Tag: bookblogger

Book Review: The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

In today’s post, I am sharing my book review for The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor. I read this book just over a year ago, so it’s well due its five minutes of fame on my blog.

I really enjoyed The Taking of Annie Thorne. Previously, I had read and loved The Chalk Man, also by the same author. It’s for this reason that I wanted to pick this latest book up, and I’m glad I did. This time last year I wasn’t reading anywhere near as much as usual. However, I read this book a lot quicker than I had been managing other books of similar length.

I think that speaks volumes for itself, but in today’s post, I share plenty more reasons why you should read this book for yourself!

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Pages: 346

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2019

Rating: *****

 

Goodreads – The Taking of Annie Thorne

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her. Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie. I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

My Thoughts…

With any mystery or thriller, one of the greatest aspects of this kind of narrative is the characters and their backstory. The Taking of Annie Thorne is told in a dual timeline; we learn the history of the characters and what happened in the past, and we see some of those same characters back as adults. If you like this kind of idea, and in particular, if you liked the timeline in the likes of Stephen King’s book, IT, this is very similar.

Given that we are juggling two timelines interspersed within each other, the pacing of the book works really well. Nothing is revealed too early, keeping us on our toes as to what happens – in both timelines! If you are concerned that juggling both at the same time is confusing, I can assure you, I didn’t find this to be the case at all. Each is clearly set out at the beginning of the chapter as to which timeline we are in. The chapters are also not too long, so nothing too chunky happens all at once and we then forget the events of the other timeline.

I particularly liked the characters of Annie and Joe. The story is told from Joe‘s perspective. As Annie’s brother, he is close to the event when she goes missing, and in the subsequent action. I liked both of these characters for different reasons. Annie, after she comes back, is creepy. She definitely has a sinister vibe that defines this mystery novel for me, but adds elements of horror. She is characterised perfectly.

I like Joe for different reasons. He turns out to be a very complex character with very distinct character development between these two timelines. Also, I enjoyed how this was kept consistent throughout the book; at no point did his personalities or perspective merge. It made the reading of each timeline easier to follow, and was very interesting to observe how he has changed outside of the book. Joe turns out to be a character with varying shades of grey when it comes to morality. I really enjoy this element of a book. I like reading a narrative and having to consider whether whatever has happened is true, or whether the perspective is biased or not. Having Joe as a morally grey character really added to the mystery that was already here and present in the book, and I’m all for it!

As I said in my introduction above, I read this book a lot quicker than I was reading other books of a similar length. I was deliberately not taking on anything too ambitious last year, as I experienced a little bit of burnout. Yet, I managed to devour this book in a handful of days at a time when that wasn’t really the norm for me. At about 350 pages, I think this is a book that anybody could pick up at any given time. It’s not too heavy (and I don’t just mean in the literal sense) – it’s a very easy narrative to consume. It is engaging with its interesting mystery with a creepy twist, so this can appeal to a lot of readers.

As a fan of The Chalk Man, I wasn’t disappointed by The Taking of Annie Thorne. I got the narrative style and characterisation of a calibre I was expecting, with a plot twist that I couldn’t anticipate; this was one of my better reads of last year when you consider the five-star rating I gave it, and how quickly I read it!

What are your thoughts on The Taking of Annie Thorne? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 24th July 2022

Good evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post. With the exception of the weekend’s washout weather, we’ve had a pretty good week here. I hope you have too?

Both of this week’s blog posts were prepared in advance for the first time in a long time. I am glad I was able to take the opportunity to get ahead, and I’ll be continuing this going forward.

This week, I scheduled a Top Ten Tuesday post as I had complete discretion over the topic. Having looked back at what has been popular on my blog in the past, I have a lot of views for posts featuring favourite book quotes, as well as my review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Naturally, I decided to combine the two topics together, and shared my top ten quotes from the Game of Thrones series (so far!)

Later this week I shared a First Lines Friday post. In this post, I decided to pick up a book that has been on my TBR for a very long time. This is to get me excited about the book because I intend to read it soon! I have owned my copy of this book since 2016 at the latest, although realistically, I purchased it earlier than that. I’ve talked about it a couple of times on my blog recently; you may be able to guess what it is if you read another Top Ten Tuesday post I shared in the last month or two.

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I was 179 pages into The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman. This particular book was loaned to me by my sister’s boyfriend. Since they were both over visiting this week, I wanted to finish it and return his copy before they left.

I’m pleased to say that I managed to finish this book with a full day to spare! The book itself is about 425 pages long. That sounds like a lot, but the font is a lot larger than I’m used to and I flew through it!

The story is compelling as well, which made it very easy for me to read large sections at a time. Dare I say it, but I think I actually preferred The Man Who Died Twice over The Thursday Murder Club. Both are good books, but for me the sequel just pipped it. As with the first book of the series, Richard Osman manages to weave in a topic that is quite serious in nature but wrapped up in a humorous book with cracking characters. At least this one didn’t make me cry!

Next, I picked up my current read, Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. Where The Man Who Died Twice was not too long and printed with very large text, Royal Assassin is the complete opposite. My paperback copy has over 600 pages, and the text is significantly smaller! At least there is no time pressure for me to read this book. It’s not a bad thing either because I love dense, detailed fantasy books! They are my go-to comfort read. 

Despite it’s length, I’m still doing really well with my reading progress. I only started this book mid-week, but I’m already 329 pages in, which equates to about 50% read. I’m really enjoying the story so far, and it picks up well from the first book, Assassin’s Apprentice. I only read this first book of the series very recently, so reading Royal Assassin has been easy as I’m familiar with what has gone before.

One of the main things I like about Robin Hobb’s books so far is that she’s not particularly kind to her characters. That might sound like a weird comment, but when you know the author is going to ‘protect’ the main character, it doesn’t feel realistic. Already, FitzChivalry has endured far more than a teenager should, and we know damn well that he is only at the beginning. 

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep up the good pace with this book and finish this within the next few days!

 

Books Discovered

On the back of last week’s Sunday Summary post, in which I shared that I had read Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes, I was recommended another book by Happy Panda.

A Thousand Ships, also written by Natalie Haynes, is a book that once again features the stories of several female characters in Greek myth affected by the Trojan war. Such stories are often dominated by the tales of heroic men, but as with Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes seeks to highlight a largely unwritten perspective – that of the women.

 

Coming Up…

I’ve been keeping up with scheduling my blog posts ahead of time and I’m excited to share what I have scheduled for you next week!

On Tuesday I am sharing a book review. Just over a year ago, I finished my read of my second book by C.J. Tudor, The Taking of Annie Thorne. I really enjoyed this creepy mystery/psychological thriller/horror novel, and I think readers who are fans of these genres will too! I hope you can check out my post on Tuesday, and that my post will persuade you to pick up the book for yourself!

On Friday I will be publishing my next Shelf Control post. Having taken a look at the next book on my TBR, I share why I’m looking forward to picking up a non-fiction novel with a very sinister opening line:- 

“On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…”.

If the opening line to this true crime novel has drawn you in as much as it does me, check out my post on Friday and I’ll tell you all the reasons why I’m excited to read it!

That’s a wrap for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you got any current reads you would like to share or any recommendations for me?

 

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First Lines Friday – 22/07/2022

Hello everyone – happy Friday and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love. They might be books I am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Equally, I can even just experiment with something new in these posts! I make the rules! 

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post I wanted to feature a book I have owned for a very long time and have every intention to pick up soon! I have featured this book in a few posts of late (in my Top Ten Tuesday – Books I was SO EXCITED to get but haven’t read, for example), and it’s playing on my mind how long I’ve had this one. Looking for material for today’s post, I decided to take a look at the opening lines and I was pulled in immediately. I can’t wait to pick up this fantasy novel in the coming months!

Let’s jump into today’s intro!

 

Forest litter crunched under Evnis’ feet, his breath misting as he whispered a curse. He swallowed, his mouth dry.

He was scared, he had to admit, but who would not be? What he was doing this night would make him traitor to his king. And worse.

He paused and looked back. Beyond the forest’s edge he could still see the stone circle, behind it the walls of Badun, his home, its outline silvered in the moonlight. It would be so easy to turn back, to go home and choose another path for his life. He felt a moment of vertigo, as if standing on the edge of a great chasm, and the world seem to slow, waiting on the outcome of his decision. I have come this far, I will see it through. He looked up at the forest, a wall of impenetrable shadow; he pulled his cloak tighter and walked into the darkness.

 

 

Malice – John Gwynne

Genre: Epic fantasy

Pages: 628

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Tor

Publication Date: 1 Dec 2012

 

 

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle. An uneasy peace reigns, but now giants stir once more, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of gigantic worms. Those who can still read the signs see a prophecy realised: sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield.

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors and yearns to join them, determined that he will make his family proud. It is only when everything he knows is threatened that he discovers the true cost of becoming a man.

As the Kings look to their borders, and priests beg answers from the Gods, only a chosen few know that the fate of the world will be decided between two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. And with their coming will be a war to end all wars.

 

My Thoughts…

Malice has been on my TBR since at least 2016 – but realistically longer. That’s the earliest I can recall owning this book. It pre-dates having my blog so I have no means of going back to work out when I obtained my copy of this book.

I did start reading this book, but only very casually. I had picked it up prior to 2016; I distinctly remember packing up the book as part of my things when I left a job in February that year. The book had a paperclip in it as a means of marking the page. To this day you can see the indent of where the paperclip sat for so long, at the beginning of chapter 3 on page 29.

That tells you how far I got!

I have heard so many good things about John Gwynne, and I’ve seen all the books of his that I want to read. Naturally, it makes sense that I start with reading the book I physically own first. Not only that, but Malice is his debut novel and it comes highly recommended! As an epic fantasy with over 600 pages, it is right up my alley!

I plan on reading this book within the next couple of months, and I can’t wait to dive in and tell you what I think. I am really hoping to love this book, because as I said, there are others of his that I want to pick up. But, more importantly in the short term, this is the first part of his The Faithful and the Fallen series. If I go on to love this book as much as I hope, then I have another new series that I can enjoy.

Have you read Malice, or any other books by John Gwynne? Would you recommend them?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Quotes from A Game of Thrones

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday freebie post! With complete discretion this week as to the subject matter, I’ve been looking at some of my highest ranking blog posts in order to decide what I think you would like to see.

Some of my most-viewed post types are about my favourite book quotes – those include my top five quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series so far and my Quintessential Quotes post featuring quotes from Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archives. In addition, one of my top-viewed book reviews is A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

With this as my inspiration, I’ve decided to combine the two together and share my top ten quotes from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, better known as A Game of Thrones! I previously shared a quintessential quotes post based on A Game of Thrones, over four years ago. However, in that post, I only share five of my favourite quotes. Since I have re-read the series, the quotes I chose to feature have both changed and expanded, although there are some quotes that remain firm favourites! 

I have broken the quotes down into which book they come from, so you can go and find them for yourself if you wish!

 

A Game of Thrones

 

“If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”

 

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

 

“My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind … and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

 

“We all need to be mocked from time to time, Lord Mormont, lest we start to take ourselves too seriously.”

 

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”

 

A Clash of Kings

 

“Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.”

 

“The wide world is full of people wanting help, Jon. Would that some could find the courage to help themselves.

 

A Storm of Swords

 

“You are grown so very great now, yet the higher a man climbs the farther he has to fall.”

 

A Feast for Crows

 

“He understood the way that you could sometimes fall right into them, as if each page was a hole into another world.”

 

“I prefer my history dead. Dead history is writ in ink, the living sort in blood.”

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s quick and easy Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s always exciting to feature one of my favourite books and series of all time!

Have you read A Game of Thrones or any other books/short stories by George R. R. Martin? Maybe you’ve watched the TV series? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Sunday Summary – 17th July 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week!

Although my first blog post of the week was drafted ahead of time, there has been no rest for the wicked this week. My blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham went live on Monday; it was a pleasure to take part in the tour. Twelve Nights is a historical thriller/mystery novel. If that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then I recommend you check this out.

Later in the week I took another look at my TBR and shared a Shelf Control post. In this post, I feature a sequel that has been on my list for quite some time. I even re-read the first book of the series to refresh my memory. But five years on, I still haven’t read the sequel! If you are curious to know which fantasy book I featured in this week‘s post, there’s a link above so you can go and take a look.

My blogging schedule hasn’t been quite so manic this week. However, I have been busy behind-the-scenes working towards a goal I set myself at the beginning of the year. To date, I’ve not been doing that well with it. This week, I prepared and scheduled next week’s posts. I wanted to get myself into a position where I was scheduling blog posts a week ahead of their publishing date, and I’ve got there. I bought myself a weekly planner so it’s a little bit easier for me to coordinate and organise myself! Fingers crossed I can keep it up!

 

Books Read

When I shared my Sunday Summary update with you last week, I had just finished reading Twelve Nights ahead of the blog tour. By rights, I should have moved on to my next and last ‘fixed read’ of the month, The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

However, I didn’t. When I was planning to take a book to bed with me on Monday night, I just really didn’t fancy going into that book just yet. I was looking for a book to counterbalance the injustice experienced by women in Twelve Nights. There was only one book on my bookshelf that would do this, and that was Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes.

I made the right decision to pick this book up. It gave me everything I needed and was a really interesting non-fiction book as well. This ticks off another goal for this year – picking up more non-fiction! In case you are unfamiliar, Pandora’s Jar takes a look at women in Greek myths and in particular, focuses on those who are not done justice in their stories. This could be because they are largely ignored or overshadowed by men, are made out to be evil… or worse yet, painted as straight-up monsters.

I really enjoyed the discussions In this book. It’s very well researched and it’s a good way of diving into Greek myths, and especially how the stories have evolved over the course of time.

I started reading The Man Who Died Twice as well. I picked this book up a couple of days ago and I am already a healthy 179 pages in. Initially, the hardback copy of this book looks quite long. It’s around 425 pages in total, but I was delighted to see that the text in this copy is huge! At least, compared to Pandora’s Jar. I’m absolutely flying through this book as I’ve only picked it up on three occasions over a couple of days. It is everything I was hoping it would be based on The Thursday Murder Club and I’m glad to be back with our main characters and a whole new mystery!

I have also been back on the audiobooks this week. I originally started listening to these again as I was completing a craft project (that I couldn’t share at the time because it was a gift for a friend). Around about a month ago I was discussing how I have a hit-and-miss relationship with them. It is around this time that I received my kit to complete my friend’s gift, and I fell back into them.

Rachael’s Wedding gift

In making my friend’s gift, I have motivated myself to get back into a craft project for myself. I bought myself a cross-stitch kit a while ago, and now I am making this for myself. I’ve made some progress with it this week, and at the same time, I listened to a couple of hours of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I only have about an hour and a half left, so I’m hopeful I can finish this very soon!

 

Books Discovered

I was very good last week and I didn’t add a single thing to my TBR. However, the streak hasn’t lasted.

I saw a really cute video on Instagram of a friend of the author opening a copy of The Wonderland Trials. It was a really cute video and was captioned with a message about all the hard work the author has put in, as she very nearly didn’t publish this book. This made me look into it a bit more, and it’s very different from the sort of thing I would normally read. However, I’m intrigued, so it’s on the list!

 

Coming Up…

As I said above, I have been busy this week. Normally in this section, I talk about what is going to be shared on my blog this week, being in a position where I haven’t written it yet. Not this week! I already have next week’s posts scheduled and ready to go!

The first post you will see next week will be published on Tuesday. This week is a freebie in the Top Ten Tuesday series. That meant I had full discretion on what I wanted to share. I decided to combine two popular topics on my blog – A Game of Thrones, and my favourite quotes.

Later in the week, a First Lines Friday post is scheduled for you! In this post, I feature a book I intend to read very soon. It has been on my reading list for such a long time too! I’ve already talked about this book a couple of times on my blog recently. If you’re not sure what it is or want to find out more, you can check out that post on Friday.

As always, I’ll be back at the same time next week for another Sunday Summary update. With any luck, I’ll have kept up with drafting blog posts a week in advance! I’ve already done the hard work; it should be plain sailing from here on out!

That’s all from me for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you been reading anything interesting this week? As always, I’d love to know what you’re reading!

 

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Shelf Control #50 – 15/07/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to my Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is one of my blog’s regular features (typically fortnightly on a Friday, though I do post some other bits and pieces now and then). It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

I feel like I’m calling myself out a little bit here in today’s Shelf Control post. Today’s featured book is a sequel to a series that I have started twice. I re-read the book again originally to refresh my knowledge of the plot and prompt me to complete this series. However, I am yet to do so!

Do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 432

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Mass Market Paperback

Publication Date: 7 May 1985

 

Goodreads – Silverthorn

A poisoned bolt has struck down the Princess Anita on the day of her wedding to Prince Arutha of Krondor.

To save his beloved, Arutha sets out in search of the mystic herb called Silverthorn that only grows in the dark and forbidding land of the Spellweavers.

Accompanied by a mercenary, a minstrel, and a clever young thief, he will confront an ancient evil and do battle with the dark powers that threaten the enchanted realm of Midkemia.

 

My Thoughts…

This series is one I really need to get back into.

I initially read Magician as a teenager, and I ended up going back and reading the book again in 2017 because I wanted to pick up the series in earnest. However, I am still yet to continue. I do still remember some of the events of the first book, so perhaps I’ll do a little bit of online research on the plot and read my review of Magician again just to catch myself up rather than reading it through again. Again!

When I checked this out for today’s Shelf Control post, I was initially confused as this is marked as the third book in the series. I have only picked up one, however, I picked up the edition that combines Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. So effectively, I’ve read the first two books, and Silverthorn is genuinely the third.

I own this particular book on Kindle, and I own the edition that combines the third and fourth book – Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon. I have all the books to finish The Riftwar Saga, so I just need to get on and do it!

Have you read Silverthorn or any other books in this series by Raymond E. Feist? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: Twelve Nights – Penny Ingham

Hello everybody and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham. As a fan of historical fiction, I was keen to dive into this particular book! I was intrigued by the mystery alluded to in the synopsis, but I also was interested in its literary ties as it features William Shakespeare and the theatre in general. I loved performing arts in school, so the culmination of all these elements excited me!

not only am I sharing my review with you today, but for UK-based readers, there is a link below to a giveaway in which you could win a paperback copy of the book for yourself! Read on to find out more!

As always, before I jump into sharing my thoughts on the book, I like to say a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, and the author Penny for providing me with a review copy. All of the opinions stated in this post are honest and my own!

 

Twelve Nights

Genre: historical-fiction

Pages: 380

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Nerthus

Publication Date: 1 Jun 2022

Rating: ***

 

The Theatre – London, 1592

When a player is murdered, suspicion falls on the wardrobe mistress, Magdalen Bisset, because everyone knows poison is a woman’s weapon. The scandal-pamphlets vilify her. The coroner is convinced of her guilt.

Magdalen is innocent, although few are willing to help her prove it. Her much-loved grandmother is too old and sick. Will Shakespeare is benignly detached, and her friend Christopher Marlowe is wholly unreliable. Only one man offers his assistance, but dare she trust him when nothing about him rings true?

With just two weeks until the inquest, Magdalen ignores anonymous threats to ‘leave it be’, and delves into the dangerous underworld of a city seething with religious and racial tension. As time runs out, she must risk everything in her search for the true killer – for all other roads lead to the gallows.

Purchase Links: –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Twelve Nights brings together a lot of elements I enjoy; a mystery, an influence of literature, and the theatre. Whilst I confess that I have never had much love or understanding of William Shakespeare’s literary works (sorry, the language is just gibberish to me), I am interested in his history. I have studied a few bits and pieces in school, but I have only had a very perfunctory education about him.

From the author’s note at the end of the book, this may be in part because very little is known of him. This book gave a nice introduction to who he was as a person, professionally and personally, in an interesting fictional story. The book also touches on other interesting elements of the history of the period. Religion plays a significant role in the society protagonist Magdalen lives in, and this shines through throughout the book. I don’t have much prior knowledge of religious history, and the religious views that were prominent in the period. However, this wasn’t necessary. It was incorporated into the narrative and explained within the story. It made an interesting backdrop to an already intriguing storyline.

The setting of this book is also interesting from the perspective of Magdalen and her position in society. Frankly, women in this period are treated horribly. You are the property of your father until you are married and you are expected to have children. That is it. Even attempting to have a life of your own or support yourself earns you disapproval from men and constant accusations of lewd behaviour.

I knew this was something that I would have strong feelings about… but it was something I wanted to have strong feelings about if you know what I mean? I wanted to rage at the treatment of this poor woman, and many other women in this story, and I did. Twelve Nights has been a great eye-opener into how much times have (thankfully) changed. This story is also a gateway to understanding what it is like to be a woman in the 16th century. It is one thing to know, but quite another to experience the vitriol and harassment unjustly through the eyes of our protagonist.

I enjoyed Magdalen as a character. She is brave and perhaps a little foolhardy, but she stands up to prejudice and discrimination where she sees it and takes a stand when it counts – for herself. She has grown up a very independent woman, and she is a rarity in this society. I constantly admired her for her ability to fight against society’s expectations of her.

I enjoyed the characterisation of more than just the protagonist in this book. In particular, I think the author did very well to portray the struggles of caring for somebody with Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are a couple of characters in this book that deals with these conditions, and the representation that they are given in the book is fantastic. Having had a family member suffer from the condition, I think the portrayal was very well done.

I enjoyed the mystery that plays out across the pages of Twelve Nights. We are taken through a variety of twists and turns as Magdalen tries to get to the bottom of a murder she is accused of, but did not commit, all before her ‘inquest’ and inevitable conviction for the crime. The mystery took a turn I was not expecting, and I enjoyed this element of surprise at the 11th hour!

One small thing to add, but I recommend reading the author’s note at the end. Within that note, we learned that a lot of the characters in this book are based on real people, which I found interesting. It proves that the author really knows her stuff on the subject and has researched it thoroughly before incorporating the story into a fun fictional narrative.

 

Author Bio

I was born and raised in Yorkshire where my father inspired my love of history from an early age. He is a born story teller and would take us to the top of Iron Age hillforts, often as dusk was falling, and regale us with stirring tales of battles lost and won. Not surprisingly, I went on to study Classics at university, and still love spending my summers on archaeological digs. For me, there is nothing more thrilling than finding an artefact that has not seen the light of day for thousands of years. I find so much inspiration for my novels from archaeology.

I have had a variety of jobs over the years, including working for the British Forces newspaper in Germany, and at the BBC. When our family was little, the only available space for me to write was a small walk-in wardrobe. The children used to say, ‘oh, mum’s in the cupboard again’.

I have written four historical novels: The King’s Daughter explores the story of Aethelflaed, the Lady of the Mercians. The Saxon Wolves and the Saxon Plague are both set in fifth century AD, a time of enormous upheaval and uncertainty in Britain as the Romans departed and the Saxon era began. My latest is something a bit different. Twelve Nights is a crime thriller set in sixteenth century London, and features William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.

I now live with my husband in the Hampshire countryside. Like many others during the pandemic, we decided to try growing our own fruit and vegetables – with mixed results! We can only get better!

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook: Penny Ingham Author Page | Facebook

Instagram: Penny Ingham (@penny.ingham)

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Giveaway to Win a PB copy of Twelve Nights (Open to UK Only)

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Sunday Summary – 10th July 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. We are at the end of what has been a manic week for me!

There have been a number of lengthy blog posts out this week – one more than expected too! Not only that, but I’ve also been reading ahead of a blog tour that I’m taking part in tomorrow. Finally, I’ve been getting ready for a very important personal event – one of my best friends got married yesterday! Honestly, it has been a lot to juggle but somehow I have managed it without pulling my hair out!

I started the week very early with publishing my Monthly Wrap-Up for June. That post ended up being quite long as I read and listened to a number of books last month! Honestly, by every right, June should’ve been one of my worst reading months. But, it didn’t pan out that way at all. In contrast, I think it was my best! If you want to check out what I’ve been reading, then you can find out which books I picked up in June in that post.

I had originally planned to incorporate a Mid-Year Review into that post. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to completing my review last week. My compromise was to chuck it on the end of my end-of-June wrap-up. However, as that post was long enough in its own right, I couldn’t make it any longer. So, I made the decision to split it out; it ended up being a lengthy post in its own right too! In that post, I reviewed my progress against my new year goals and resolutions set in January. I even set myself one more goal… 

Then, I finally got around to sharing my July TBR yesterday. I had scheduled this post just ahead of the wedding. It is probably the latest I have ever shared a monthly TBR, but at least it’s out there and you know what I’m reading in the next few weeks.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was between books. I had just finished reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, the last book on my June TBR. 

This week has been taken up with reading Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham ahead of tomorrow’s blog tour post. As I’ve alluded to above, there have been a lot of other things going on. As a result, this is the only book I managed to pick up this week. At 380 pages, I’ve still made good reading progress! Bearing in mind I’ve also drafted three blog posts, finished making my friend a present for her wedding, and all the other necessary tasks to get ready, this is a lot!

I enjoyed this book! It combines a number of elements I really enjoy; it has a mystery, is set in historic England and the narrative is heavily influenced by William Shakespeare and the theatre. These are all things I am interested in, and this all put together into one narrative was an entertaining read.

If you want to find out my full thoughts on the book, check out my blog tour post going live at 9am UK time tomorrow.

 

Books Discovered

I came very close to adding a couple of books to my reading list this week. However, I decided to be good and not keep adding to the ever-growing reading list. For a change.

I’ve added quite a lot recently and having deliberately gone back to look at those books again, I’m happy that I made the right decision. They would have been impulse additions, and probably something I would take off the list at a later date anyway.

 

Coming Up…

I am a very happy bunny because I already have my first blog post of next week drafted and scheduled ready to go. It’s made for a very busy evening tonight, but my blog tour post for Twelve Nights is ready to go. If you like the sound of the book based on my brief description above, you can find out a lot more detail in this review post. There will also be chance to win yourself your own paperback copy of the book if you’re based in the UK.

Since things are calming down a little bit, I am going to go back to my Friday features and sharig a Shelf Control post on Friday. It has been a few weeks since I have shared one of these and I’m looking forward to getting back into it. They give me the opportunity to make sure that the books on my reading list are still relevant!

This gives me a little bit of a break in the week, which I will partly enjoy. I may also end up using the time towards one of my New Year’s goals that I haven’t been doing so well in lately. If you’ve read that post, you know exactly which one I mean!

That’s a wrap for today’s Sunday Summary post. This is my second post of the evening and I’m ready to wind down with a cup of tea and a book before bed.

What are you reading?

 

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Monthly TBR – July 2022

Hello and welcome to my July Monthly TBR! Apologies that we have gotten to the 9th of the month and I’m only just posting my list now. I’ve been a bit delayed with getting posts out there, but this is something I’m looking to rectify very soon! My schedule has been hectic and just hasn’t quite gone to plan, as there have been a few bits on in my personal life lately. I’ve had my exam, and more recently I’ve been getting ready for a very special event; one of my best friends gets married today!

One of the reasons I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately, and the reason why a lot of my time has been taken up aside from exams, is because I have made my friend a present for her wedding. I’m not going to share a picture just yet; and I’m only willing to say this in today’s post because I think she’ll be too busy to read it (she does follow my blog, I think). It’s something that has taken up a good deal of my time, and I only finished it at about 10pm last night. I can only hope it’s been worth every moment!

So, apologies for the delay and excuses – now, let’s jump into what you’re really here for… my monthly TBR!

In line with last month, I am deliberately setting myself a shorter fixed reading list. I really benefited from the flexibility last month and my reading motivation was through the roof! I’m optimistic that I will be able to carry this forward into July!

 

Fixed Reads

Twelve Nights

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery

Pages: 380

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Nerthus

Publication Date: 1 Jun 2022

 

 

This month I have one blog tour that I am sharing a review for, and so naturally, this is the first book on my list! Twelve Nights is a historical mystery focused on a theatre group. When one of the players died as a result of poisoning, Magdalen, the wardrobe mistress, is automatically accused. Poison is a woman’s weapon, after all.

As I’m writing this post, I am over halfway through the book and on track to provide my review next week. I could tell from the synopsis that this book was going to trigger the feelings that I have. There is a lot of feminist rage going on over here right now because this poor woman is victimised purely for being a woman, by men who behave far worse. I’m looking forward to finishing the book to see how everything resolves itself.

 

The Man Who Died Twice

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 422

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 16 Sep 2021

 

 

I’m adding this book to my fixed list as well, as I have been loaned a copy by my sister’s boyfriend Chris. They are coming to the island for a visit later this month, so for practical reasons, it’ll be great to get this one read and I can return the book to Chris whilst he is here.

I recently read and enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club. I’m looking forward to rejoining these characters and seeing them get involved in yet more shenanigans, despite their age and better judgment. I don’t know much about the synopsis of this book. I added it to my list purely because I enjoyed the first book so much!

 

Mood Reads

Invisible Women

Genre: Non-fiction, feminism

Pages: 411

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Abrams Press

Publication Date: 12 Mar 2019

 

 

In line with my new goal of picking up at least one non-fiction book a month, I have added Invisible Women to my mood-read list. I’ve been looking at this one on my bookshelf for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been really tempted to pick it up.

I think this will sit well with my current read, Twelve Nights. Whilst the world has moved on significantly since 1592, there are a lot of things to be desired about the way women are treated, and the ways (subtle or otherwise) in which women are living in a world ruled by men.

 

Royal Assassin

Genre: Epic fantasy

Pages: 648

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 1 Mar 1996

 

 

I really enjoyed reading Assassin’s Apprentice in June. I have been re-reading a lot of much-loved books and series this year that I initially read a long time ago. It is refreshing to pick up something completely new, and I can honestly say that I believe that this author and series will become one that I come back to in future.

Having finally taken the plunge to read the first book, I can see why it came highly recommended by friends and the bookish community in general! I loved the events of the first book and I can’t wait to see how it continues to develop.

 

The First Binding

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Pages: 832

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Gollancz 

Publication Date: 18 Aug 2022

 

 

This last book is an absolute chunk, and I am taking part in a blog tour for this book next month! I cannot tell you how excited I am to have been selected for the tour being organised by the publisher, because I have had my eye on this book since January.

I’m still awaiting my review copy, but I can’t wait to pick up this huge epic fantasy. As you can tell by my enjoyment and continuation of Robin Hobb, epic fantasy is a genre that really works for me and I’m always really interested in picking up. I always enjoy picking up books by new authors too, so this ticks a lot of boxes for me. Hopefully, I’m not waiting too much longer on my copy, because I would like to make a good start on this as soon as I possibly can.

 

With the way things have been at the moment, I am only on the first book of my monthly TBR still. However, most of my commitments are now dealt with and so I will have a lot more free time to get into books from next week.

I am optimistic for another brilliant reading month. I’m really happy with the progress I made in June, and I hope to replicate it now that my time has freed up and I’m excited to pick up all the books!

Do you have any reading plans this month? What are you reading at the moment?

 

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Mid-Year Review of 2022 Goals/Resolutions

Hello everyone and welcome to my mid-year review post for 2022. In this post I’m going to take a look at the goals I set myself at the start of this year in my 2022 New Year Goals/Resolutions post. I’m going to evaluate where I’m up to so far, amend if necessary, and maybe even add another…

At the beginning of the year, I set myself three primary goals. After a year off, I wanted to take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge once again. I enjoyed my break, however, I felt that taking part in the challenge provides me with some much-needed motivation. I also set myself a challenge regarding how I structure my reading. In previous years I have gone from one extreme of setting a static list for the month, to setting no list at all. I found that neither approach works perfectly for me, and so I challenged myself to take a more hybrid approach. Lastly, I set myself a challenge to get more organised with my blog post writing.

Of all the challenges set so far, I feel like the last of those is the only one where there is a lot to be desired. But, more on that below!

 

Existing Challenges

Goodreads Challenge – 40 books

40 books isn’t an overly ambitious target (for me), but it’s one that I felt I could reasonably achieve. When you consider that last year I only read about 25 books, it’s a step up. Equally, my record has been reading 72 books in one year.

That is a lot, and I don’t think it’s an amount I will ever achieve again. It’s partly because I went so hard at this that I ended up slumping last year. I’d rather take a slower and steady approach, and this is how I got to my target of 40.

At the end of June, I had completed 23 books and only DNF’d one! I’m pleased with this progress, as not only am I on track, but I’m also not so far ahead that I’ve made the challenge too easy. In previous years I have upped my goal because I had underestimated myself.

Here are the details of the books I’ve read in the last six months: 

Obviously, things can change in the next six months. I will be doing another review at the end of August with regards to my Goodreads challenge, but for now, it’s staying where it is!

 

Reading Lists

I have definitely been taking a more flexible approach to my reading list, although I don’t think I found the balance just yet. It may be that this is a constantly moving target and I just need to be a little bit adaptable with myself.

At the beginning of the year, I was setting myself a monthly TBR that was approximately 2/3 fixed and 1/3 flexible. I thought I would benefit from having more in the way of structure, with the opportunity to pick up anything I like at the end of the month if I get through those books. There are months where this worked, and there are months where this didn’t work quite so much.

It is only more recently that I have allowed myself a little more freedom. I was finding that a lot of the time, I wasn’t really getting to my mood reads, or I was only just getting to them towards the end of the month. That doesn’t really give me what I was setting out to achieve.

Quite by chance, I tried a different approach in June. When trying to set myself a TBR, I kept changing my mind as to what I wanted to read. I only had one real reading commitment, and so in the end I decided to set this as my only fixed read and to allow myself the flexibility with everything else during the month. As it happens, I did end up sticking with the books I’d penciled in, but I think the mentality that allowing myself the flexibility gave me motivation. This was also during a time when I had an exam to prepare for, and in theory, it should have been one of my worst months. But in reality, I think it was my best!

I want to continue with this more flexible approach in future.

So, in the meantime, I’m going to set myself a limit of only setting half of a monthly TBR as ‘fixed books’, although if I can be more flexible with myself then that is what I will try to do. This is dependent on reading commitments, so I’m not going to sign myself up for too much so that I can’t fulfill this goal.

 

Blog Post Writing

At the beginning of this year, I set myself the challenge to be more organised with writing my blog posts. Primarily, I wanted to pull my finger out and get my posts scheduled at least a week in advance. That way, if there are any unpleasant surprises, or I’m not in the mood, I had some leeway to get post out to you on time.

This is the only goal that I haven’t done so well with. I am still writing posts pretty much as and when they are scheduled to go up. This very post itself is already delayed from my original intended posting date, so that illustrates how I’m still struggling with this!

I’m going to make a concerted effort to start preparing my posts in a more timely fashion. It won’t take that much effort, but I just need to be a little bit more disciplined with myself in order to make this change a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’ll be golden.

 

New Challenge

Read more Non-fiction

I am well on the way with two out of three of my existing challenges. I have been considering adding an additional challenge for myself this year, and I have plenty of books that will allow me to do this.

As an avid learner, I would like to pick up more non-fiction books. Be it memoirs/biographies, histories or books aimed at personal development, I would like to explore the genre in more detail. It is one of the least read on my blog overall, and I would like to change that.

With this in mind, I am setting myself the challenge of reading/listening to at least one non-fiction book a month. I can either include this as part of my fixed TBR, or I can pick it up on a whim. Tying in with my existing challenge regarding reading lists, I’m going to make this fit within that. In June I listened to Hell by Jeffrey Archer, one of his prison diaries published in 2003. I have another non-fiction book ready for my July TBR, so this is a good start to this brand-new challenge!

So, that is where I am up to with my 2022 goals, and what I would like to make progress with in the next six months.

Have you set yourself any goals for 2022, and are you on track?

 

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