Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday dear Charles Dickens!

Happy Birthday to YOU!

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Another of my favourite authors was born on this day and that is the great Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens was born on this day in 1812 in Portsmouth. Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in debtors prison. Despite his lack of education Dickens went on to write 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non fiction articles, lectured and performed readings, he also edited a weekly journal for 20 years. He was also a campaigner for children’s rights, education and social reforms.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was the first Dickens novel I read and also the first classic book I read at the young age of 9 years old. Later I fell in love with A Tale of Two Cities and have since read it many times. I have not read all Dickens’ novels though sadly but hope to remedy that soon. I do own a beautiful set of old Dickens’ novels that are a joy to behold and read and a complete set of Vintage Classics that are paperback. I tend to read the paperbacks though as I do not like to take the old antique ones out of the house. Sadly as we are trying to get our library room finished my Dickens collection is stacked up in the living room, but I have included a few snaps of my antique Dickens books.

So Charles Dickens, happy birthday and thank you for your wonderful work, you truly were a literary genius.

Lady Book Dragon.

 

The Dickens’ novels that I have read are as follows:-

The Pickwick Papers

A Christmas Carol

A Tale of Two Cities

Our Mutual Friend

The Old Curiosity Shop

Great Expectations.

Which one do you think I should read next? I would love to hear what your favourite Dickens novel is.

 

 

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As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins (Review)

As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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About the author

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Gerard Manley Hopkins was born on the 28th July 1844, he was an English poet and Jesuit priest. His two main themes in his poetry are nature and religion. He died in 1889 of what is believed to be typhoid fever. His work was largely ignored during his life but was published posthumously.

Blurb

Considered unpublishable in his lifetime, the Victorian priest’s groundbreaking, experimental verse on nature’s glory and despair.

Review

Oh dear, as I have mentioned in the past I struggle with poetry and this book has been a massive challenge and although I persevered I did not enjoy the poetry.

The second book in the Penguin Little Black Classics is a series of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins and titled after possibly his most famous poem As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

The main thing I struggled with was that I found the poetry stilted and lacking fluency. I also found his use of imagery a bit strange and his wording a struggle to grasp.

Overall I just struggled full stop and would not read anything of this author again, if it was not for the fact the book was so short I doubt I would have finished it. I have problems appreciating poetry but have recently been enjoying reading through some poetry books and discovering new poets that I enjoy to read. Sadly though this book did not appeal and I only give this little book of poems 1 dragon out 5.

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New Books 3/02/2019

Amazon has a lot to answer for, they keep sending me all these emails advertising the cheap books and this evening before I had realised what I had done I had bought 7 books!

I could not believe that the the entire series of Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan was on the deal of the day, each book costing just 99p each. Then I also discovered another Veronica Henry book for 99p and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

I’m very excited to read the Heroes of Olympus series as I am a massive fan of Rick Riordan.

So here are my lovely new books.

Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

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Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

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Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

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Heroes of Olympus: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

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Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

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A Family Recipe by Veronica Henry

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach

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Many exciting books to read, lets hope I find the time to fit in all this reading.

I would love to hear if anybody has read these books and their thoughts on them, please drop me a comment.

Lady Book Dragon

 

 

January 2019 Wrap up

Well it is finally the last day of January, the snow drops have started to appear and all of a sudden the weather has gone very cold. Thank you to my new followers, the blog has now got 40 followers, which I am very happy about as I have only been blogging for 3 months.

This month I managed to read 6 books! To be honest getting back to work after Christmas I was not expecting to have read 6 books this month so I am very chuffed with myself.

If you click on the books you will be diected to the reviews I have written for the for books.

What I read…

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5/5 Dragons and on my favourites list! 

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3/5 Dragons

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5/5 Dragons

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4/5 Dragons

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5/5 Dragons

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3/5 Dragons

As you can see January was a good month as 3 out of the 6 books are rated 5 Dragons. I also discovered a new author I would like to read more of which is Juliet Ashton, I have already bought one more book written by her and added some more to my wish list. I have also added Coming Home to my favourites list as I loved it so much and plan on reading it again. I hope the rest of year proves to be as good reading wise because January was certainly an excellent start to 2019.

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have read any of these book?

Thank you.

Lady Book Dragon

P.s I leave you with Lyra our book loving cat, I hope you can find her in the photo!

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Mrs Rosie and the Priest by Giovanni Boccaccio (Review)

Mrs Rosie and the Priest by Giovanni Boccaccio

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About the author

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Giovanni Boccaccio was born on the 16th June 1313 in the Republic of Florence and died in 1375. He was an Italian writer, poet and an important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio wrote his imaginative literature mostly in Italian vernacular, as well as other works in Latin. He was unusual for medieval writers because he did not follow the formulaic models for character and plot.

Blurb

Bawdy tales of pimps, cuckolds, lovers and clever women from the fourteenth-century Florentine masterpiece The Decameron.

Review

When the Penguin Little Black Classics first came out I slowly started buying them and reading them, however moving house and forgetting which box they were all kept in did not help. I just recently found them all and have started to read them from the beginning with the hope of this time reading them all, so here is my first review.

I have already read this book once and I loved it, reading it for a second time I loved it even more. I forgot just how amusing medieval literature can be. I am going to review each of the four stories individually.

Andreuccio’s da Perugia’s Neapolitan adventures

This story is about a young man called Andreuccio who is the son of a horse dealer, he hears that horses are trading well in Naples and so takes a lot of money to Naples to trade horses and make more money. However things do not go as planned.

Poor Andreuccio is not the brightest of men and falls victim to fraud. Then he has a load of other adventures after the fraud. I found this story highly amusing and to be honest felt no sympathy for Andreuccio as really he should have known better. The part I particularly enjoyed was where he got covered in poo and could be smelt everywhere, if that does not teach him a lesson to be more vigilant than I do not know what will.

A very funny read and nice and short.

Ricciardo da Chimica loses his wife

Ricciardo is a judge who has more brain than muscle and thinks his way of life would also please a wife. His mistake is the type of wife he chooses, he goes for a very beautiful, young wife who will be expecting more than Ricciardo can provide in the bedroom department and life in general. Bartolommea is the unfortunate wife of Ricciardo but then she gets a better offer.

Another amusing read, now I know I should be on the side of Ricciardo but to be honest I felt sorry for Bartolommea, she ended up married to a much older man who makes any excuse possible to avoid physical contact with her. In my opinion this story has the moral of do not bite off more than you can chew and not be greedy, otherwise you will get your comeuppance.

Mrs Rosie and the Priest

Well what a naughty priest! This is my favourite story in the book because I can not help but smile about this naughty little priest. I have this image of a short dumpy priest wearing a cloak, winking at women. I do feel sorry for Mrs Rosie as she was very wronged by the priest and could do nothing about it.

A brilliant little story, that made me giggle.

Patient Griselda

This is my least favourite story of the book. I can not believe that one husband can be so cruel to his wife and she does nothing but patiently take it. It made me angry to think a woman would stand so much, I know times were different then but still, how did she not run away.

Poor Griselda is tested to the limits by her husband to see if she is a good wife, it is mainly for him to prove to his friends that he has chosen, created and tested the best wife like he said he would.

I gave the whole book 5 out of 5 Dragons because I enjoyed it so much and desperately want to read the whole of The Decameron. Even though I was not keen on the last story the other three I loved so much I still give the book full marks. I think it is a fantastic start to the start of the Penguin Little Black Classics and I can not wait to read them and see what I discover.

Lady Book Dragon.

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The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton (Review)

The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton

About the author

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Juliet Ashton was born in Fulham and still lives in London. She writes under a variety of names, including her real name, Bernadette Strachan, and as Claire Sandy. She is married and has one daughter.

Blurb

When your marriage falls apart, the last place you’d want your husband to move to is downstairs. Unfortunately for Sarah, up in the eaves at number 24, her ex-husband now lives one floor beneath her with his new wife. Their happiness floats up through the floorboards, taunting her.

A child psychologist, Sarah has picked up great sadness from the little girl, Una, who lives with her careworn mother three floors below, but is Sarah emotionally equipped to reach out?

The Spring brings a new couple to the house. Jane and Tom’s zest for life revives the flagging spirits, and Sarah can’t deny the instant attraction to handsome Tom. Having seen at first hand what infidelity does to people, she’ll never act on it … but the air fizzes with potential.

The sunshine doesn’t reach every corner of number 24, however. Elderly Mavis, tucked away in the basement, has kept the world at bay for decades. She’s about to find out that she can’t hide forever.

Review

It has been a long time since I have read a book with so many twists and turns and so jam packed with storylines, I loved it! This book I got a while ago as a freebie on Apple Books and since reading it I have downloaded another of Ashton’s books to read in the near future.

The book’s main character is Sarah but also in my opinion the house itself is an integral character. The house is located in Notting Hill and is made up of flats. Mavis lives in one of the basement flats, Una and her mum live in the other basement flat, Leo and Helena share another, Jane and Tom in one and lastly Sarah in the attic flat. Sarah and Leo are divorced as Leo had an affair with Helena and finally married her. Since her divorce Sarah’s life has been turned upside down and somehow she is trying to rebuild her life again.

As the story follows Sarah it shows her develop and grow and as she does the other characters also grow and develop. The house also feels this, it fills with love and good feelings and friendship in every way.

I loved all the characters in this book apart from Leo as I just found him very smarmy and unpleasant. I also disliked Helena, she came across as very fake and annoying but thankfully she was not in the book much. This book kept me on my toes on every page, I made assumptions and they were quite often turned on their head. I just could not predict what would happen next and that is what I loved about it as it was not a predictable romance novel.

Sarah is such a caring character that I found myself wanting her to be my friend and wanting to give her a big hug. Tom is full of energy and love of life, you just can not help but smile when you read about him, his enthusiasm jumps from the page. Jane is also similar to Tom in her exuberance for life, even if she is a little bossy. Poor Mavis is a recluse and not a very nice lady, she has spent her life being miserable to people but I could not stop feeling sorry for her. Little Una is a wonderful child who has been affected by her parents’ break up but with Sarah’s experience and help she can recover from this experience.

I could tell that Ashton had thought about each of her characters in great detail and imagined their back stories, I also believe she has drawn on real life people as the characters are so believable. I truly adored this book and would happily read it again. I have given it a big 5 out of 5 dragons and I can not recommend it enough to people, especially if you enjoy a good romance novel. Thank you Juliet Ashton for a fabulous read!

Lady Book Dragon

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher (Review)

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

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About the author

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Rosamunde Pilcher was born on the 22nd September 1924 in Cornwall. She began writing when she was 7 and published her first short story at the age of 15. From 1943 to 1946 she served with the Women’s Royal Naval Service. In 1946 she married her Graham Hope Pilcher and they moved to Dundee, Scotland together. In 1949 Pilcher’s first novel was published under the pseudonym Jane Fraser, she went on to publish a further ten novels under that name. In 1955 she published her first novel under her own name, by 1965 she had dropped the pseudonym entirely. Pilcher retired from writing in 2000, two years later she received her OBE.

Blurb

Born in Colombo, Judith Dunbar spends her teenage years at boarding school, while her beloved mother and younger sister live abroad with her father.

When her new friend Loveday Carey-Lewis invites Judith home for the weekend to Nancherrow, the Carey-Lewises’ beautiful estate on the Cornish coast, it is love at first sight.

She falls in love too with the generous Carey-Lewises themselves. With their generosity and kindness, Judith grows from naive girl to confident young woman, basking in the warm affection of a surrogate family whose flame burns brightly. But it is a flame soon to be extinguished in the gathering storm of war. And Judith herself has far to travel before at last . . . coming home.

Review

This book is just beautiful, I loved every moment of it and it has gone straight on my all time favourites list. It has been a long time since I have finished a book and immediately wanted to read it again. I just could not put it down and was worried it would be over too quickly so I actually started to pace myself.

The book is centred around Judith Dunbar and the reader is introduced to her when she is about to start boarding school. Her mother, father and younger sister Jess live abroad, hence why she is at boarding school and it is arranged she will spend the holidays with her aunt. Whilst at school Judith meets her lifelong friend Loveday and eventually meets her family. The book follows Judith’s life through the second world war and leaves Judith just after the war is over. As the book goes on we learn about the other characters in the book.

I was so excited to read this book as I remember watching the TV series with Joanna Lumley and a very young Keira Knightly when I was younger and just thinking how glamorous and beautiful everything was, so when I saw the book on Kindle for £1.99 I jumped at the chance to buy it. The book is even better than the TV series but I must admit the TV series is very close to the book and the actors were brilliantly matched up with their book equivalents. This book had me in tears at times, it made me laugh, it made me think and much more.

Judith is a very strong woman who has become strong due to the circumstances of her upbringing, Judith soon realises that her mother is not a strong woman and so she needs to take charge occasionally and help her mother. When her mother goes abroad to join her father Judith is left alone in a strange school and quickly has to make friends and adapt to her new environment. Meeting and befriending Loveday Carey-Lewis is a big help in this and when she goes to spend weekends and holidays with the Carey-Lewis family she has a place to call her own and a family who treat her as a daughter, she is loved and protected there but also stands on her own feet and remains independent.

We see Judith fall in love, mourn and see her take on the war. Pilcher shows WW2 in its truest form, she does not glamorise it and at times I found it hard to read about but I am pleased Pilcher kept it realistic. Throughout this book you see Pilcher’s life influencing the book, Pilcher lived in Cornwall and the book is mainly set in Cornwall, Pilcher also served in the war and so does Judith. These true experiences come through the book and makes it so believable to read.

One of my favourite characters other than Judith was Diana Carey-Lewis, she is so glamorous and elegant and lets nothing phase her. She seems like the perfect friend, mother and wife. I did not know whether I wanted to be her or be her best friend. I also really liked Edgar Carey-Lewis, he is the perfect gentleman and from a previous era, a gentle soul who is very shy.

The character I truly disliked was Judith’s father and I was very pleased he was not in the book very much. He was a selfish man and when Judith’s mother desperately wanted to go home to Judith and comfort her, he forbade it. He had no feelings towards his oldest daughter or his wife’s wellbeing, his wife clearly had a fragile mind and really did not want to be living abroad but he made her come back out there and live her life there. I found him very cold and heartless. Thankfully this was the only element I did not like about the book and it was only small.

This book is just over a thousand pages long as it follows a massive chunk of Judith’s life from early teenage years to mid twenties but I loved every page and it is an amazing read. Pilcher is now a favourite author and I am planning on which book to read next, I just hope it is as good as this one. The book is beautifully written and a joy to read, I highly recommend it to everyone and I award it a massive 5 Dragons out of 5.

Lady Book Dragon.

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