Ready for R.I.P. XV

It’s been a strange summer in many ways and I can’t really say that I’m sorry it’s nearly over. As we move into September and the darker nights and colder weather begin to arrive again, my favourite reading event – R.I.P. (or Readers Imbibing Peril) – is also returning for a fifteenth year.

This year the rules are much more relaxed than usual. There’s no need to officially sign up and there are no levels or targets to aim for. All you need to do to join in is read some spooky, mysterious or suspenseful books in September and October and, if you have Instagram or Twitter, you can follow the event @perilreaders.

Here is a list of some of the possible choices I have on my TBR. I won’t read all of these and could end up reading different books entirely, but I like to have plenty of options.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
Dead March for Penelope Blow by George Bellairs
The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale
The Butcher of Berner Street by Alex Reeve
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
The Printer’s Coffin by MJ Carter
A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland
Tombland by CJ Sansom
The Sussex Downs Murder by John Bude
The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
The Grey King by Susan Cooper
Grim Tales by E Nesbit
Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by MR James

Will you be taking part in R.I.P. this year?

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: Looking back at 2019 and forward to 2020

I don’t take part in many reading challenges these days as I prefer to have the freedom to read what I want to read without trying to meet too many targets and goals, but one challenge I have been participating in during 2019 is the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Amy at Passages to the Past.

Reading historical fiction is not really much of a ‘challenge’ for me, but I still enjoy linking my reviews to the monthly challenge posts, seeing what other participants are reading and discovering new historical fiction novels and bloggers. I will be signing up again in 2020, but first, Amy has provided some questions for us to answer about our 2019 reading:

So, how many historicals did you read in 2019?
50, although I have only reviewed 45 of them so far.

Did you reach your original challenge goal level?
Yes – I had signed up at ‘Prehistoric’ level, which meant I needed to read 50 books for the challenge.

What was your favorite historical of the year?
The Way to the Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop

What was the most surprising historical read of the year for you?
The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve – I knew nothing about it and wasn’t expecting much from it, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

What historical are you looking forward to most in 2020?
Like many people, I’m eagerly awaiting The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel!

Here is a full list of the books I read for the challenge in 2019:

1. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
2. The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve
3. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (re-read)
4. Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
5. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
6. Elizabeth, Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin
7. The She-Wolf by Maurice Druon
8. A King Under Siege by Mercedes Rochelle
9. Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer
10. The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
11. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
12. The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff
13. Casanova and the Faceless Woman by Olivier Barde-Cabucon
14. Cashelmara by Susan Howatch (re-read)
15. The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence
16. Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer
17. Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
18. The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
19. After the Party by Cressida Connolly
20. The Adventurers by Jane Aiken Hodge
21. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
22. The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick
23. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
24. The House of Hardie by Anne Melville
25. The Devil’s Slave by Tracy Borman
26. Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
27. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
28. The Butcher’s Daughter by Victoria Glendinning
29. The Way to the Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop
30. The Canary Keeper by Clare Carson
31. A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien
32. The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve
33. The King’s Evil by Andrew Taylor
34. The Daughter of Hardie by Anne Melville
35. The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
36. To Calais, in Ordinary Time by James Meek
37. The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
38. Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
39. Bone China by Laura Purcell
40. The Boy with Blue Trousers by Carol Jones
41. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan by Cynthia Jefferies
42. The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby
43. The Drowned Court by Tracey Warr
44. The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry
45. A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
46. Dark Queen Rising by Paul Doherty
47. Love Without End by Melvyn Bragg
48. The Bastille Spy by CS Quinn
49. Anna of Kleve, Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir
50. Call Upon the Water by Stella Tillyard

~

Now, on to next year’s challenge! As usual, there are different levels to choose from:

20th Century Reader – 2 books
Victorian Reader – 5 books
Renaissance Reader – 10 books
Medieval – 15 books
Ancient History – 25 books
Prehistoric – 50+ books

Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, History/Non-Fiction, etc).

I will be aiming for Prehistoric again, but won’t be too disappointed if I don’t reach 50 books (I nearly didn’t this year). Enjoying my reading is the most important thing!

Will you be taking part in this challenge too? You can find full details at Passages to the Past here.

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

~

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)

~

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?