The Weekly Brief

Hello!

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far.

Here is what has been happening on the blog this week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

Just started the first of these books last night so haven’t read much yet.

Books Acquired this Week

I went on a little book buying splurge when I preordered some books. I’ve seen so many good reviews of Lore so I can’t wait to read it.

Happy Reading

Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom (Review)

Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom

Blurb

Summer, 1540. Matthew Shardlake, believing himself out of favour with Thomas Cromwell, is busy trying to maintain his legal practice and keep a low profile. But his involvement with a murder case, defending a girl accused of brutally murdering her young cousin, brings him once again into contact with the King’s chief minister – and a new assignment . . . 

The secret of Greek Fire, the legendary substance with which the Byzantines destroyed the Arab navies, has been lost for centuries. Now an official of the Court of Augmentations has discovered the formula in the library of a dissolved London monastery. When Shardlake is sent to recover it, he finds the official and his alchemist brother brutally murdered – the formula has disappeared. Now Shardlake must follow the trail of Greek Fire across Tudor London, while trying at the same time to prove his young client’s innocence. But very soon he discovered nothing is as it seems . . .

Review

I was so excited to read another story about Matthew Shardlake as I thoroughly enjoyed the first book Dissolution. This book is set three years after the first book and finds Shardlake no longer in the employment or favour of Cromwell but quietly working as a lawyer in London.

Shardlake is defending a girl who is accused of murdering her cousin and must work quickly if he has any chance of saving her. However, during this time Cromwell throws a spanner in the works by giving Shardlake another case and not an easy one. Cromwell also gives Shardlake a rather uncouth assistant to help him called Barack who likes to call  people he doesn’t like a rather rude name.

Shardlake and Barack have to work on the two cases at the same time but the one for Cromwell is hampered constantly. People are trying to kill Shardlake and Barack and the people involved that could help the investigations are killed before they can help. The other problem is that Shardlake and Barack always seem to be one step behind the bad guys.

This book really kept me on my toes and I never worked out who was guilty for either crime until it is revealed until the end. I also enjoyed reading about how the Tudors considered humours to be the source of health and illness as I have just finished an assignment on health in ancient Greece and Rome and their health and treatments also relied on the balance of humours.

There are so many twists and turns in this book and it never stopped for a moment. I couldn’t put this book down and throughly enjoyed it, in fact I think I enjoyed it more than the first book in the series. I can’t wait to read more about Shardlake and I give this book 5 out of 5 books. 

🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

C. J. Sansom was educated at Birmingham University, where he took a BA and then a PhD in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. He lives in Sussex.

Friday Poetry: William Watson

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend. I must admit I haven’t managed much reading recently because I have been reading endless chapters and articles about the importance of Roman dress and the significance of the the toga. I’m really enjoying all the research but I am missing my fun reading.

My chosen poem this week is by William Watson (1858-1935) was an English poet who wasn’t afraid to write what he thought.

The poem is The Ballad of Semmerwater, Semmerwater is more commonly spelt ‘Semerwater’ and is one of the largest lakes in Yorkshire. Semerwater has also been the home of many poets over the centuries.

The Ballad of Semmerwater

Deep asleep, deep asleep,
Deep asleep it lies,
The still lake of Semmerwater,
Under the still skies.

And many a fathom, many a fathom,
Many a fathom below,
In a king's tower and a queen's bower
The fishes come and go.

Once there stood by Semmerwater
A mickle town and tall;
King's tower and queen's bower,
And the wakeman on the wall.

Came a beggar halt and sore:
'I faint for lack of bread.'
King's tower and queen's bower
Cast him forth unfed.

He knocked at the door of the herdsman's cot,
The herdsman's cot in the dale.
They gave him of their oat-cake,
They gave him of their ale.

He cursed aloud the city proud,
He cursed it in its pride;
He cursed it into Semmerwater
Down the brant hillside;
He cursed it into Semmerwater,
There to bide.

King's tower and queen's bower,
And a mickle town and tall;
By glimmer of scale and gleam of fin,
Folk have seen them all.

King's tower and queen's bower,
And weed and reed in the gloom,
And a lost city in Semmerwater
Deep asleep till Doom.

William Watson

The Willoughby Book Club #7

Hello!

My latest book from Willoughby Book Club has arrived and I must admit I really miss the old wrapping paper, this new book sleeve is just not the same.

Anyway, the book I received was Invisible Women by Sarah Long. Another new author for me, I’m getting the opportunity to read so many new authors due to the book club, I love it!

Isn’t it about time we talked about YOU?

Tessa, Sandra and Harriet have been best friends through first crushes, careers, marriage and the trials of motherhood. After twenty years of taking care of everyone else’s every need, they’ve found themselves hitting the big 5-0 and suddenly asking themselves: ‘what about me?!’

Sandra has a sordid secret, and Harriet is landed with her ailing mother-in-law. Tessa is looking for something to fill the gaping hole left by her youngest daughter’s departure for uni, where it seems she’s now engaged in all sorts of unsavoury activities, if Tessa’s obsessive late-night Facebook stalking is anything to go by.

When Tessa impulsively responds to an online message from an old flame, she soon finds herself waiting at Heathrow Airport for The One That Got Away. 

But what will the plane from New York bring her? The man of her dreams, or a whole heap of trouble? 

And could this be the long-awaited moment for Tessa to seize her life, for herself, with both hands?

Drop me a comment if you have read the book.

Here is a voucher code for 10% if you would like to join Willoughby Book Club. VOUCHER

Happy Reading

Mid Week Quote: Robert Louis Stevenson

Hello!

I can’t believe it is Wednesday already! I have realised that last week I forgot to do a Mid Week Quote, for this I am very sorry.

This week’s quote is by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Reading

Books I’m Excited About #5

Hello!

I have discovered some more books that I am looking forward to this year and will be preordering these very soon. I love preordering books, I just wish I could afford the books! I have just found a very nice edition of The Lord of the Rings that comes out in October just before my birthday so I have already started dropping hints to the husband.

So here are the next instalment of books that I really want to buy and read…

Spearheaded by The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, Hold Still was an ambitious community project to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown. People of all ages were invited to submit a photographic portrait, taken in a six-week period during May and June 2020, focussed on three core themes – Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness. From these, a panel of judges selected 100 portraits, assessing the images on the emotions and experiences they conveyed.

Featured here in this publication, the final 100 images present a unique and highly personal record of this extraordinary period in our history. From virtual birthday parties, handmade rainbows and community clapping to brave NHS staff, resilient keyworkers and people dealing with illness, isolation and loss. The images convey humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope – expressing and exploring both our shared and individual experiences.

Presenting a true portrait of our nation in 2020, this publication includes a foreword by The Duchess of Cambridge, each image is accompanied by an extended caption and further works show the nationwide outdoor exhibition of Hold Still.

I’m really looking forward to this book as it looks really interesting. I know it is more pictures than words but I think the pictures will speak louder than words.

SAVE THE WORLD OR END IT…

A strange darkness is growing in the Ward. Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.

Fate knocks on her door, in the form of a mythical immortal and a lethal assassin, who tell Corayne that she is the last of an ancient lineage – with the power to save the world from destruction.

Because a man who would burn kingdoms to the ground is raising an army unlike any seen before, bent on uprooting the foundations of the world. With poison in his heart and a stolen sword in his hand, he’ll break the realm itself to claim it. And only Corayne can stop him.

Alongside an unlikely group of reluctant allies, Corayne finds herself on a desperate journey to complete an impossible task, with untold magic singing in her blood and the fate of the world on her shoulders.

A new author for me but I just love the sound of this book. It looks like my kind of perfect read.

Mercia, 788 AD

In the grand Saxon halls of Mercia, King Offa rules with cold ambition. His youngest daughter Eadburh is destined for an arranged marriage, but with reckless spirit her heart is taken by a Welsh prince, a man she can never be matched with and who is quickly and cruelly taken from her.

Eadburh inherited her father’s ruthless ways but it’s the gifts passed down from her mother that are far more dangerous. She is determined to carve her own place in the world, yet her path could cause war.

Offa’s Dyke, 2021

In a cottage hidden amongst the misty Welsh hills of Offa’s Dyke, Bea Dalloway is called to help Simon Armstrong, who is searching for peace. Instead he finds himself disturbed by unsettling noises and visions.

It isn’t long before Bea is also swept up by haunting dreams. The past is whispering to them, calling out for the truth to be told at last. And as dreams and reality weave closer together, Bea and Simon must be strong to resist the pull of the past – and its desire for revenge…

I love a historical fiction book and I really do not mind what time period it is from as I will happily research the time period before reading the book.

Very excited to get ordering these books!

Please drop me a comment with any books you are excited about reading.

Happy Reading

Reading My Height in Books #3

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter weekend. I have had a lovely day today reading and going for a walk in the sunshine.

So I thought it was high time for an update on my Reading My Height in Books. I still haven’t worked out whether to include my digital books somehow. I only read one digital in March and it was only 159 pages so not too much of a loss. Thankfully, I managed to read four physical books so that has added to the height of the pile. I have also realised I need to store said pile as it grows through the year so it looks like it will have to hide in a corner of our living room.

So here is the pile!

For some reason I am not looking at the camera but I have never been any good at having my picture taken.

The pile is now at 13.5 inches just 53.5 inches left to go!

Here are the pictures from January and February as you can see progress is going rather slowly.

Hopefully, I can get some more books read this month!

Happy Reading.

The Weekly Brief

Happy Easter Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a nice day so far.

Here is what I have been up to on the blog this week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

Really enjoying this book so far. Shardlake is such a good character and the way he works out how the crimes were committed is fascinating.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Happy Reading

Happy Easter Weekend!

Happy Easter Weekend Everyone!

I hope everyone has some good weekend plans. This Easter we can see friends and family outside so today we visited my parents which was nice. Last Easter we could not meet at all, so being able to visit each other outside is a move forward. Tomorrow I am also playing for two Easter services which is another improvement on last year where the churches were also closed. Small steps to normality are happening.

I must admit I am little nervous about playing the organ tomorrow, I am rather out of practice playing in front of people but hopefully it goes well. After church tomorrow it will hopefully be a nice home cooked meal and then relaxing with a few Easter chocolates and a nice drink or two.

Monday, for us will be another day of relaxation before it is back to normality on Tuesday. Hopefully, I will get some reading in over the weekend as well because my current read Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom is excellent and I can’t put it down, my husband is also desperate to read it as well so I need to finish it fast.

So that is my Easter weekend. I hope everyone has a good Easter weekend with good books, chocolate and company.

What is everyone reading over this weekend?

Happy Easter

Friday Poetry: Robert Browning

Hello!

I hope everyone has a good Easter weekend planned with a lot of Easter eggs and yummy food involved.

My chosen poem this week is by Robert Browning who wrote this poem whilst he was travelling around Italy in 1845. Browning was writing about his nostalgia for England.

Home-Thoughts from Abroad

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge -
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Robert Browning

Happy Reading