Summer Reading Challenge: Actually Want to Read

Well everyone, will this rain ever stop?

All I want to do this gloomy Saturday is curl up with a mug of tea and a good book, however the house work has been calling. But I have taken a break to work out another book to read for the Summer Reading Challenge.

This prompt is: Actually want to read: read a book that has been on your Want To Read Shelf for more than a year. 

My Want to Read shelf on Goodreads started in 2012 so there are rather a lot of books to choose from.

I have decided to pick one from each year and choose from there.

2012: The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

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In the dark recesses of the Bastille, a young prisoner known only as Phillipe has spent eight years of his short life. When Aramis, posing as his confessor, bribes his way into the prison, the truth about the man’s identity is brought to light. It is a secret which, if revealed, could bring down the King of France, Louis XIV, whose corrupt rule is destroying the well-being of his country.

The ensuing jailbreak and the consequent struggle for power brings the musketeers into swashbuckling action, taking us back to the days of chivalry and making The Man in the Iron Mask one of the most enthralling historical romances in literature.

I love Dumas so would be very happy to read this book over the summer, but it is very weighty and maybe be a bit on the long side for a summer read.

2013: The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory

15849910The final novel in the Cousins’ War series, the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries, The White Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA TODAY) Philippa Gregory tells the fascinating story of Margaret Pole, cousin to the “White Princess,” Elizabeth of York, and lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon.

Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.

After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.

One of the rare Gregory novels I have not read, a definite contender.

2014: Jaws by Peter Benchley

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Smashing together, they crush bones and flesh and organs into jelly.

The jaws of a giant killer shark that terrorizes a small holiday resort on Long Island.

Private feuds, lusts and jealousies take second place to a relentless duel, almost unbearable in its suspense and danger…

 

 

 

 

What a good book to read on the beach? I must admit I do want to go snorkeling whilst away, but this might make me change my mind.

2015: The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

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1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men. In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted. But defiance can come at a price. 1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confident to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice. Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death. Sister. Wife. Traitor. She holds the fate of England in her hands.

I have owned this book for a very long time. I met the author and had it signed when I bought it. Anne O’Brien was taking part in a book day at Berrington Hall a National Trust property and she was a lovely lady who I had a very long chat with.

2016: While you were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

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Yesterday your life was perfect. Today you’ll find out that was all a lie.

Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her happiness is shattered when she wakes up one morning in her neighbour’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee and scared of losing everything she cares about, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her life knows what really happened that night. When the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out.

But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?

This has been sat on my Kindle for far too long and needs to be read.

2017: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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Yvonne Carmichael has worked hard to achieve the life she always wanted: a high-flying career in genetics, a beautiful home, a good relationship with her husband and their two grown-up children.

Then one day she meets a stranger at the Houses of Parliament and, on impulse, begins a passionate affair with him – a decision that will put everything she values at risk.

At first she believes she can keep the relationship separate from the rest of her life, but she can’t control what happens next. All of her careful plans spiral into greater deceit and, eventually, a life-changing act of violence.

Apple Tree Yard is a psychological thriller about one woman’s adultery and an insightful examination of the values we live by and the choices we make, from an acclaimed writer at the height of her powers.

This book has been sat on my bookshelf for way too long and another strong contender.

2018: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway at the beginning of 2018 and it has been sat on my TBR shelf ever since. Really like the sound of the storyline and was very pleased to win the book.

 

So that is my list to choose from, I will have a good think and see what I come up with. If anybody has any advice about the books it would be gratefully received.

The List so Far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

The Book is Better: – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale

 

Happy reading!

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Summer Reading Challenge: On the Bandwagon

Hello my fellow Book Dragons!

I am currently sat here listening to the rain, waiting for the BT engineer to come and fix our internet, as the BT engineer who was working in our road yesterday very kindly gave us somebody else’s phone line and we lost our lovely fibre broadband. Thankfully, I can use all my lovely phone data to blog with.

Summer is fast approaching and I still haven’t planned my reading list for the challenge. The challenge will start on the 21st June and finish on 23rd September 2019, also if by any chance I finish the beginner list early I will try and do some of the expert level reading prompts.

The chosen books so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 

Just another 9 books to choose!

This prompt, On the Bandwagon, is to read one of the ‘most read’ books right now on Goodreads.

I have been having a look at the list and have chosen two likely targets that appeal to me.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

 

This has been on my TBR pile for a very long time and to honest is a very strong contender.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

Another strong contender that has been on my TBR pile for way too long. This is going to be hard choice I feel.

 

To be honest looking at the list these are the only two that jump out at me, the others I have either read or just do not fancy reading. Hopefully only having two to choose from will make the choice easier. I am really starting to look forward to this challenge, I just hope I can stay on track and complete it.

Please let me know your thoughts on the two books and help me decide.

Happy reading.

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Mid Week Quote: Edmund Hillary

Happy Wednesday!

I hope everyone is having a good week so far and if you are not I hope your week will start to get better.

My chosen quote this week is by the climber Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), who along with Tenzing Norgay became the first climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest. What made Hillary different from other climbers was that instead of focusing on the physical needs of the climb he focused on the mindset needed to achieve the summit.

 

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

Edmund Hillary

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Toodles for now.

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Star Trek Discovery: The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack (Review)

Star Trek Discovery: The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack

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About the author

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Una McCormack is the author of seven previous Star Trek novels and four Doctor Who novels. She has also written numerous short stories and audio dramas. She lives in Cambridge, England, with her partner of many years and their daughter.

Blurb

Despite being an inexperienced Starfleet cadet, Sylvia Tilly became essential to the U.S.S. Discovery finding its way back home from the Mirror Universe. But how did she find that courage? From where did she get that steel? Who nurtured that spark of brilliance.

It’s not easy being sixteen, especially when everyone expects the best from Tilly. It’s even harder when her mother and father are Federation luminaries pressing her to attend one the best schools that the Federation has to offer. Tilly desires to achieve great things-even though she hasn’t quite worked out how to do that or what it is she wants to do. But this year, everything will change for Tilly, as she is about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime- an adventure that will take her ever closer to the stars…

Review

This is the fourth Star Trek Discovery book I have read and another that I loved. I love how the books tie in so brilliantly with the TV series and give you such excellent back stories. I have preordered the next one and I can not wait for it to arrive on my door mat!

I found this a wonderful little story of a young girl becoming a young woman and most importantly finding out her true self and worth. Poor Tilly has spent her life trying to please her mother, father, grandmother and Quinn her grandmother’s husband. She has always tried to be her best at everything but it has not always made her happy. It was fascinating to learn how Tilly entered Starfleet and where she got her bravery and confidence.

Tilly is adorable if rather awkward and at one point dam right rude and in need of a good shake and somebody teaching her some manners but somehow I always found myself forgiving her.

I really did not like Tilly’s mother in this book and was pleased she did not feature greatly in the book, the woman was every child’s worst nightmare. I am surprised Tilly did not turn out very differently with that much pressure in her life. Tilly’s dad is quite different but really should have stuck up for Tilly better and been there more for her.

The other element I really liked was seeing Michael Burnham in a totally different light, although she did not really feature in the book the part she was in was lovely and showed her to be an amazing friend to have in your corner.

This book read very much like a YA book but that did not effect my opinion of it or my enjoyment. If it was not for the reason I needed sleep to go to work in the morning I would have not put it down. The only reason I did not give the book a full 5 Dragons and only 4 was because the ending was a little bit too perfect for my liking. This is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to any Star Trek fan.

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To Purchase

Waterstones

Amazon

Kindle

Book Depository

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Down the TBR Hole #10

Down the TBR Hole was the brain child of Lost In A Story. The idea is to reduce the length of your Goodreads TBR.

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads want to read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 or 10 books.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go

 

Hello again!

So it is time for another Down the TBR Hole, but I must be honest I have added a few more books to the list this week. The list is now at 474.

1. The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle

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1942: Boldly advancing through Asia, the Japanese need a train route from Burma going north. In a prison camp, British POWs are forced into labor. The bridge they build will become a symbol of service and survival to one prisoner, Colonel Nicholson, a proud perfectionist. Pitted against the warden, Colonel Saito, Nicholson will nevertheless, out of a distorted sense of duty, aid his enemy. While on the outside, as the Allies race to destroy the bridge, Nicholson must decide which will be the first casualty: his patriotism or his pride.

 

 

 

I’m not entirely sure I still want to read this book as my reading tastes have changed quite a bit since 2014 when I added the book. So sadly I think this book is coming off the list.

GO

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

 

 

This definitely stays as I studied Sylvia Plath’s poems for my GCSE English and loved them so I really want to read this book and thankfully own a copy.

KEEP

3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never been entirely sure what to make of this book and whether I really want to read it or not, so because I’m still undecided I have decided to remove it from the list for now.

GO

4. What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge

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Twelve-year-old Katy is constantly making and quickly breaking resolutions about how she will change her ways and treat others, especially her five younger brothers and sisters, with more respect and compassion. When Katy meets her Cousin Helen, an invalid, Katy is awed by her kindness, prettiness, and generosity. Katy is determined to become more like Helen, a resolution that lasts only a few hours. Soon, however, Katy gets a chance to become more like cousin Helen than she ever wished as she finds herself confined to her bedroom for four years as a result of an accident. Much of the story is focused on the change Katy undergoes during her illness. Helen visits again to advise Katy to learn from her experience and to try to become the center of the house by making her room and herself more attractive to others. One way Katy decides to take Helen’s advice is through assuming the responsibility of running the house, a job that consists of giving the servants instructions and ringing her bell to summon her sisters when she has a task for them. As soon as Katy has learned the lesson about how to care for others, she recovers and regains the ability to walk.

This is another that will stay on the list as I have been meaning to read it since I was little and have owned the book for many years.

KEEP

5. The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf

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Woolf’s first novel is a haunting book, full of light and shadow. It takes Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose and their niece, Rachel, on a sea voyage from London to a resort on the South American coast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly I just cannot get on with Virginia Woolf so this book is definitely not staying on the list. Her books just drive me a little bit crazy.

GO

6. Middlemarch by George Eliot

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Taking place in the years leading up to the First Reform Bill of 1832, Middlemarch explores nearly every subject of concern to modern life: art, religion, science, politics, self, society, human relationships. Among her characters are some of the most remarkable portraits in English literature: Dorothea Brooke, the heroine, idealistic but naive; Rosamond Vincy, beautiful and egoistic: Edward Casaubon, the dry-as-dust scholar: Tertius Lydgate, the brilliant but morally-flawed physician: the passionate artist Will Ladislaw: and Fred Vincey and Mary Garth, childhood sweethearts whose charming courtship is one of the many humorous elements in the novel’s rich comic vein.

To be honest I could have sworn I had read this book but apparently I have not. Possibly I tried to read it when I was little and gave up. So I will give it one more chance and keep it on the list.

KEEP

7. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

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When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn’t so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

I have always liked the idea of reading the Wicked books and finding out the history before the Wizard of Oz, so this definitely stays.

KEEP

8. Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

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Dickens’s first historical novel is a thrilling tale of murder, treachery, and forbidden love with rioting mob scenes to make any reader’s hair stand on end
 Barnaby Rudge is a young innocent simpleton who is devoted to his talkative raven, Grip. When he gets caught up in the mayhem of the Gordon riots and a mysterious unsolved murder, his life is put in jeopardy. This is a powerful historical tale of forbidden love, abduction, and the dangerous power of the mob.

 

 

 

It is Dickens! Hence it stays.

KEEP

9. Felix Holt: The Radical by George Eliot

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When the young nobleman Harold Transome returns to England from the colonies with a self-made fortune, he scandalizes the town of Treby Magna with his decision to stand for Parliament as a Radical. But after the idealistic Felix Holt also returns to the town, the difference between Harold’s opportunistic values and Holt’s profound beliefs becomes apparent. Forthright, brusque and driven by a firm desire to educate the working-class, Felix is at first viewed with suspicion by many, including the elegant but vain Esther Lyon, the daughter of the local clergyman. As she discovers, however, his blunt words conceal both passion and deep integrity. Soon the romantic and over-refined Esther finds herself overwhelmed by a heart-wrenching decision: whether to choose the wealthy Transome as a husband, or the impoverished but honest Felix Holt.

I think I will take this one off the list for now and see what I think of the other George Eliot books first.

GO

10. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

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In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

 

 

 

 

I’ve always wanted to read this book so this will stay on the list.

KEEP

That’s another week done and 4 books off the list! The list is now down to 470.

I would love to hear your opinions on these books and also please drop me a link to your blog if you are also doing the Down the TBR Hole.

Bye for now.

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Summer Reading Challenge: The Book is Better

Well it is back to planning my books for the reading challenge. I have decided I’m going to try not to read books I have read before but go for all new reads.

I have chosen The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling for the first prompt Good as Gold. 

The prompt I have to work with next is The Book is Better: Read a book that is being adapted for film or TV this year.

So I have been having a little look around and have come up with a few options to mull over. They are as follows:-

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

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Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund.

But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatized daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

 

Where’s You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

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When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.

 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

 

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle

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Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con? What has he had to do to survive a life of lies? And who has had to pay the price?

When Roy meets a wealthy widow online, he can hardly believe his luck. Just like Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, Roy is a man who lives to deceive—and everything about Betty suggests she’s an easy mark. He’s confident that his scheme to swindle her will be a success. After all, he’s done this before.

Sure enough, Betty soon lets Roy move into her beautiful home, seemingly blind to the web of lies he’s woven around her. But who is Roy, really? Spanning almost a century, this stunning and suspenseful feat of storytelling interweaves the present with the past. As the clock turns back and the years fall away, long-hidden secrets are forced into the light. Some things can never be forgotten. Or forgiven.

 

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.

 

 

 

So these are my options to mull over and decide what I would like to choose, to be honest I want to read them all and have put them on my TBR list but I need to choose one for my challenge.

Any help would be most welcome, please feel free to let me know your preferences.

Happy reading.

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Friday Poetry

Morning everyone!

After an amazing dog walk yesterday, I decided to choose a poem with a dog theme. Coco went on her biggest walk since her operation yesterday and managed to get to the top of Kinver Edge. She also dragged my husband and myself at top speed around the route that should of taken 45mins and we did it in 30mins. Not bad for a woof woof with three legs!

The chosen poem is by Ogden Nash. Frederic Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was an American poet known for his unconventional rhyming schemes. He wrote over 500 pieces in his lifetime.

 

“The Dog”

The Truth I do not stretch or shove

When I state that the dog is full of love.

I’ve also found, by actual test,

A wet dog is the lovingest.

Ogden Nash

 

Happy Friday Everyone!

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