July 2019: Wrap Up

July has been a very busy month and thankfully I have managed a bit of reading, most of it to be honest when on holiday. I spent the end of July struggling through some text books for my Diet and Nutrition course and reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt when I had some spare time.

So here are the books I read, if you click the pictures you will get sent to the review:-

Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

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352 pages

4/5 Dragons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor

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256 pages

4/5 Dragons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaws by Peter Benchley

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340 Pages

4/5 Dragons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

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130 Pages

2/5 Dragons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total pages in July: 1078

Total pages this year: 9760

 

Poems this month

5/7/19- Rain in Summer by Henry Wordsworth

12/7/19- To You by Langston Hughes

19/7/19- Morning Song by Sara Teasdale

26/7/19- High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr

 

Quotes this month

3//7/19- Song of Solomon

10/7/19- Nigel Kennedy

17/7/19- Neil Armstrong

24/7/19- Lee Hamilton

 

So that is my July Wrap Up. Fingers crossed I manage a few more books in August.

Happy Reading

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Mid Week Quote: Frederick Delius

Hello Everyone!

I can’t quite believe it is the last day of July, it really has flown by.

I have chosen a musical based quote for this week, which I think is perfect. The quote is by English composer Frederick Delius.

 

“It is only that which cannot be expressed otherwise that is worth expressing in music.”

 

Frederick Delius

 

Happy Reading!

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New Books: 30/07/2019

Hello!

Today I have had in influx of books! That in my opinion is a glorious day. One book that I have had preordered for a very long time and the rest from NetGalley. I just need more time to read them all.

Here are the books:-

NetGalley Books

The King’s Evil by Andrew Taylor

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A royal scandal that could change the face of England forever…

London 1667. In the Court of Charles II, it’s a dangerous time to be alive – a wrong move may lead to disgrace, exile or death. The discovery of a body at Clarendon House, the palatial home of one of the highest courtiers in the land, could therefore have catastrophic consequences.

James Marwood, a traitor’s son, is ordered to cover up the murder. But the dead man is Edward Alderley, the cousin of one of Marwood’s acquaintances. Cat Lovett had every reason to want her cousin dead. Since his murder, she has vanished, and all the evidence points to her as the killer.

Marwood is determined to clear Cat’s name and discover who really killed Alderley. But time is running out for everyone. If he makes a mistake, it could threaten not only the government but the King himself…

 

Under Pressure: Living Life and Avoiding Death on A Nuclear Submarine by Richard Humphreys

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A candid, visceral, and incredibly entertaining account of what it’s like to live in one of the most extreme man-made environments in the world.

Imagine a world without natural light, where you can barely stand up straight for fear of knocking your head, where you have no idea of where in the world you are or what time of day it is, where you sleep in a coffin-sized bunk and sometimes eat a full roast for breakfast.

Now imagine sharing that world with 140 other sweaty bodies, crammed into a 430ft x 33ft steel tube, 300ft underwater, for up to 90 days at a time, with no possibility of escape. And to top it off, a sizeable chunk of your living space is taken up by the most formidably destructive nuclear weapons history has ever known. This is the world of the submariner. This is life under pressure.

As a restless and adventurous 18-year-old, Richard Humphreys joined the submarine service in 1985 and went on to serve aboard the nuclear deterrent for five years at the end of the Cold War. Nothing could have prepared him for life beneath the waves. Aside from the claustrophobia and disorientation, there were the prolonged periods of boredom, the constant dread of discovery by the Soviets, and the smorgasbord of rank odours that only a group of poorly-washed and flatulent submariners can unleash.

But even in this most pressurised of environments, the consolations were unique: where else could you sit peacefully for hours listening to whale song, or…

Based on first-hand experience, Under Pressure is the candid, visceral and incredibly entertaining account of what it’s like to live, work, sleep, eat – and stay sane – in one of the most extreme man-made environments on the planet.

 

A Gift in December by Jenny Gladwell

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Love can grow anywhere in this cosy, romantic tale inspired by London’s most famous Christmas tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

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Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

 

 

 

 

 

Book that arrived today

The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller

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A shattered ship, a divided crew—trapped in the infernal nightmare of conflict!

Hearing of the outbreak of hostilities between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire, Captain Christopher Pike attempts to bring the U.S.S. Enterprise home to join in the fight. But in the hellish nebula known as the Pergamum, the stalwart commander instead finds an epic battle of his own, pitting ancient enemies against one another—with not just the Enterprise, but her crew as the spoils of war.

Lost and out of contact with Earth for an entire year, Pike and his trusted first officer, Number One, struggle to find and reunite the ship’s crew—all while Science Officer Spock confronts a mystery that puts even his exceptional skills to the test…with more than their own survival possibly riding on the outcome….

 

That’s my list of new books. I’m very excited to get reading them. If anybody has any opinions on the books or authors please drop me a comment.

Happy Reading.

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Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor (Review)

Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor

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About the author

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Andrew Taylor was born in 1951 and is a British author best known for his crime novels. He has won the Diamond Dagger which is Britain’s top crime-writing award.

Blurb

BROKEN VOICES

It’s Christmas before the Great War and two lonely schoolboys have been forced into companionship. Left in the care of an elderly teacher, there is little to do but listen to his eerie tales about the nearby Cathedral. The boys concoct a plan to discover if the stories are true. But the Cathedral is filled with hidden dangers, and curiosity can prove fatal.

THE LEPER HOUSE

One stormy night in Suffolk, a man’s car breaks down following his sister’s funeral. The only source of light comes from a remote cottage by the sea. The mysterious woman who lives there begs him to leave, yet he can’t shake the sense that she somehow needs him. He attempts to return the next day but she is nowhere to be seen. And neither is the cottage.

THE SCRATCH

Clare and Gerald live a perfect life in the Forest of Dean with their cat, Cannop. Then Gerald’s young nephew comes to stay. Jack is from another world – active service in Afghanistan. The experience has left him outwardly untouched, but for a scratch that won’t heal. Jack and Cannop don’t like each other. Clare and Jack like each other too much. The scratch begins to fester.

Review

This book is not on my summer reading challenge and to be honest I read it by accident. I did not want to take my Kindle to the beach so I borrowed one of the books my husband had brought on holiday with him. My husband has read a lot of Andrew Taylor’s books but this one is a first for me and will not be the last.

This book has three stories is in it, so I will review them separately.

Broken Voices

Out of the three, this is my favourite story and feels the most Gothic to me. The story is based around two schoolboys who cannot go home for Christmas so must spend the season with an elderly teacher. They hear an old legend about the Cathedral and so decide to see for themselves whether it is true and they attempt this in the middle of night, adding to the mystery and drama. I must admit the two boys are braver than I, as I could never go in to a Cathedral in the middle of the night, too many ghosts for my liking.

Taylor sets the scene perfectly, it is just like a gothic novel from the Victorian period. He describes how the building looks different in the night, how the shadows flicker in the candlelight and how they might not be alone. At the end of the tale I was not entirely sure if it was all real it felt like a dream that one of the boys had when they were young. The story left me pondering somewhat.

The Leper House

This story was my least favourite and to be honest rather forgettable, I had to remind myself what happened in it before writing the review. I enjoyed the story but wouldn’t read it again as it did not really have anything special about it.

The story is about a man who meets a mysterious woman in a cottage which has no power and no comforts. This woman is a complete mystery to the man and he has to see her again, even when she tries to push him away. However, the next day he goes to find the cottage again and nothing is there, just some ruins.

This story was rather a confusing read and just felt more complicated than it needed to be. The characters were also rather unremarkable and nothing really stood out for me. The one thing I was really happy with at the end was that in my opinion he made the right choice.

The Scratch

This was a creepy read, especially for a cat owner and one of those cats is black. I was not entirely sure what to make of this story but really enjoyed reading it. There were a lot of What Ifs in the story and it left me pondering again.

I also enjoyed how Taylor included one of the main characters as a PTSD sufferer who has come back from being in the army and is struggling with getting back into the world again. I must admit I have not read many books tackling this issue and it was good to see Taylor including it in this story.

I did not really like Clare, I’m not sure why but she just got on my nerves. Gerald is obviously a hard working man who has always worked hard for his family and is a caring man who is happy to try and help his nephew where he can.

The story was really good and kept me hooked and I liked the ending and especially Cannop the cat, although I felt sorry for him for his name. I would have liked a bit more Gothic though.

Overall, I enjoyed the three stories and it has lit the spark for me wanting to read more of Taylor’s books. The only reason the book did not get the full 5 Dragons and only got 4 was because I wanted more Gothic from the last two stories. A very good beach read.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

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ABC Book Challenge: F

It is time for another instalment of the ABC Book Challenge and this letter is F.

If you would like to see the previous letters please click on the links below:

A | B | C | D | E |

 

Books I have loved beginning with F

 

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander, J. K. Rowling

The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brien

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Felix the Railway Cat by Kate Moore

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett

Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor

The First Christmas and Other Bible Stories From the New Testament by Enid Blyton

Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent

Five Escape Brexit Island by Bruno Vincent

Five Forget Mother’s Day by Bruno Vincent

Five Give Up the Booze by Bruno Vincent

Five Go Adventuring Again by Enid Blyton

Five Go Off in a Caravan by Enid Blyton

Five Go to Smuggler’s Top by Enid Blyton

Five Lose Dad in the Garden Centre by Bruno Vincent

Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Five on Brexit Island by Bruno Vincent

Five on Kirrin Island Again by Enid Blyton

Five Run Away Together by Enid Blyton

Flying Ace: Jack Fairfax, Royal Flying Corps, 1915-1918 by Jim Eldridge

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Books on my TBR list beginning with F

 

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis

 

So that is another letter complete. I hope everyone has had a good weekend.

There are certain books that have review links attached, just click the book title.

Please drop me a comment if you have read any of the books above and want to chat.

Happy reading.

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p.s. I have a massive Famous Five addiction.

 

Friday Poetry: John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Hello!

Yesterday my husband, Lord Book Dragon got to fly in a Spitfire. This was his birthday present from his parents and siblings. Needless to say he loved every minute of it. Due to this I decided to choose a suitable poem.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr (1922-1941) was a World War II Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot and poet. He flew spitfires in Britain until he was sadly killed in an accidental mid air collision over England in 1941.

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High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air . . .

 

 

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr

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Happy reading!

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Waterstones Challenge: Orpington

Hello everyone!

It has been ages since I visited a new Waterstones but yesterday I finally found another one. We had to stay the night in Orpington because it was close to where we need to be today so we decided to visit the Waterstones. Only problem was we did not realise it’s not technically in Orpington but in St Mary Cray and is a 1.2 mile or more walk from where we were staying in the centre of Orpington. Oh well the walk there and back did us good.

The shop was wonderful, it was packed with books but laid out really well. We also really liked the children’s section and all the cuddly toys. A member of staff greeted us and asked if we needed help and it all felt very friendly and relaxed. There was also a massive New Book section which was very exciting.

I only bought two books and they were paperbacks. I didn’t want to go crazy because of the long walk back in the very hot weather so I went for thin books as well.

The two books I went for were:-

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

This is on my summer challenge list and I don’t own it so I was happy to get a hard copy as all this Kindle reading is upsetting me. I just prefer a real book!

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

As you probably know by now I love the books by Elly Griffiths, so I keep buying any I have not read when I see them.

Anyway, that was my little Waterstones adventure. If you are near or in Orpington anytime soon pay the store a visit as it is really good.

Happy Thursday reading everyone.

Jaws by Peter Benchley (Review)

Jaws by Peter Benchley

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About the author

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Peter Bradford Benchley was an American author best known for writing the novel Jaws and co-writing the screenplay for its highly successful film adaptation. The success of the book led to many publishers commissioning books about mutant rats, rabid dogs and the like threatening communities. The subsequent film directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written by Benchley is generally acknowledged as the first summer blockbuster. Benchley also wrote The Deep and The Island which were also adapted into films.

Blurb

The classic, blockbuster thriller of man-eating terror that inspired the Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again—or for the first time!

Review

This is a book that has been sat on my TBR list for way too long and because I was going to be swimming in the ocean and sat on the beach a lot I thought I had better read a book about a man-eating shark.

I have always loved the film adaptation of this book and the book did not disappoint me. From the very beginning of this book I was hooked. I think the main thing that immediately caught my attention was the fact that Benchley has written the shark’s perspective in the book and he has not done it in a corny manner but in a realistic way that a shark would think.

The character I did not like was Ellen, she was in my humble opinion a vile woman who did not deserve the life she had. She did not appreciate her husband or the life he is working so hard for. She was never happy and made her long suffering husband unhappy as well. All Chief Brody wants is to make his wife and children happy and his kids ignore him and watch TV and his wife takes sleeping pills rather than talk to him.

Chief Brody is a typical town chief trying to keep his town safe and happy but never in his life expecting to deal with something like a man-eating shark. I really liked the character of Brody because he was down to earth and just a generally likeable guy.

Hooper is another character I am not keen on, he is cocky and arrogant and a clear trouble maker. I could have happily lived without him in the book. However the character of Quint more than made up for Hooper. Quint was a real character and quite disturbing at times but this just added to his character. He was a man that has lived on the sea hunting for the biggest catch and the biggest payday and that is all he cares about. Quint made me laugh quite a few times in this book.

I must admit I did find the book a bit tummy turning at times and certain parts of the book I had to skim through, maybe I am too squeamish for these things. I really enjoyed this book and did not take me long to read. I would happily read it again and recommend it to friends and family. I gave this book 4 out of 5 Dragons. DUUUUU NUN DUUUUN NUN DUN DUN DUN DUN.

Details of the edition I read:

Format: Kindle

Pages: 340

Published: 2012

 

Links to purchase

Waterstones

Book Depository

 

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Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall (Review)

Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

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About the author

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Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones medieval and time-travel romance series.

Blurb

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

Review

I have owned this book since the day it came out as I love all of Dianne Duvall’s books but I am ashamed to say I only managed to read it a few weeks ago. This book helped me while away a few hours on my flight to Maui and I am so pleased I saved it for a moment like this flight.

Duvall has written yet another brilliant book and I am so pleased it answered a few questions I had at the end of Blade of Darkness.

There are only two main characters in this book Susan and the mystery man she finds buried in her basement. Susan is a gifted one and her gift is the ability to read people’s minds, moving to an isolated house means she can have some peace and quiet from minds. I liked Susan’s character and felt sorry for her because she has always had to be on her own because she has not been able to trust people with the knowledge of her ability. All she has had for a long time is her beloved dog Jax.

The mystery man Susan digs up also has abilities and these abilities are quite scary but Susan does not get scared she always trusts him and a friendship develops between them. Susan and the mystery man work together to try and work out the man’s identity and his past.

The storyline is slower paced than Duvall’s usual books but this was ok and did not detract from the story. It did not have as much action as the other Immortal Guardian books but I enjoyed this change of pace and a side story from the main storyline that has been running through the Immortal Guardian’s books.

The main thing that I did miss was the camaraderie between the Immortal Guardians, we only got to David’s house with everyone in at the end of the book and I really missed this. The feeling of family, friendship and craziness that you get as a reader from the setting of David’s house in the other Immortal Guardians books I really like and because I was missing it from this one I only gave the book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

Overall, I loved this book and really enjoyed the storyline. As usual I would highly recommend this series of books to any paranormal romance fans. I am really looking forward to the next one in the series and hope that the series continues at such a good quality of reading.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

 

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Mid Week Quote: Neil Armstrong

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

 

This Saturday is the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing, so I thought a suitable quote was required for this week. You can probably work out what the quote is.

This quote is by the first human to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon 50 years ago on the 20th July 1969. However, I do think we should mention poor Michael Collins who had to stay in the command module and so did not get the opportunity to walk on the moon. I always feel sorry for the poor guys who had to stay in the command module. I would love to know how they choose the people to stay in the command module, do you think they draw straws?

 

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

 

Neil Armstrong (1969)

 

Happy Wednesday.

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