Friday, 26 December 2014

2015 Reading Challenges #3

OK, these are the last two - I think - for 2015 and will bring my reading challenges up to a grand total of 5 for the year :)

So here we have --

The Outlander Series Reading Challenge
(You can find out all about this challenge at It's a Book Life)

2015 could be the year that I finally read all of these books - I say the same thing every year but I am really going to put in an effort in 2015 :)

And last but not least --

The 2015 Audiobook Challenge  that you can find at Hot Listens and The Book Nympho 

PrintI do a massive about of audiobook listening because of my work so this challenge is great!

There are several levels to this challenge from listening to 1-5 to 50+.

I am going to go for the 50+  Marathoner level and see how it goes :)

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

2015 Reading Challenges #2

*Looks innocent*

Ok, in my defense I did say I would probably find another challenge to sign up for and I have.

Whoop whoop!

Victorian Reading Challenge

I am going through a bit of a Charles Dickens phase at the moment so I was super happy to find this challenge. And look! Another bingo card. *happy dance*

This is going to vary my reading a bit and get me away from Charles Dickens. Which is great as it will stop me from getting bored :).

You can find out all about this challenge and a version for the UBER Victorian Lit reader at Becky's Book Reviews

PS - If you are wondering what would count as Victorian Literature according to the wonder than is Wikipedia the Victorian Era was 1837-1901 :)


Right I am going to allow myself 2 3. Ok, 3! more challenges for the year and  am NOT going to sign up for any after the New Year has arrived. (Maybe I will let myself if I finish one...). 

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Sunday, 21 December 2014

2015 Reading Challenges #1

I am calling this #1 as my goal for 2015 is to get through my ridiculously massive TBR mountain and I will probably find some more challenges to get stuck into before the beginning of the year :)

I love being able to cross things off - it give me a huge sense of accomplishment - so I did a Google search for bingo reading challenges and did a happy dance at what popped up.

I know that technically I could put on of these together for myself but having it come from someone else gives it a bit more validation in my eyes. Strange I know...

So here are some of the challenges I will be taking part in during 2015 -

These are all from the blog My Readers Block

2015 Vintage Mystery BingoVintage Mystery Bingo
There are 2 levels for this challenge.
Gold - Books published before 1960
Silver - Books published between 1960 and 1989
I have quite a collection of crime and mystery books to get through so I am going to have a try at them both.

Then there is the Color Coded Reading Challenge
I have signed up to this one for the fun of it.
I like the idea of having a rainbow of book spines at the end of a reading binge :)

So there we have it.

You can find out all about these challenges and some more at My Readers Block

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

To Watch or Not To Watch The Fault in Our Stars?

I treated myself to the DVD of The Fault in Our Stars last week...

So? I hear you ask.


I loved the book, i found it hilarious,touching, heartbreaking and everything in between. But at the end of the day the heartbreaking part was the point that stuck with me. I sobbed at the end of this book and it joined the list of books that have made me cry (at that point in time the list consisted of 2 - FYI now I am up to 4). It was one of those books that haunted me and it took me quite a while to shake myself out of the funk it landed me in.

Now, there is the argument that I will know what is coming so it might not be that bad...

There is also the argument that goes something like this "Seriously Alex, it isn't the book. It is the movie of the book. There is a difference."

Both of these argument are valid but at the same time I do not want a repeat of the Les Miserables experience.

I have read the books, seen the stage musical, listened to the CDs. I absolutely, positively knew what was coming with that film when I went to see it. And what happened? That film stuck with me for weeks and threw me into such a pit of despair (it all came from one particular point - I wont go into it in case I spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it) that it took me quite a while to get over it.

See, so that totally disproves at least one of the arguments...

What to do? What to do?

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Monday, 28 July 2014

What I am Reading...

Guess what?

Yip, you got it, I am still sitting with the exact same books on my night stand as I had 3 weeks ago. 

And yes, it is getting a little depressing so I am going to shake things up a wee bit and add some new things to the pile.

In my defence I am nearly done listening to The Woman in isn't really freaking me out like I was expecting it to though.

I am going to try sooooo hard to at least get Phoenix Rising finished. I swear this book is glaring at me. 

And as for Dragonfly in Amber...well, we'll see. 

And I am adding some Christie to the pile.

The Secret Adversary is a Tommy and Tuppence novel - they are 2 Christie detectives that I haven't read yet so this should be interesting. 

The Secret Adversary

Is it just me or is that cover a bit scary?

After WW1, childhood pals Tommy Beresford and "Tuppence" Prudence Cowley, lack money and prospects, become adventurers for the British Government. Rich American Julius P. Hersheimmer, powerful Mr Whittington, and an evil mastermind's conspiracy all seek Jane Finn, given papers vital to peace by an agent at the sinking of the Luisitania. Kidnaps, escapes.

Dun, dun, duuuuuuun.

Happy Reading!
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Sunday, 27 July 2014

What I Have Read...

Hi guys :)

I hope you all are having/have had a safe and good weekend.

So, I finished 2 books this week, neither of which were on the bedside table on Monday. But who cares, I was just thrilled to get out of the reading funk I had fallen into.

Agatha Christie saved the day!

The Labours of Hercule Poirot

The Labours of Hercules

The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Little bit of trivia for you, this was Agatha Christie's very first published book :)

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

These were both enjoyable reads and pretty quick to get through too.

Look out for the reviews coming soon.


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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme that you can find over at Tynga's Reviews :)

It has been ages since I have made any new bookish purchases but when I saw this book on the shelf at ASDA I couldn't resist. 


Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother - Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid - was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea's uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea's 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother's guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom's heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother's legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive..

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Storybook of Legend (Ever After High Book #1) by Shannon Hale

The Storybook of Legends (Ever After High, #1)

At Ever After High, an enchanting boarding school, the children of fairytale legends prepare themselves to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings and Evil Queens...whether they want to or not. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. For generations, the Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End-both for a story and for a life.
As the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen's destiny is to follow in her mother's wicked footsteps, but evil is so not Raven's style. She's starting to wonder, what if she rewrote her own story? The royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, has a happy ever after planned for herself, but it depends upon Raven feeding her a poison apple in their future.What if Raven doesn't sign the Storybook of Legends? It could mean a happily never after for them both.

I love the Ever After High series on YouTube so when I saw this on the shelf in the shop I was like : "Oooooo there's books!" *grabby hands*

Thumbs Up!
I love Raven the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White and I really enjoyed getting to know a bit more about her home life and her home life. I was a bit confused about just how the reliving their parents stories actually works but maybe that'll be explained later on.
Maddie the daughter of the Mad Hatter was also a highlight of the book and her little discussions with the Narrator who she can hear where something to look forward to. She's great!
Basically Raven doesn't want to fill her mother's roll in the Snow White story and spends the whole of this book proving that she won't vanish/die if she doesn't vow to be the next Evil Queen. This made it a fun little mystery.

Thumbs Down!
I HATE Snow White's daughter, Apple White. I dislike her in the series and there was nothing in this book that made me change my mind, in fact I think it only cemented it more. As soon as she showed up I just wanted her to go away again.

All in All
Really interesting because of the background information.

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mid-Year Wrap Up (Part 3) - Least Favourite Reads!

In all fairness most of the books I have red this year I have thoroughly enjoyed...or enjoyed enough to not dislike completely. However, there are a few that I had to force myself through.

Here are the two at the top of the list.

The Klone and I by Daniel Steel

The Klone and I

I have read other Daniel Steel books, and while on the whole I found them depressing, I did enjoy them, but The Klone and I made my head hurt. A LOT. Steph was a weak willed heroine and I found her inner conflict more annoying than anything else. I had to force myself to the end of this.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber

This book has been on my radar for ages so when I saw it in the book shop I whipped it off the shelf before you could say 'Oh look, it's that book'. I have read it and after reading it read some reviews. It seems that everyone but me likes this book. I think the only thing that kept me going through this was that it is a collection of short stories. Had this been one novel I don't think I could have made it to the end. 

I was really disappointed by it. I don't know if I chose the wrong Carter to begin with or if it is her style I don't like... It looks like I'll have to try another by the author to find out. 

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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A House for the Season by M.C. Beaton Wrap-Up

Woohoo! So I set myself the goal of finishing these books by the end of June and I did it Yipee! Why did I do this? Because I took these on holiday with me last year and I didn't get round to reading them and there was no way I was going to have them glaring at me from the shelf when I got back from this years holiday. So, there you have my reason.

Wrap-Up time!

I was going through my wrap-up post for The Travelling Matchmaker series and I've found my thoughts for these books are pretty much the same.

Cover of Rainbird's RevengeThere were two that I really enjoyed, Plain Jane and The Adventuress but the rest I found a bit so-so and could have left unfinished but I was too stubborn to not finish the series.

I think it all boiled down to me not liking the recurring characters enough. Lizzie the scullery maid was really the only member of the staff that I cared for and wanted to see happy.


They are stuck in a miserable position with low wages and not enough fuel or food in winter because the agent of the owner of the house is basically blackmailing them into remaining by saying he will not give them references if they leave.

Now, I didn't really understand why they remained in such a horrible situation. There had to have been a way around it but instead at the beginning of every book we got told how miserable the previous winter had been. Although in all fairness that wasn't always the case.

A pet peeve for this book was that the same information about the staff would be regurgitated in the first two chapters at some point in most of the books.  This works lovely in that you can pick up any of the books, in any order and be told everything you need to know. But when it came to reading then in a row I was getting a wee bit annoyed.

These are great books to read if you are looking for something to get through in one night.

I think I did do the books a disservice by reading them one after another, so with the next Beaton series I will make an effort to spread them out a bit more.

On a good note to leave on I will say that I LOVED the introduction to the chapters. Poetry from Byron and other artists of the time on their observations of Society and the Season were wonderful to read and I will be trying to hunt down some collections of those.

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Monday, 21 July 2014

What I am Reading...

Same old, same old!

I know, this is terrible!

Dragonfly in Amber and Phoenix rising are still sitting on my bedside table and The Woman in Black is still on my IPod...

I admit it, I have hit a spell of reader block  and I have read nothing in the last fortnight :(

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Rainbird's Revenge by M.C. Beaton

Rainbird's Revenge (A House for the Season, #6)
When the Duke of Pelham returns to his town house at 67 Clarges Street, he is grimly determined to find a suitable wife--but completely unprepared for what the Season has to offer. The duke’s title alone has always brought him more than his share of feminine attention; claiming not to believe in love, he has never been spurned by a lady. The duke’s self-imposed search is soon disrupted by the arrival in London of Miss Jenny Sutherland, a spoiled but beautiful country girl whose vanity is her tragic flaw. According to her guardian Aunt Letitia, lack of competition has made Jenny put on airs; in London, she will get the set-down she sorely deserves. Indeed, at her first important London party, Jenny’s blatant disdain for the duke leads to certain disaster. But no one has counted on the intervention of John Rainbird, the shrewd and resourceful butler at 67 Clarges Street. Rainbird befriends Jenny, suggesting she look in the mirror a little less often. The result is a mischievous scheme that will insure Jenny’s social success and determine the fate of the close-knit family of servants at 67 Clarges Street.

This is the final book in the A House for the Season series and I found it a bit of a let down on the whole.

The Lovers
I found Jenny to be utterly unlikeable and even by the end of the book all I could think was, yes, that's all good and well but
a)no one can change that quickly in so short amount of time and
b)what is to stop her from going back to her old self loving self
as soon as I close the book. She felt like she should be instantly liked and forgiven because of her appearance and she was not a very mice person with her self-centred attitude.

The hero was just as bad. He felt like his looks, title and wealth should have women falling at his feet and he is very out out when he proposes to a woman and she refuses him. I felt like it was a reality check he was deserving and he needed to go and grow up a little bit.

This has to be the only book in the series where the hero and heroine spend the least amount of time together and I could not see the marriage working at all.

Of the new characters introduced in this book the two I loved the most where Jenny's Aunt Letitia and her friend Mrs Freemantle. Her aunt was a sweetheart and cared for her niece despite the fact she was not nice and Mrs Freemantle was so carefree. They were lovely.

The Staff
The only thing that kept me reading this book was to see how the staff would end up and to see everyone get there happy endings.

I completed the series where I started with Joseph the footmen. I really didn't like him and wanted to hit him over the head for his attitude. And I still loved Lizzie to pieces.

There was the matter of Luke - the footman from next door that wasn't tied up - but other than that there were no loose ends.

All in All
A disappointment on the whole but worth the read to see the staff of 67 Clarges Street settled and happy with their lives.

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Mid-Year Wrap Up (Part 2) - Favourite Reads!

Shout out time for some of my favourite reads of the last 6 months!

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The Book ThiefThis book blew my mind to such an extent that I still can't find it in me to write a review.
Touching, heartbreaking and everything in between this book had me sobbing like a baby so bad that my mum came into the room and thought I was having a bad allergy attack.
I haven't seen the movie yet but I hope it cam capture at east a fraction of the beauty and emotion of this book.

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson 

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Di... by Jonas JonassonThis book sits at the other end of the emotions spectrum from The Books Thief. This book was hilarious and had me giggling insanely more than once. It also touches on a lot of recent history which made it fascinating.

The Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Crooked House by Agatha ChristieOut of the Agatha Christie's that I have read so far (which looking at how many there are isn't really all that many) this has got to be my favourite of the bunch.

It was full of twists and turns and had ma suspecting everyone at one point or another but the person who actually did it.


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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Adventuress by M.C. Beaton

The Adventuress (A House for the Season, #5)
Beauty is a powerful magnet, and every man in the ton is drawn to the exquisite loveliness of Miss Emily Goodenough, who has rented the Clarges Street house with her rather peculiar old uncle. Only Rainbird, the butler, suspects that Miss Goodenough's origins might be less than genteel--in fact, that the beauteous Emily may be a runaway chambermaid and her "uncle" a fellow butler! But Emily has fallen desperately in love with the handsome, haughty Earl of Fleetwood, and since the bogus upstairs couple quickly wins the downstairs' servants' hearts... Rainbird and his friends are determined to make a lowly maid the catch of the Season for high society's most desirable Lord!

Very nearly at the end of the series now.

The Lovers
Emily spends the book as a nervous wreck, frightened that everyone would discover that she was an ex-servant and not a proper lady. The paranoia was realistic and not as annoying as I thought it would be from the beginning.

She is very headstrong and she has a goal in mind as is determined to achieve it. And with the help of the staff she goes from being a nobody to a somebody thanks to them spreading gossip to get society interested in her.

I found Fleetwood a bit annoying with his constant complaining about the servant class. Because he had a bad experience with his own servants when his wife was murders he tarred them all with the same brush and now can't stand them. This of course leads to plenty of internal conflict for Emily.

Fleetwood had also written a book that is about a servant girl hat sends Emily into a tizzy and has her jumping at her own shadow thinking someone based the book off of her.

What I did enjoy about this book was that it went past the wedding day, that made a nice change.

The Staff
I had my second 'Oh Lizzie'moment in this as she fancies herself in love with next doors footman after a bit of flattering from him and trusts him with the servants savings...

I still love her to bits though and she does meet a nice stranger in this so I can't wait to see where that leads too.

All in All
One of the more enjoyable of the series with a likeable heroine (even if I did want to shake her a couple of times).

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Monday, 14 July 2014

What I am Reading...

Yip, my reading has been that dire in the last week that I am still on what I was reading this time last week.

No, really, it has been that bad that I am in the exact same place in the exact same books as last Monday. I haven't even been a able to listen to any more of The Woman in Black, that's how bad it has been.

Terrible I know, but for some reason I just haven't been able to sit down and read. Either my mind was on something else and reading was a chore (how horrible is that!) or I was asleep (been a bit sick this past week).

Here's hoping this next week will be better for my reading!

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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Rake's Progress by M.C. Beaton

Rake's Progress (A House for the Season, #4)
Lord Guy Carlton, late of His Magesty's regiment and weary from the war in France, has only wine, women and song in mind when he rents Number 67 for the Season. He certainly has no desire for a serious attachment - and marriage, never! Then his merry eyes spot the lovely but very proper Miss Esther Jones. But what will be her fate if she falls in love with the notorious Lord Guy? Though Esther's business acument has made her one of the rivhest women in England, her innocence could make her a victim of the wild ways of the ton, unless the downstairs staff at Clarges Street devise a campaign to reform the rake who is laying siege to her heart

Here we have a hero who just wanted to have a good time after just coming home from the wars (even if he didn't go about it in the best of ways) and a heroine who was around at the wrong time to see it.

The Lovers
Esther was a headstrong heroine who was used to looking after herself and her younger brother and sister and was more than capable of doing so. Until it came to society matters and then she was a fish out of water.

She made no secret of the fact that she disapproved of the hero after seeing 67 Clarges Street at the end of a party that he had held.

She means well and puts herself out to help people, even very nearly committing social suicide to help a young girl.

Guy did not get off to the best start in this book and when he wakes up in bed after the party with three women in his bed and can't remeber exactly what had gone on I was ready to write him off entirely. But he did grow on me through the book - not much though.

There is a sneaky valet with his own agenda who tries to put a spanner in the works and he almost miraculous curing of Guy's PTSD had me uttering a 'Yeah right'. It went down hill a bit near the end when there was a kissing/groping sessions between Esther and Guy which was a bit of a shame.

The Staff
The storyline with the romance involving Rainbird finally comes to a conclusion in this book. Thank goodness.

Unfortunately I did have my first 'Oh Lizzie' moment. She had finally got fed up of being a servant at the bottom of the food chain and puts an advertisement in the paper looking for a husband, yeah, that didn't turn out too well...

All in All
An ok addition to the series. Not the best, but then again not the worst either.

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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Mid-Year Wrap Up (Part 1) - No Reading Regrets!

Was it just me or did the first 6 months of 2014 go by super fast?

I decided that 2014 was going to be the year of no reading regrets and while the blog has been sitting pretty stagnant for the past wee while my reading for the last 6 months has thank fully picked up.

So what do I mean by no reading regrets.

Well, you know those books that have been sitting on your shelf for months (who am I kidding) years and every time you look at them you feel a little jolt of guilt or lack of achievement, because, darn it all, you should have got round to them eons ago?

Well, I am trying to fix that this year.

Goals I achieved!

  • I finally read The Lord of the Rings trilogy!!! 

To be honest I felt like a bit of a fantasy-lover-fraud because I had not read these books and now I have. Yay! And while I didn't quite get the hype I did enjoy them.
My thoughts on these will be up in the next month or so.

  • I finished the 'A House for the Season' series!

So, there are 6, 200 page books in this series and I took them (along with another series) on holiday with me last year. Needless to say, they didn't get touched. Not through lack of trying, it was just the way things worked out. So with the family trip looming on the horizon once more I set myself the goal of getting these books (that had been sitting on my shelf and glowering at me since July last year) finished.
Woo hoo! I did it!

  • I finished the last three books in the 'A School for Manners' series!

This was the other series that went on holiday with me last year. And like above the three books I didn't get to read had been staring at me for a year.

And just like that there are THREE reading regrets all taken care of  and while there are more than a few left to vanquish, these are nothing to sniff at :)

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Wicked Godmother by M.C. Beaton

The Wicked Godmother (A House for the Season, #3)
Lovely but penniless Harriet Metcalf is aghast when a nobleman's will names her guardian of his snobbish twin daughters when they come out during the next London Season! But is innocent Harriet wily enough for the intrigues of the ton-or its two most eligible bachelors, the Marquess of Huntingdon and Lord Vere? Harriet sees them as suitors for the twins, while the gentlemen see only Harriet's charms. Soon she is falling in love with one of the dashing rakes... but a cruel betrayal will be her ruin unless the Clarges Street servants can save a lady's honor when she loses her heart.

Another year and another season for 67 Clarges Street.

The Lovers
Not my favourite so far.

Harriet (the heroine) was irritatingly naive in this book nearly o the point of me putting the book down. She made some of the silliest, unsafe decisions and was blind to the actions of others that should have been glaringly obvious. It really grated on my nerves after a while and then when she did finally find out the truth I felt a little cheated by the outcome.

The hero was a numpty at one point and very nearly crossed the line in his actions towards the heroine which sent my opinion of him plummeting.

As far as the supporting characters go I loved Harriet's spinster friend. She was lovely and only wanted the best for Harriet.

The Staff
The romance(ish) with Rainbird from book two continues (kind of) in this book. I just wanted that side of the story to be over. I didn't like a mopey Rainbird at all.

All in All
Not my favourite so far...

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