieters (6) Make It Easy by Si King & Dave Myers. I also loved re-reading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and audiobook Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling & read by Stephen Fry.

Have you read any of these? What were your favourite books in 2018?

Tomorrow, I will continue my reflection on 2018 with a round-up of my favourite new-to-me adaptations I have watched, and then, on New Year’s day, I will finish with some reading statistics.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… Books on My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

Winter 2018 TBR

There are many wonderful books awaiting me on my bookshelf and Kindle, however here are ten books, ordered alphabetically, I am most looking forward to reading this winter:

  1. Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley – Having loved all of her previous books, I am super excited about this, Kearsley newest dual-narrative novel.
  2. By Sword and Storm by Margaret Skea – The eagerly anticipated conclusion to Skea’s brilliant, historical Munro Scottish trilogy.
  3. Emma by Jane Austen – I am looking forward to re-reading this delightful classic, my result for The Classics Club‘s 19th Spin event.
  4. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier – I love du Maurier and this would also be perfect for my What’s in a Name 2018 challenge.
  5. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett – The next book I have, chronologically, from Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld series.
  6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – I look forward to completing my re-read of this thrilling YA trilogy.
  7. Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley – After enjoying the TV documentary it will be good to read the accompanying book.
  8. Lives of Notorious Cooks by Brendan Connell – This set of fictional biographies of famous chefs through the ages sounds fascinating.
  9. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory – After loving The Red Queen, I look forward to continuing Gregory’s popular Cousins’ War series.
  10. The Tudor Crown by Joanna Hickson – After loving First of the Tudors, I also look forward to continuing Hickson’s new historical series.

Have you read any of my choices? What books are on your winter TBR? Also, please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10…. Binge-Worthy TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

Freebie
(Make up your own topic, or use a previous TTT topic you might have missed.)

A couple of weeks ago I was a little gutted to miss the Bingeworthy TV Shows/Amazing Movies topic, therefore it is perfect for me that a freebie option has come up so soon afterwards. This by no means an exhaustive list, but here are ten TV shows that I think are totally binge-worthy:

  1. Band of Brothers – Released back in 2001, this Emmy award-winning war drama, a Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks collaboration, is still my very favourite TV show ever! A dramatised history of ‘Easy’ Company, of the 101st Airborne Division, as they take part in the major action of WWII.
  2. Sherlock – An amazing, modern twist on the Sherlock Holmes works of Arthur Conan Doyle. From the brilliant minds of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and starring the equally brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson.
  3. Battlestar Galactica – I binge watched this critically acclaimed, 2003 reboot of the BSG franchise myself, after my dad recommended it. Now don’t tell me you don’t like science-fiction, because this is like the best, gritty drama which just happens to be set in space with killer robots!
  4. Game of Thrones – I imagine this epic, fantasy drama, based on the books by George R. R. Martin, featured on many people’s list for this topic. With its fantastic blend of medieval realism, magic, battles, political intrigue, amazing CGI and great characters, it has us all hooked!
  5. Being Human – This quirky, supernatural drama is one of the most popular shows in BBC iPlayer history. It follows three unlikely housemates: a vampire (Aidan Turner), a ghost (Lenora Crichlow) and a werewolf (Russell Tovey) as they try to live hidden amongst humans.
  6. Dr Who – While I have watched most of this British science-fiction franchise since it rebooted in 2005, it is specifically series 2-4 I am recommending. David Tennant’s charismatic tenth Doctor and his awe-inspiring, righteous fury, is something you must see.
  7. Boardwalk Empire – A gripping, period crime drama set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era. Produced by Martin Scorsese and starring Steve Buscemi as Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson; a powerful and corrupt political leader based on the real-life Enoch L. Johnson.
  8. Downton Abbey – Julian Fellowe’s Emmy award-winning period drama, follows the ups and downs of the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants, at the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, between 1912 and 1926.
  9. Lost – Okay I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but I am not sure any ending could have done justice to this surreal master piece of suspense, mystery and drama. That follows the survivors of a plane that crashes on a mysterious tropical island, somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean.
  10. Merlin – Finally a more light-hearted watch would be this British fantasy-adventure. A fun re-imaging of the Arthurian legends, where a young wizard Merlin (Colin Morgan) becomes close friends with Prince Arthur (Bradley James). Worth watching just for the brilliant bromance!

Have you watched any of my choices? What binge-worthy TV shows would you recommend? Also, please share your link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10… Cosy Winter Reads

TTT-BLCTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

Cozy/Wintry Reads

Imagine you are snuggled up in a blanket, with a fire crackling and a mug of your favourite hot beverage, as the snow falls outside. What book do you read? Well here are ten of my cosy, wintry reading recommendations:

  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – On the lead up to Christmas there couldn’t be a better read then Dickens’ classic, ghostly tale of redemption; with all its festive trimmings of family gatherings, roast turkey, dancing, games and generosity of spirit.
  2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis – Join the Pevensie children through the wardrobe, as they try to save Narnia and its magical inhabitants from the wicked White Witch and her perpetual winter.
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I don’t think much can warm the heart or the cockles more than Alcott’s classic coming-of-age story about the four strong, independent March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
  4. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman – Wrap up and journey with the feisty, little Lyra to the Arctic, searching for her kidnapped friend, Roger and her imprisoned uncle, Lord Asriel.  Be prepared for danger, daemons, witches and armoured bears!
  5. Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley – As the storms rage outside, why not escape to the elegant and isolated villa Il Piacere in Italy, for one of Kearsley’s wonderfully immersive and gripping mysteries.
  6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – With the world cold and dead around you, watch life bloom for the troubled orphan Mary as she discovers a long-forgotten garden at Misselthwaite Manor.
  7. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – What could be better than getting trapped in the snow on the most glamorous train in history… except there is a murderer on board!
  8. Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart – Forget yourself for a little while in one of Stewart’s wonderfully romantic suspense novels, with a gripping murder mystery on the bleak but stunning Isle of Skye.
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – In my favourite of Harry’s magical adventures, we see him sneak down to the snow-covered town of Hogsmeade, in his invisibility cloak, for a warming butterbeer in The Three Broomsticks.
  10. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Finally, but not least, let the young, naive Catherine Moorland entertain you with her whimsical and wild imagination in Austen’s satirical Gothic novel.

Do you like my choices? What cosy, wintry reads would you recommend? Also, please share your link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.