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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Summer Reading Challenge: Short and Sweet

I have suddenly realised that my Summer Reading is fast approaching and I have not yet decided on all the books I will reading.

I still have not decided on The Book is Better but hopefully will have that decided this week.

This book prompt Short and Sweet: Read a book with less than 100 pages, I’m not entirely sure on as I could read any of my little Penguin black books in one session. However, I have decided to check out some other options as well to see what else might be about.

157993Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.

 

 

 

 

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First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike

 

 

 

 

 

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A very young woman’s first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate…An estate haunted by a beckoning evil.

Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls…

But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.

For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.

 

These are a few thoughts so far. I will have a good think and work out what I might like to read in one sitting. I’m starting the challenge on 21st June the first day of summer.

Any thoughts please drop me a comment.

Happy Reading!

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Down the TBR Hole #9

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 everyone, I’m back again with the ongoing challenge of reducing me TBR pile. The list is currently at 474, lets see if this week we can get it smaller.

If you would like to check out my previous Down the TBR Hole posts please click on the following links.

#1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6| #7 | #8 |

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
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Fitz is a royal bastard, cast out into the world with only his magical link with animals for solace and companionship.
But when Fitz is adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and learn a new life: weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly. Meanwhile, raiders ravage the coasts, leaving the people Forged and soulless. As Fitz grows towards manhood, he will have to face his first terrifying mission, a task that poses as much a risk to himself as it does to his target: Fitz is a threat to the throne… but he may also be the key to the future of the kingdom.

I must admit I have never read anything by Robin Hobb but have always liked the look of her books. However, as I have mentioned in previous posts I’m really off reading series at the moment so I think I will remove this book from the list as it is a beginning of a series.

GO

Belgarath the Sorcerer
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Bestselling authors David and Leigh Eddings welcome readers back to the time before The Belgariad and The Malloreon series. Join them as they chronicle that fateful conflict between two mortally opposed Destinies, in a monumental war of men and kings and Gods.

When the world was young and Gods still walked among their mortal children, a headstrong orphan boy set out to explore the world. Thus began the extraordinary adventures that would mold that youthful vagabond into a man, and the man into the finely honed instrument of Prophecy known to all the world as Belgarath the Sorcerer.
Then came the dark day when the Dark God Torak split the world asunder, and the God Aldur and his disciples began their monumental labor to set Destiny aright. Foremost among their number was Belgarath. His ceaseless devotion was foredoomed to cost him that which he held most dear–even as his loyal service would extend through echoing centuries of loss, of struggle, and of ultimate triumph.

I think this is another book to come off the list, I do really enjoy David Eddings books but the sheer volume in the series is rather scary for me and I just do not have the energy at the moment.

GO

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

This definitely stays on the list and I am very ashamed to say I have never read it before. I own a lovely copy of this I bought from a favourite bookshop in Scotland that I always visit when I go and stay with my sister.

KEEP

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
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A novel that chronicles the lives of two women who could not be more different: Becky Sharp, an orphan whose only resources are her vast ambitions, her native wit, and her loose morals; and her schoolmate Amelia Sedley, a typically naive Victorian heroine, the pampered daughter of a wealthy family.

This is a total mystery to me as I could swear I have read this book but I can’t find it anywhere in my reading journals and I have kept a reading journal since I was ten years old, so it would be in there if I had read it. Due to this I will keep it in the TBR pile and hope to read it soon.

KEEP

The Trumpet-Major by Thomas Hardy
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Hardy distrusted the application of nineteenth-century empiricism to history because he felt it marginalized important human elements. In The Trumpet-Major, the tale of a woman courted by three competing suitors during the Napoleonic wars, he explores the subversive effects of ordinary human desire and conflicting loyalties on systematized versions of history. This edition restores Hardy’s original punctuation and removes the bowdlerisms forced upon the text on its initial publication.

This definitely stays as it is my beloved Thomas Hardy and I want to read all of his novels eventually.

KEEP

This week I have only done 5 books because the new WordPress set up with blocks is exhausting to me, I obviously don’t like change, so will see if I can change it back to classic editor. I have managed to get the TBR pile down to 472 but must improve this, over the summer I plan on reading some off there as well, so fingers crossed.

Please drop me a comment if you are also doing the Down the TBR Hole Book Tag as I would love to visit your blog. Also if you have read any of the above books please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!

Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge

Hello my fellow Book Dragons!

I have a confession to make.

I have never done a reading challenge before, other than setting myself a certain number of books to read every year on Goodreads. So this year I have decided to give this a go as I have a very long flight coming up in the summer to go on my holibobs and sadly come home back to work. Will also probably be doing quite a bit of reading whilst on holiday as we have a beach right next to our hotel.

There are two challenges, the beginner one and the expert level one. I will be sticking with the beginner one as it is my first challenge and do not want to set myself up for a fall.

The Beginner Challenge has the following prompts:-

  •  Good as gold: Read a book that won a Goodreads Choice Award.
  •  The book is better: Read a book being adapted for TV or film this year.
  •  Short & sweet: Read a book with less than 100 pages (or a book you can finish in one sitting).
  •  On the bandwagon: Read one of the “most read” books right now on Goodreads.
  •  Actually want to read: Read a book that’s been on your Want to Read shelf for more than a year.
  •  Not from around here: Read a book set in a different culture from your own.
  •  In the friend zone: Read a book that a friend has recommended.
  •  It takes two: Read a coauthored book.
  •  Wheel of format: Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read in (a graphic novel, poetry, a play,
    an audiobook, etc.).
  •  New voices: Read a debut novel.
  •  Past love: Reread a book you loved when you were younger.
  •  Armchair traveler: Read a book set in a destination you want to visit.

I must admit I am excited to start the challenge and also rather nervous, I really want to complete the challenge and not let myself down. The first day of summer is Friday 21st June but I am not entirely sure I can wait that long to start but I will try, I will plan my books to read on the run up. I think I will most likely do most of this challenge whilst on holiday, the question is do I do the challenge in order?

I would love to hear about the reading challenges my fellow book dragons have completed or attempted, please let me know. Also any advice would be most welcome on my challenge.

I will keep you posted.

Happy Reading and have a glorious bank holiday weekend.

Down the TBR Hole #5

Back again!

I hope you have all had a good weekend, full of books and relaxation.

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

The TBR is currently at 486, lets see if we can get that to shrink a little.

1. 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.

 

I tried to read this book many years ago and to be honest I gave up. However, I do plan on giving this book another go as I now have a better copy as the copy I tried to read previously had extremely small print.

KEEP

 

2. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

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This is Elizabeth Gaskell’s first novel, a widely acclaimed work based on the actual murder, in 1831, of a progressive mill owner. It follows Mary Barton, daughter of a man implicated in the murder, through her adolescence, when she suffers the advances of the mill owner, and later through
love and marriage. Set in Manchester, between 1837-42, it paints a powerful and moving picture of working-class life in Victorian England.

 

 

 

 

Another book I own and ashamed to say I have not read yet. I will keep this book on the list, I have been a bit lax recently on reading the classics so I will put this on my classic list to get reading.

KEEP

 

3. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

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Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books–but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.

I am next.

I remember seeing the film of this in the cinema and thinking I must read this book so it went straight on the list. However, I am no closer to reading it and to be honest feel like I might have out grown the story so I will take this one-off the list.

GO

 

4. The Warden by Anthony Trollope

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The Warden centers on Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity who is nevertheless in possession of an income from a charity far in excess of the sum devoted to the purposes of the foundation. On discovering this, young John Bold turns his reforming zeal to exposing what he regards as an abuse of privilege, despite the fact that he is in love with Mr. Harding’s daughter Eleanor. It was a highly topical novel (a case regarding the misapplication of church funds was the scandalous subject of contemporary debate), but like other great Victorian novelists, Trollope uses the specific case to explore and illuminate the universal complexities of human motivation and social morality

 

I’m not entirely sure why I chose this book by Trollope as he wrote so many, there are a lot to choose from. I do not actually own this book so I think I will also remove it off the list.

GO

 

5. Daniel Deronda by George Eliot

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George Eliot’s final novel and her most ambitious work, Daniel Deronda contrasts the moral laxity of the British aristocracy with the dedicated fervor of Jewish nationalists. Crushed by a loveless marriage to the cruel and arrogant Grandcourt, Gwendolen Harleth seeks salvation in the deeply spiritual and altruistic Daniel Deronda. But Deronda, profoundly affected by the discovery of his Jewish ancestry, is ultimately too committed to his own cultural awakening to save Gwendolen from despair.

 

 

 

 

I love the sound of this book so it definitely stays on the list and I will be buying a copy soon. Very excited to read this book.

KEEP

 

Only two books to leave the list this week but that has got the total down to 484. Slowly but surely it is shrinking.

I would love to hear if anybody has read any of these books, or if you are also doing the same book tag. Please feel free to drop me a comment.

Lady Book Dragon.

Waterstones Challenge: Worcester

 

It’s half term so I decided to go a bit further out for the next Waterstones visit and Worcester was the one we chose. We turned it into a National Trust visit as well and visited Elgar’s Birthplace.

The visit to Elgar’s Birthplace was really good and quite different since the National Trust has taken over. I went a few years ago and it was quite a different layout, my husband has never been though and really enjoyed it, apart from basically all the signs using it’s instead of its, that drove him insane.

After our visit, we went into Worcester and found the Waterstones, it is quite small but really well laid out, I loved the top floor it was so spacious and welcoming and it also has an escalator which I thought was excellent for easy access. The book I went in for was The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon but it was not there and after my husband looked it up it was because I had got the release dates wrong and the book is not out until the 26th February 2019. I’ve never been good with numbers, let alone dates. It was not a wasted journey though, because I managed to buy three books. I will be honest, I went to the till with just two books but then the third just jumped into my hand and I ended up buying it as well.

The three books I got are:-

The Crossing Places: A Dr Ruth Galloway Mystery by Elly Griffiths

I have just recently discovered Elly Griffiths’ Dr Ruth Galloway and I just can not put the books down so I was happy to find one that I have not read.

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

I wanted to read another Rosamunde Pilcher book after falling in love with Coming Home so it looks like this will be next on my list.

The Story of Brexit: A Ladybird Book

This was the book that jumped into my hand at the till, I do find the Ladybird books rather funny and good to read with a mug of tea.

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We celebrated the latest Waterstones visit by going to Pizza Express for a treat and then we went to my parents’ house and had Coco cuddles. Coco is my dog who has always been one of my reading buddies. Sadly when I moved out she stayed with my parents so I go over as often as I can for cuddles. Coco loves using piles of books as a pillow.

 

Lady Book Dragon