20 Books of Summer 2019: The End!

This is the last day of this year’s 20 Books of Summer challenge hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. It’s the third time I’ve participated and the third time I’ve failed to complete it!

20 Books of Summer is a simple idea – to make a list of twenty books at the start of the summer and then read them between 1st June and 3rd September – but not as easy as it sounds. I have actually read exactly twenty books this summer, but only ten of them were on my list; I was tempted by too many other books in June, and then in July and August I found I was too busy to read very much at all.

Anyway, here are the ten books from my list that I managed to read, with links to my reviews:

1. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
2. The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick
3. Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh
4. The Devil’s Slave by Tracy Borman
5. Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
6. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
7. Decoding the Bayeux Tapestry by Arthur C. Wright
8. Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada
9. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
10. The Canary Keeper by Clare Carson

Of these, my favourites were The Island of Sea Women and The Devil’s Slave.

I am currently reading the following two books but couldn’t finish them in time:

11. A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien
12. The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

And these are the eight I haven’t had time for, but do still want to read soon:

13. The Horseman by Tim Pears
14. Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
15. Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir
16. The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
17. The Anarchist’s Club by Alex Reeve
18. Mrs Whistler by Matthew Plampin
19. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
20. Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou by Amy Licence

They will have to be autumn or winter reads instead of summer ones!

Did you take part in 20 Books of Summer this year? How did you do?

Time for R.I.P. XIV…

I always enjoy taking part in R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril), but I’ve been particularly looking forward to it this year because I feel as though I’ve done very little reading recently. Moving house and some big changes at work (including an office move and a new manager) have made this quite a busy and stressful summer for me and I’m not really sorry to see it come to an end. Having completely failed with my 20 Books of Summer list – more on that next week – I’m happy to put that challenge behind me for now and start a new one.

R.I.P. is now in its fourteenth year and I’ve been joining in since year five! The rules are very simple – from 1st September to 31st October we will be reading books that fit into any of the following categories:

Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror or Supernatural.

As usual, there are different levels to choose from and I will be aiming for Peril the First, which is:

Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson or Tananarive Due…or anyone in between.

I have put together a list of possible reads, though I’m certainly not expecting to read all of these – and will probably end up reading books that aren’t on the list at all, which is what usually happens!

The first three books are on my NetGalley shelf so I would be reading them soon anyway; the rest are a mixture of unread books from previous years’ lists, library books and other review copies.

The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry
Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes
The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
The Printer’s Coffin by MJ Carter
A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland
The Mystery of the Peacock’s Eye by Brian Flynn
Tombland by CJ Sansom
The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude
Bone China by Laura Purcell
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

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Are you planning to take part in R.I.P. this year? What will you be reading?

20 Books of Summer – 2019

20 Books of Summer, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books, is a very simple idea: make a list of 20 (or 10 or 15) books and read them during the summer months. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, as I discovered when I took part in 2017 and 2018. Just reading twenty books in three months is not usually a problem for me, but sticking to a list prepared in advance definitely is! Cathy does allow us to add and remove books from our lists, but I prefer not to do that if possible, which makes it even more challenging.

I did consider the ten or fifteen book option this time because I’m expecting this summer to be much busier than usual (if all goes according to plan I should be moving house in July) but I decided just to list twenty anyway and see how far I get with them. This year all of the books on my list are review copies, either physical ones or books I’ve received through NetGalley. It should be a good way to clear some of the backlog!

I’ll see how many of these I can read between 3rd June and 3rd September:

1. The Canary Keeper by Clare Carson

2. The Horseman by Tim Pears

3. The Devil’s Slave by Tracy Borman

4. A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien

5. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

6. Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

7. Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

8. Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

9. Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada

10. The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick

11. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

12. The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

13. The Anarchist’s Club by Alex Reeve

14. Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

15. Mrs Whistler by Matthew Plampin

16. The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

17. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

18. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

19. Decoding the Bayeux Tapestry by Arthur C. Wright (non-fiction)

20. Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou by Amy Licence (non-fiction)

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Have you read any of these? Will you be taking part in 20 Books of Summer this year?

Completed Challenge: What’s in a Name ? 2018

I only signed up for two year-long reading challenges at the beginning of 2018 – What’s in a Name? and the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. With three days of the year remaining, I am still reading books that could count towards the Historical Fiction challenge, but I have now completed the What’s in a Name? challenge.

The challenge was hosted by Charlie of The Worm Hole and the idea was to read six books, each with a title including one of the following words:

– The word ‘the’ used twice
– A fruit or vegetable
– A shape
– A title that begins with Z
– A nationality
– A season

Here are the six books I read, with links to my reviews.

The word ‘the’ used twice:

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

A fruit or vegetable:

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

A shape:

Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor

A title beginning with Z:

Zennor in Darkness by Helen Dunmore

A nationality:

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

A season:

The Winter Prince by Cheryl Sawyer

Did anyone else take part in this challenge too?

Have you read any of these books?

20 Books of Summer 2018 – The End

This is the last day of this year’s 20 Books of Summer challenge hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. It’s the second time I’ve participated and although I haven’t been completely successful with it, I’ve still enjoyed taking part. It’s a simple idea – to make a list of twenty books at the start of the summer and then read them between 1st June and 3rd September – but not that easy when you keep getting distracted by other books! I’ve read more than twenty books this summer, but only fifteen that were on my original list.

Here are the fifteen books in the order I read them, with links to my reviews:

1. For the Immortal by Emily Hauser
2. The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle
3. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
4. Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy
5. The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola
6. My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis
7. The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman
8. Don’t Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier
9. Post of Honour by RF Delderfield
10. Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb
11. Lamentation by CJ Sansom
12. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
13. The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry
14. Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard
15. Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim

I enjoyed all of these, especially Desperate Remedies, Post of Honour, Fool’s Errand, Lamentation and Marking Time.

And here are the books I didn’t have time for:

16. The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault
17. Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie
18. Fortune’s Fool by David Blixt
19. The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath
20. The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

I’m still planning to read those books – in fact, I’m halfway through The Bull from the Sea now – but they will have to be autumn reads instead of summer ones.

Did you take part in 20 Books of Summer this year? How did you do?

It’s time for R.I.P. XIII…

September is almost here and that means it’s time to prepare for one of my favourite reading events: Readers Imbibing Peril (better known as R.I.P), which is hosted this year by Capricious. The idea of R.I.P. is to spend September and October reading books from the following categories:

Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural.

There are different levels to choose from, including a one-book option for those readers who don’t want to commit to too much. As usual, I am signing up for Peril the First, which means:

Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson or Tananarive Due…or anyone in between.

The challenge is now in its thirteenth year; my first R.I.P was R.I.P V in 2010 and I haven’t missed one since! I usually end up reading more than four books that fit the R.I.P. categories and although I don’t make a list and rigidly stick to it, I do like to put together a selection of possible choices.

Here are some of the R.I.P-ish books I have on my TBR:

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell was a birthday present from my sister in May, but I haven’t read it yet as I’ve been saving it for R.I.P. I’m sure it will be perfect.
The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton is one of the books I put on my 20 Books of Summer list and haven’t managed to read (I think 15/20 is the most I can hope for this summer). I love Sharon Bolton’s books and still have one of her others, Blood Harvest, to read as well.
A Gathering of Ghosts is Karen Maitland’s latest novel and I have a review copy which I really need to read soon.

Jezebel’s Daughter by Wilkie Collins is the only book on my Classics Club list that looks suitable for R.I.P.
Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor would also count towards my What’s In A Name? challenge – a book with a shape in the title.
And I already have Thunder on the Right lined up for September because Mary Stewart will be featuring in Jane’s Birthday Book of Underappreciated Lady Authors.

I loved The Strangler Vine by MJ Carter, so The Printer’s Coffin is high on my list for this year’s R.I.P.
So is The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude, a British Library Crime Classic which will be my first book by Bude.
I also want to read Cruel as the Grave by Sharon Penman, the second book in her Justin de Quincy mystery series.

The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin is one of the books I’m considering for the upcoming 1944 Club, and possibly an Agatha Christie as well.
I often read one of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries during R.I.P. and Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is the next one in the series.
And having read Allan Massie’s Death in Bordeaux last year, I would like to read Dark Summer in Bordeaux soon too.

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Those are just some of the books I could decide to read – I do have more on my TBR, so don’t be surprised if you see me reading something I haven’t mentioned here. I like to have plenty of choice!

Will you be taking part in R.I.P. this year? Have you read any of the books I’ve listed above?

20 Books of Summer – 2018

This time last year I decided to take part in 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. It’s a simple idea – to make a list of twenty books (or fifteen or ten) that you would like to read during the summer months – but it’s more difficult to complete than you might expect! I managed to read 16 out of 20 last year, which I was still quite pleased with, but I’m looking forward to trying again this year.

Here are my twenty books for 2018, in no particular order:

1. The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

2. Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy

3. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

4. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor

5. The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

6. Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb

7. The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle

8. Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim

9. For the Immortal by Emily Hauser

10. Post of Honour by RF Delderfield

11. The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman

12. Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard

13. Lamentation by CJ Sansom

14. The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault

15. Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie

16. Don’t Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier

17. My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis

18. Fortune’s Fool by David Blixt

19. The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath

20. The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

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I’ve included a mixture of review copies (from NetGalley and from authors/publishers), books from my Classics Club list and some that I just want to read. I will need to read these twenty books between 1 June – 3 September, but I’m sure I will find myself reading others that aren’t on the list too!

Have you read any of these? Will you be taking part in 20 Books of Summer this year?