The Weekly Brief

Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. Blogging has gone slightly better this week thankfully.

Here is what has been happening on the blog.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

This is the first book I have read by Brian McGilloway and so far I am absolutely loving it.

Books Acquired

I had all these lovely books for my birthday and I can’t wait to get reading them all.

Happy Reading

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In the Shadow of Queens by Alison Weir (Review)

In the Shadow of Queens by Alison Weir

Blurb

Behind every great king stands a queen. And behind every queen, the whole court watches on…

Over the years of his reign, six different women took their place beside King Henry VIII of England as his wife and queen.

But the real stories of the six Tudor queens belong to those who lived among them. Played out in glittering palaces and whispering courts, these are tales of the people who loved and served these women, and those who lied and betrayed them.

Collected together for the first time, In the Shadow of Queens reveals thirteen startling stories from the Tudor court, told by those at the very heart of that world.

Review

I had already read the first few of these short stories on my Kindle but when I saw that the complete set had been put into a book I immediately ordered myself a copy. 

I reread the first few stories and then read the rest of the book. The only story that I really did not enjoy was the very last story. I found it so sad and disgraceful that poor Katharine Parr was not allowed to rest in peace and her grave was opened up and and vandalised so many times over the years. 

I must admit the stories got longer as the book went on which seemed a shame because the first few stories were very short in comparison. I would have liked the first few stories to be longer. I really enjoyed how Weir chose her topics for the stories. They were all connected with the queens in some way but some were based on places and some on people even if they were quite obscure people. 

I also really enjoyed Weir’s notes about what was historically accurate and what bits she embellished by herself. All the stories offered new view points of the queens lives which was really interesting. I particularly enjoyed the story about the infant Mary Seymour which we sadly know so little about. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I am very sad the series have come to end. I will definitely be reading more books by Weir. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

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

Alison Weir was born in 1951 and is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British Royalty.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Friday Poetry: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy Friday!

My chosen poem this week is by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882). Longfellow was an American poet and educator. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and was one of the Fireside Poets from New England.

The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man. 

Week in, week out, from morn till night, 
You can hear his bellowed blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
The love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes. 

Toiling, - rejoicing, - sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy Reading

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Mid Week Quote: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Wednesday!

I hope everyone is having a good week so far. Today is my birthday and although I’m working all day I am hoping for a few treats.

My chosen quote today is by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) who was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet.

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

WWW Wednesday: 20/10/2021

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Hello!

We are halfway through the week. Yesterday I got loads of reading done as I didn’t have much teaching. Sadly, today will not contain much reading due to loads of teaching.

What I am Currently Reading

Still chipping away at SPQR, I very much doubt I will get it finished by the end of the month. Just started the Angela Carter yesterday, so far so good.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

I’ve had a busy week on the reading front. Wish You Were Dead was my first Peter James book and I will definitely be reading more of his books.

What I Think I will Read Next

I have so many books to choose from that I have no idea what I will read next but it will possibly be one of these books.

Please drop me a comment with what you are reading this week.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Wish You Were Dead by Peter James (Review)

Wish You Were Dead by Peter James

Blurb

Wish You Were Dead is a Quick Read short story from bestselling author Peter James. Roy Grace and his family have left Sussex behind for a week’s holiday in France. The website promised a grand house, but when they arrive the place is very different from the pictures. And it soon becomes clear that their holiday nightmare is only just beginning. An old enemy of Roy, a lowlife criminal he had put behind bars, is now out of jail – and out for revenge. He knows where Roy and his family have gone on holiday. Of course he does. He’s been hacking their emails – and they are in the perfect spot for him to pay Roy back . . . 

Review

I got this book because I saw a review of it on bookstagram and thought it sounded good and I do enjoy the occasional quick read. This is also my first book by Peter James and it will definitely not be my last. 

I flew through this book and not because it was a quick read, I just could not put it down. Detective Roy Grace is on holiday but after a long and arduous drive where his son drives him mad with the constant “are we there yet?” The drive ends with a disappointing location which looks nothing like what was on the website and something more out of a horror film. Grace’s wife wants to leave straight away but there is no way Grace is doing anymore driving. 

The first mystery that faces them is where Jack is. Jack is meant to already be at the house but he isn’t and because of no phone line and no phone signal they have no way of contacting him. However, it soon becomes clear that Jack’s absence is not the only odd thing the family are encountering. Somebody else knows where Grace and his family are on holiday and this person is far from savoury and will soon make an appearance. 

The story moves very quickly which is to be expected due to the book being a quick read but this just added to the tension in my opinion. I really enjoyed this book and will be getting more books about Detective Roy Grace. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

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

Peter James is a UK number one bestselling author, best known for his crime and thriller novels. He is the creator of the much loved detective Roy Grace. His books have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

He has won over forty awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award. Many of his books have been adapted for film, TV and stage. 

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Goodreads Monday: 18/10/2021

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good start to the week.

I haven’t taken part in a Goodreads Monday for a while so I decided it was high time I returned.

My chosen book this week has been inspired by a fellow bookstagrammar who is reading the novels by Angela Carter. I haven’t read any Angela Carter for years but I remembered I have a very beautiful copy of one her books sat on my bookshelf and I have dug it out to read next.

Once upon a time fairy tales weren’t meant just for children, and neither is Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales. This collection contains lyrical tales, bloody tales and hilariously funny and ripely bawdy stories from countries all around the world – from the Arctic to Asia – and no dippy princesses or soppy fairies. Instead, we have pretty maids and old crones; crafty women and bad girls; enchantresses and midwives; rascal aunts and odd sisters.

I’m looking forward to reading this book because I love how different Angela Carter’s writing is. Thankfully, Carter doesn’t write about damsels in distress and pristine princesses, instead you get strong powerful women who stand no messing.

Please drop me a message if you have read this book or have taken part in Goodreads Monday.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I have been very naughty this week and fallen behind with my blog posts. I know I keep saying I will get better but I seem to be getting worse. Hopefully, I will get into a good blogging routine soon.

Anyway, here is what I have been up to.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

I’ve slowed down a little bit on SPQR but I’m still enjoying it and chipping away at it. I just started The Secret of Chimneys last night, so far so good.

Acquired Books

This arrived a couple of days ago, my Christmas reading list has started to build up.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Mid Week Quote: Joshua Homme

Hello!

We are finally halfway through the week. I haven’t managed much reading this week so far but hopefully it will improve.

My chosen quote this week is a music quote by Joshua Homme. Homme is an American singer, musician, songwriter and record producer. He is the founder and primary songwriter of the band Queens of the Stone Age.

“Music is the only thing I’ve ever known that doesn’t have any rules at all.”

Joshua Homme

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon (Review)

The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon

Blurb

In the windswept seaside town of Concarneau, a local wine merchant is shot. In fact, someone is out to kill all the influential men and the entire town is soon sent into a state of panic. For Maigret, the answers lie with the pale, downtrodden waitress Emma, and a strange yellow dog lurking in the shadows…

Review

I was really excited to read this book because I do love a book with a dog in but I always worry at the same time whether it will upset me.

This book finds Maigret on fine form again, and again no mention or sign of his long suffering wife. Where has she gone? He hasn’t seen or spoken to her for two books now. Maigret finds himself investigating a shooting and this brings him to another strange location and staying in another hotel. 

A strange yellow dog has shown up in the town at the same time as the shooting and it spends most of its time hanging out at the bar with the waitress Emma. However, as the story continues and more strange things happen the townsfolk begin to get suspicious of the yellow dog. 

Someone is out to rid the town of its most influential men but to be honest none of them are very nice so you can see why somebody has taken a dislike to them. Maigret is trying to find out who this person is but he is hampered by the constant pestering of the Mayor to make an arrest. The Mayor will accept any arrest whether the person is guilty or not, anything to stop the town spiralling into panic. 

Maigret however lets nothing phase him and pieces together the case. I love the ending as it is quite different from a usual Maigret book and almost falls into a Christie novel. Maigret always appears so laid back whilst conducting his investigations but you can tell he never misses a thing and it is because he looks laid back that people let things slip that helps him solve the case. I struggled a little bit with this book and so I only give it 3 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

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

Georges Simenon (1903-1989) was a Belgian writer who published nearly 500 novels and many short stories. Simenon is best known as the creator of the Maigret stories.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you