20 Books of Summer Wrap Up

It’s the 31st of August so time to wrap up 20 books of Summer. 20 books of Summer is hosted by Cathy at https://746books.com/ and is a very free and easy challenge that took place over June, July and August.

I actually read way more than 20 books over the past three months but part of my 20 books challenge was to read some books that I wouldn’t normally read and I did succeed in doing that. Some of them were brilliant books, others I didn’t enjoy so much but it’s always good to branch out I think.

The Other Bennett Sister by Janice Hadlow
This was an excellent read. I loved the early part of the book which looked at the same period as Pride and Prejudice but from Mary’s point of view. I wasn’t so sure when the book followed Mary’s life after the death of her father but then I did get into the story and I really enjoyed it. This is definitely the best of the ‘sequels’ to Pride and Prejudice that I have read

The World is a Cul de Sac by Louise Kennedy
The title of this one appealed when I got it out of the library but I hadn’t spotted that it was a collection of short stories. I read a couple of them but then didn’t finish the book. I don’t generally enjoy short stories as there isn’t enough plot or character development to keep me interested.

Midnight at the Malabar Hotel by Vaseem Khan
I loved this crime mystery novel about the first female detective in post partition India.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
This was a very dark book about the fear of witchcraft in the 17th century. I’m actually not sure if I enjoyed it or not.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
This was a bit disappointing and I didn’t enjoy as much as I expected to. Science fiction is always a fine balance between the Science and the Fiction and this one just had too much scientific information. I enjoyed the story but found myself skipping over pages.

And that was my 20 books of Summer 2021. Thank you to Cathy for the challenge. Did everyone else manage to read their 20 books?

Book Blogger Confessions Tag

I saw this yesterday on emandherbooks https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/111961398/posts/3526441032 who found it on https://booklovingnut.com/. I really liked the questions so decided to join in.

Which book most recently did you not finish?

The End of the World is a Cul de Sac – I picked this up from the library as the title intrigued me. It was a collection of short stories and after reading a couple, I didn’t bother with the rest. Short stories don’t often appeal to me. I like more development.

Which book is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t think that I have any guilty pleasure books. They are all worth reading.

Which book do you love to hate?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- I never got into this for some reason and found her writing style quite boring so never read any of the others. Interesting as I love the Robert Galbraith books

Which book would you throw into the sea?

The Younger Gods by David Eddings – The whole Dreamers series was pretty dire but the ending of the final book was such a dreadful cop out.

Which book have you read the most?

Lord of the Rings – I used to read it every Summer as a teenager and read it every so often even now.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Anything that I have already got or read. Which makes me really hard to buy books for.

Which book could you not live without?

Tricky! Probably Lord of the Rings as it has so much sentimental value.

Which book made you cry the most?

Little Women when Beth dies. I sobbed!

Which book cover do you hate the most?

Hmm. I’m not sure I hate any book cover. I tend not to like photo covers of people though. I much prefer decent art work although atmospheric photos often work well on crime novels.

What would your answers to these questions be?

The Bookbinder’s Daughter – a review

The Bookbinder’s Daughter by Jessica Thorne

“The song surrounded her now, the murmuring of the library insistent, and her foot took the first step on the winding stairs. She knew it wasn’t entirely a dream. It was the library calling her, its magic driving her.”

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not particularly quick moving but it gradually draws the reader into the world of the Ayredale Library, home to some of the most special books ever written. It’s set in present day London and then moves to the library where Sophie returns after a period of 15 years having lost most of her memories of her previous life there. Her loss of memory means that she isn’t sure about her past and especially what happened to her mother. As Sophie finds out more about the library and what happened 15 years ago, we gradually begin to understand the importance of this library.

I really liked the whole concept of the library and the tree. The description of the actual library is incredible. I also really loved the historical context for the book and the inclusion of characters such as the mysterious Dr Dee. The idea of creativity being born of chaos and let into the world as the leaves of the tree are bound into books. I thought was a really interesting one. I really enjoyed Nightborn and Mageborn, previous books by Jessica Thorne and this was just as good although very different.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for letting me read this advance copy.

Six for Sunday – Books I read because of the covers

I can’t believe that it’s Sunday already. This week has been so busy as I have finally been able to perform on stage after a gap of 2 years. It’s been a hectic week of rehearsals but we finally made back onto the stage of Buxton Opera House and it felt amazing.

Backstage selfie 😍

However, performing is now done for a couple of months so back to book blogging and if it’s Sunday, then it must be time for #SixforSunday. This meme is the brainchild of Steph and details can be found on her blog https://alittlebutalot.com/sixforsunday/ Every week there is a new theme and this week’s theme is books that you have bought because of the covers. I thought about doing this for Children’s books but decided that I wouldn’t be able to as there are so many brilliant book cover designs around at the moment so I stuck with my own adult choices.

Book cover design is so important. When I wander around the shelves in the library or bookshops, it’s the covers that grab my attention. Here are 6 books that I picked up because of their gorgeous covers.

All of these covers really inspired me to pick up the book and read it.

Have you read any of these? What book covers made you buy or borrow the book?

MG Takes on Thursday

This meme belongs to to Book Craic who hosts it on her blog https://bookcraic.blog . Each week the aim is to celebrate Middle Grade books, those amazing books being written for 9-12 year olds. The idea is that you choose a book, post a picture of the cover and also show the publisher and illustrator. Then turn to page 11 and find your favourite sentence on that page. After that, describe the book in three words ( I always find this really hard) and finally, write your review or post a link to your review of the book. Simples!!!!

This week I am celebrating a new release that I absolutely love.

The Wild Before by Piers Torday Published by Quercus

My favourite sentence from page 10 (page 11 is blank) He is the hare of all hope.

This book in three words Hope, Friendship, Determination

I have always loved dystopian fiction since reading Peter Dickinson as a child and The Last Wild trilogy is one of my favourite MG sets so when I saw that there was a prequel, I was really excited.

The Wild Before tells the story of Little Hare who has to go on a quest to save the pure white calf, Mooncalf. If he does not succeed in his quest, then The Terribleness will happen and the world will end. The adventure is exciting but also has some funny moments as Little Hare is not completely alone in his quest but gets help and encouragement along the way.

Piers Torday has created a very real world which is worryingly close to the world we are beginning to create for ourselves as we lose species and habitats on a daily basis. It’s a great adventure story despite the dark message and you really want Little Hare to succeed. The book looks gorgeous too with silhouette illustrations throughout.

The book is extremely topical as the animals deal with climate change and their world disappearing and many children will recognise those elements that are happening around us at the moment which adds another layer to the story.

The Wild Before leads beautifully into the original trilogy so will work perfectly for those who haven’t read it yet as well as being a great read for anyone who has already read the previous books.

WWW Wednesday Aug 25

This is one of my favourite memes. It’s currently hosted by Sam and it can be found on her blog Taking on a world of words at https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/. The idea is just to answer three questions about your reading:
The three questions are:

What are you currently reading?

What have you recently finished reading?

What are you planning to read next?

Current Read:

Midnight at the Malabar Hotel by Vaseem Khan

I am really enjoying this at the moment. The main plot point is the murder of an Englishman on New Year’s Eve 1949 in Bombay. The case is phoned in to Malabar Hotel which is the police station containing rejects and misfits from other stations. It’s picked up by Persis Wadia, Bombay’s first female police inspector and she is determined to get to the truth even though the establishment seems determined to prevent her. As well as the murder itself, there is a lot of detail about life in post-partition India. So far, it’s a great read. This is also the last book of my #20BooksofSummer.

Recently finished:

I loved both of these. Vespertine was an ARC from Net Galley and isn’t published until Oct. It’s a gloriously gothic YA novel about a trainee nun and a world that is terrorised by undead spirits. My review is here https://wordpress.com/post/witchyreading.wordpress.com/2180. A Vintage Summer was a lovely relaxing read full of details about wine making as well as a romance (in fact several romances). Definitely one I would recommend.

Next Planned Read

Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood

This is one of this week’s haul from my local library and seemed like a good book to read after finishing Ariadne last week.

So that’s my reading for this week. I can’t wait to read everyone else’s WWW Wednesday posts.

Vespertine – A Review

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

I have never read anything by Margaret Rogerson before but was drawn to this by the cover and the synopsis and I really loved it. The novel takes place in a world where the normal passage between life and a peaceful death has been broken and the country of Loraille is plagued by undead spirits (who are ranked according to the method of their death) who try to possess the living. Artemesia is a young girl who can sense spirits and so is a nun in training to become one of those who settles the spirits so that they pass on peacefully. Her world is shattered by an attack on her convent and her only help is a powerful spirit who has its own agenda. The character of Artemisia and the world she inhabits are brilliantly described and the whole world system works together so well. The novel has a dark, gothic feel (I got the feeling that the sun never shines) which really appealed to me.

I loved the character of Artemesia and her relationships with the other characters. The fact that she couldn’t relate to any of her fellow nuns and the definitely argumentative relationship with the revenant are all brilliant and believable. The growth of the relationships through the novel made it a real pleasure to read.

A big thanks to Net Galley and the publishers, Simon and Schuster for letting me have an advance copy in return for my honest review. The book is due to be published on Oct 5th and definitely worth a read if you like your YA novels with a large dose of the unearthly and undeadly.

Stacking the Shelves 5

It’s time for another post about Stacking the shelves.  This is a meme hosted by Reading Reality and details can be found here https://www.readingreality.net/2021/05/stacking-the-shelves-meme-official-re-launch/. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

My stacking the shelves posts are all about the books that I get from my local library. Libraries are continually under threat of closure or reduced hours but they are such an important way of getting books into people’s hands that they need supporting. By highlighting the amazing books that I pick up every week, I hope to inspire maybe just one person to visit their library and borrow a book

I think that the glut of books that I really want to read and have used the reservation system for has more or less dried up for now so this week’s book haul is much more like my usual library book stack. There is only one book that I had ordered in advance and the others are just ones that appealed so it’s quite a random collection. One of the things that I love about libraries is that I can just pick up a book and if I don’t like it, or even can’t be bothered to read it, it’s no problem. I just return it and find something else. What better system can there be than that?

This week’s library stack

Body Breaker by MW Craven I have been waiting for this for what seems like ages. This is the second in a new crime series featuring DI Avison Fluke. I have loved all of M W Craven’s novels so far so I’m really looking forward to this one.

Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood Having just finished Ariadne last week, I thought that I would continue with the Ancient Greek theme.

Writers and Lovers by Lily King This was a total shot in the dark. The synopsis appealed to me about a woman who is having to start a new phase in her life and the choices she is going to have to make.

A vintage Summer by Cathy Bramley A very uncomplicated Chick Lit book for my final choice. I’m looking forward to just relaxing with for a couple of hours next week.

So that’s this week’s stack. Have you read any of them? What’s on your stack to read this week?

MG Takes on Thursday – Nevermoor

This meme belongs to to Book Craic who hosts it on her blog https://bookcraic.blog . Each week the aim is to celebrate Middle Grade books, those amazing books being written for 9-12 year olds. The idea is that you choose a book, post a picture of the cover and also show the publisher and illustrator. Then turn to page 11 and find your favourite sentence on that page. After that, describe the book in three words ( I always find this really hard) and finally, write your review or post a link to your review of the book. Simples!!!!

This week I am celebrating one of my favourite books ever!

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend Published by Orion

My favourite sentence from page 11 – The truth that she and every cursed child knew deep in their bones, had tattooed on their hearts: I‘m going to die on Eventide night.

This novel in three words: Exciting, mysterious, magical

Nevermoor or The Trials of Morrigan Crow is the story of Morrigan who is cursed. This means that she is automatically blamed for everything that wrong to anyone at all. If that wasn’t bad enough, she is also doomed to die on her eleventh birthday. Without giving too much, I think that I can safely say that she doesn’t. The story then tells of her life as a trainee Wundersmith under the watchful of Jupiter North.

The book is simply brilliant. All of the characters, from Morrigan’s cold father to her friends in the Hotel Deucalion are incredibly well drawn and come to life on the page. Morrigan’s adventures are exciting and in the case of the Hunt of Smoke and Shadow, downright scary.

My copy is extremely well read as it always a popular reading choice in my classroom. Any child who loves magic and ever dreamed of being a wizard will love this book and the very best bit is that there are two more!!

WWW Wednesday

This is one of my favourite memes. It’s currently hosted by Sam and it can be found on her blog Taking on a world of words at https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/. The idea is just to answer three questions about your reading:
The three questions are:

What are you currently reading?

What have you recently finished reading?

What are you planning to read next?

My current read is Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. This is the story of Ariadne who gave Theseus the ball of string to help him find his way out of the labyrinth. I know the story of Theseus really well but I’m really enjoying finding out the background to the minotaur story. As Ariadne tells her story, so many of the many other Greek myths are involved as well as the Greek gods. Brilliant book so far.

I have just finished 100 years of Lennie and Margot by Marianne Cronin and I loved this. It’s the story of an 83 year old woman and a terminally ill 17 year old who meet in a hospital art room. Together they produce 100 pictures to tell their live stories. It’s funny and touching and a great read.

My next read will be Body Breaker by M W Craven. This is the second book in the series featuring Avison Fluke. I love M W Craven’s books and am really looking forward to reading this.

So that’s my past, present and future in reading for this week. I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading at the moment.