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.

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Another New Bookmark

Today was my day off and we went out for the day at Harvington Hall.

We haven’t been to Harvington Hall in a few years so it was nice to visit it again and on such a beautiful day. Harvington Hall is a moated manor with the largest surviving series of priest hides in the country and a rare collection of original Elizabethan wall paintings. Many of the priest hides were designed by Saint Nicholas Owen who was a Jesuit lay brother during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and James I, he was eventually captured and tortured to death in the Tower of London. He was canonised by the Catholic church in 1970.

My favourite part of the house is the chapel. I love the wall paintings in there and found it interesting that it was a symbol closely associated with Catherine of Aragon. This currently links in really well with the book I am reading about Henry VIII and his wives.

After going around the hall and garden and having a lovely lunch we went into the gift shop and I found a very cute bookmark of a wooden donkey.

I just couldn’t resist and had to buy it. I am also quite worried that I am getting a slight bookmark addiction as this is the second bookmark this month! But if they are cute who is complaining?

So here are a few snaps of the Hall and of the cute bookmark. I finished the day by having a nice read in my reading den. The perfect day!

 

p.s we also met a very nice cat!

Lady Book Dragon.

New favourite reading room

My new favourite room, as you can probably see is the conservatory. We moved into our house in 2017 and have since pretty much ignored the conservatory. Anyway a few weeks ago we got some furniture and since then I have thoroughly enjoyed curling up on one of the sofas and having a good read.

The lack of a TV in there has been a big help as it is so easy to switch the TV on and reading goes to the wayside. The main appeal is that the furniture is very comfortable and when it is a nice day it is really enjoyable having so much light.

The only problem at the moment is that due to being extremely tired I read a few pages and then go to the land of nod for a while or two hours like earlier. However, I am hoping once I catch up on sleep I will get some serious reading done in this room.

Anyway that is my new reading space, may many a happy book be discovered there.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Lady Book Dragon

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Down the TBR Hole #2

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?

 

Another week to reduce my TBR pile. If I also own the book I remove from the list I am also getting rid of the book either to family and friends or charity.

 

1. The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

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Spies, poison, and curses surround her…

Is there anyone she can trust?

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his daughters, Anne and Isabel as pawns in his political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.

At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Married at age fourteen, she is soon left widowed and fatherless, her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Anne manages her own escape by marrying Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will set her on a collision course with the overwhelming power of the royal family and will cost the lives of those she loves most in the world, including her precious only son, Prince Edward. Ultimately, the kingmaker’s daughter will achieve her father’s greatest ambition.

This will remain on the list because I love Philippa Gregory’s books, seeing it has prompted me to get reading the series.

KEEP

 

2. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory

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A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of “Sight,” the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward’s protector, who brings her to court as a “holy fool” for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen’s Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

In 2013 when these books were added I obviously had a theme going. Another Gregory book that will stay on the list.

KEEP

 

3. The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory

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The 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.

I have this book sat upstairs I actually moved it from downstairs yesterday. Another must read! Oh to have more reading time.

KEEP

 

4. Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead

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“Pray God our aim is true and each arrow finds its mark.”

King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.

Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

This epic trilogy dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood as Stephen R. Lawhead conjures an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. Filled with unforgettable characters, breathtaking suspense, and rousing battle scenes, Stephen R. Lawhead’s masterful retelling of the Robin Hood legend reaches its stunning conclusion in “Tuck.”

I bought the first one in this series at the Greenbelt Festival years ago and I remember readiing it and instantly wanting to read the next ones and so I put them on my TBR pile, being a poor student at the time I couldn’t buy them straight away. However I clearly did nothing about it. To read the next ones in the series I feel I would have to read the first one again and to be honest it is rather long and I don’t think I have the energy so I think I will remove this one from the list.

GO

 

5. Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead

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After losing everything he owns, forester Will Scarlet embarks on a search for none other than King Raven, whose exploits have already become legendary. After fulfilling his quest–and proving himself a skilled and loyal companion–Will joins the heroic archer and his men.

Now, however, Will is in prison for a crime he did not commit. His sentence is death by hanging–unless he delivers King Raven and his band of cohorts.

That, of course, he will never do.

Wales is slowly falling under the control of the invading Normans, and King William the Red has given his ruthless barons control of the land. In desperation, the people turn to King Raven and his men for justice and survival in the face of the ever-growing onslaught.

From deep in the forest they form a daring plan for deliverance, knowing that failure means death for them all.

Scarlet continues Stephen R. Lawhead’s riveting saga that began with the novel Hood, which relocated the legend of Robin Hood to the Welsh countryside and its dark forests. Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Lawhead’s trilogy conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.

For the same reasons as Tuck this book will also be leaving the TBR list.

GO

 

Another 5 books assessed and 2 have been removed. The list has now reduced to 496! This may take a while, I hope the next week to tackle ten books, but today has been too long a day.

Lady Book Dragon.

 

 

 

NetGalley

Hello Everyone.

So I have some exciting news, I have joined NetGalley!

I joined late last night after a long day teaching. I’ve followed many book bloggers who use NetGalley and I have liked the idea but have never been brave enough to join. I requested about 20 books last night, not expecting anything as I am brand new to the site but today I got granted two of those books. You can imagine how excited I am.

I will have to make notes in my diary of when reviews need to be done by to keep me on track. Hopefully I can keep up with all the reading. I know one thing, I will be very careful with how many books I request as I could get carried away.

Any thoughts and advice about NetGalley would be gratefully received. Please drop me a comment.

Lady Book Dragon

The Story of Brexit: A Ladybird Book by J. A. Hazeley and J. P. Morris (Review)

The Story of Brexit: A Ladybird Book by J. A. Hazeley and J. P. Morris

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About the authors

J. A. Hazeley and J. P. Morris are best known for having written episodes of Miranda and That Mitchell and Webb Look.

Review

I have not read all of the new Ladybird books for adults mainly the husband and wife ones as when I got married my husband and myself got them for Christmas off the family for a joke. As I mentioned in my last Waterstones post this one was at the till and it just jumped into my hand.

I did find this book funny to start with but then it started to drag a little and was just a bit repetitive along the lines of ‘those who voted out did not understand what they were doing’ etc. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had been shorter, short and sweet was the key in this case. It would have also been better if it had been a bit more balanced and made fun of both sides.

The illustrations as per usual were excellent and went brilliantly with the writing and added to the book.

An OK little book to read with a mug of tea and a biscuit, if you are not too easily offended about Brexit. I only gave this book 3 Dragons out of 5 and probably would not bother to read it again.

Lady Book Dragon.

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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