Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #10


Quite a lot happens in these three chapters.

It is revealed in chapter 30 just how much Esther has been missing out in her narrative. It seems that Mr Woodcourt (a young London Doctor) was calling at Mr Jarndyce’s house more than we were led to believe  - although this does help to make more sense of his parting words.

Mrs Woodcourt (his mother – not his wife, that would just add a whole new level of unnecessary drama to the mix if that was the case)) spends three weeks visiting Bleak House and seems to spend most of her time going on (and on…and on) about her ancestors and her sons blood lines (seriously it is like the poor guy is a horse) and all but sets up a neon sign announcing Esther’s unsuitability for her son. Mrs Woodcourt is sure to cover all of her bases by painting her son as a fickle flirt since he reached eighteen… You know, just in case he was at all attentive to Esther. Yes, she has a snobbish streak the size of the Thames this woman.

There was one little bit that might seem random, but I really liked it when Esther referred to Bleak House as ‘our house’. That just gave me a warm fuzzy feeling for some reason. Like Esther feels like she finally belongs somewhere.

Caddy gets married, Esther meets Jo and she and Charley fall ill.

And then there is Mr Omniscient who picks up with Mr Guppy and his pal who are trying to get their hands on some letters currently in the possession of Mr Krook.

Two word –


That’s right. Mr Dickens had Mr Krook blow up. Poof.

Now, you have to admit, THAT is random.

The built up to the discovery is a bit squirm inducing in retrospect. There is a heavy soot in the air and falling onto people clothes and a ‘stagnant sickening oil’ covering the windowsill and then My Guppy’s fingers when he taps the sill.

Yip, it is raining Mr Crook. If that isn’t a bit disturbing I don’t know what is…

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #9


OK. So. Big reveal in this segment. All suspicions/guess work/stabs in the dark about a certain heroine’s parentage have all been proved true or false by the end of this week’s reading.

This had me a bit tight chested (nothing at all to do with the chest infection I have working on me as I write this I assure you :)). The sheer isolation and grief experienced while not gone into with a great deal of detail was just so sad.

“Words, sobs and cries, are but air; and air is so shut in and shut out throughout the house in town, that sound needs to be uttered trumpet-tongued indeed by my Lady on her chamber, to carry any faint vibration to Sir Leicester’s ears, and yet this cry is in the house, going upward from a wild figure on its knees.
‘O my child, my child! Not dead in the first hours of her life as my cruel sister told me; but sternly nurtured by her after she had renounced me and my name! O my child, O my child!’”

In other points, My Tulkinghorn continues his investigation about the mysterious (not so anymore to us) handwriting. The guy is in serious need of a hobby. Or a girlfriend. I am sure that there is some lonely buxom landlady somewhere who is just waiting for her very own Mr T…sorry. Moving on.
So yeah, he is still on the scent of the mystery and draws poor Mr George in to things too.

Mrs Rouncewell’s son pays a visit to the Deadlock too. And yes, that goes as well as could be expected.

See you next week when we’ll be onto the 30s. 

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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #8


Nutty French maid makes an appearance in this section, showing up out of the blue and offering herself as Esther’s ‘domestic’. Needless to say, Esther sends her off as nicely as possible.

Everyone seems intent on throwing themselves at Esther and kissing her hands for one reason or another. It is like they set her up on a pedestal and see her as much higher than themselves within minutes of meeting her. I find it a little sad that the characters who hold her in high regard and love her are the ones who don’t know or don’t care about her past. The ones who do know all treat her badly, or less than them – mainly her aunt and the maid who worked for her aunt – and are the ones who in their own piety can’t see past her birth to the person that she is... All they are doing is showing up themselves and not Esther.

Oops sorry, this went on a little longer than expected.

Little Charley show up as a present for Esther from Mr Jarndyce. I really like Charley the more I see of her. She is such a strong, brave little girl and she is glowing with happiness now that she has a position and her siblings are being taken care of.

Mr Dickens waves his magic wand and brings more characters together by having Mr George involved in training Richard (don’t get me started on him!). And then Mr George recognizes something about our Esther and spends the whole visit stealing glances at her…

I wonder why that is? ;)

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #7

This section has some of the funniest, laugh out loud moments of the novel so far I think.

In chapter 21 the Smallweed family are introduced (and we meet little Charley – the debt collectors daughter – again too) and despite them having a bit of a dark nastiness to them I think Grandfather Smallweed is going to provide some laughs if he shows up again.

I suppose I shouldn’t be laughing as he is technically abusing his wife verbally (even if she is so far gone mentally that the only thing that seems to register with her are numbers because they could apply to money) and is always throwing cushions at her. Dickens presents this scene in such a way that it really is a comic moment.

‘Grandfather Smallweed immediately throws the cushion at her. ‘Drat you, be quiet!’ says the good old man.
The effect of this act of ejaculation is twofold. It not only doubles up Mrs Smallweed’s head against the side of her porter’s chair, and causes her to present, when extracted by her granddaughter, a highly unbecoming state of cap, but the necessary exertion recoils on Mr Smallweed himself, whom it throws back into his porter’s chair, like a broken puppet.’

This chapter is full of him randomly shooting the pillow at his wife like this and ending up worse than she.

Among the handful of new characters introduced in this chapter (you know, because there aren’t enough of them already) is Mr George. I like Mr George. He is a right gent, even if he is a little rough around the edges.

‘”Don’t scold the old lady so. Look at her here, with her poor cap half off her head, and her poor hair all in a muddle. Hold up, ma’am. That’s better. There we are!...”’

See, he sets poor Grandmother Smallweed’s cap to rights. That right there put him on my favourite characters list.

Chapters 23 to 25 next week, see you them. 

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #6

One of the things I love so far about this book is that it doesn't seem to matter how far removed characters are from one another something will happen for them to meet. And this is what happens in this section.

Two narratives clash in a way when Mr Jarndyce is visiting an old friend (Mr Boythorn) who is neighbours with Sir Leicester Dedlock. So finally Esther and company meet Lady Dedlock – on a side note they also meet her slightly nutty French maid.

Some things happen during this meeting and before it that start the gears whirling. Why does Esther feel like she is looking in a mirror when she sees Lady D in church? And why when Lady D speaks does Ada think it is Esther? It is at this point that I really wish I was coming to this book with no knowledge of the story.

I really like Mr Boythorn. He is a loud, blustery type but his heart is in the right place and he is a gentleman when it counts.

Other events

Mr Skimpole and Richard continue to get on my nerves. Mr Jarndyce and Esther have a chat about her past and Esther gets a bunch of flowers. 

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #5


Ooo chapter 15 made me so angry!

Mr Skimpole – a friend of Mr Jarndyce – is a scrounger. Well, maybe that is a little unfair. According to himself and everyone else he has a childlike understanding of worldly matters such as money etc. And because of this the debt collectors are always after him. At the beginning of the novel we met one of the men who had been sent to collect payment. Well, this gent is now dead and has left 3 children behind, with the eldest girl (thirteen) struggling to work and support them all.

What made me so angry is that Mr S who doesn’t work, doesn’t worry, pays for nothing and has a wife and children gets on quite well, buying what he wants and eating what he wants by being an unapologetic, unthankful sponger! I can’t even think of a word strong enough to describe my anger at this man!

Anyway, onto nicer things.

The depressed Miss Jellyby is back in the picture and feeling a lot happier as she is in love and getting her life together by breaking free of her mother.

In the meantime Jo the crossing sweeper is approached by a servant who wants to see all of the places to do with the death she saw in the paper.

But what kind of a servant has a hand covered in rings?

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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #4


Chapter 11 was quite educational as there is an inquest to read through. It is bits like this that remind me that although as I am reading it now it is an historical novel, at the time of publishing it was a contemporary piece so many readers may have known what Dickens was talking about from first-hand experience and any humour and fun-making would have been more immediate and tongue in cheek for the original readers.

Lady Dedlock continues to be bored and Sir Leicester agreeable, at least until Mr Tulkinghorn returns to Chesney Wold to complete the tale of the handwriting (you know, the stuff that made her ‘faint’) – she really breaks character by showing interest at this point.

“Sir Leicester is generally in a complacent state, and rarely bored. When he has nothing else to do, he can always contemplate his own greatness. It is a considerable advantage to a man, to have so inexhaustible a subject. After reading his letters, he leans back in his corner of the carriage, and generally reviews his importance to society.”

Back with Esther, Richard has decided that he wants to study medicine and so the gang go to call on Mr Badger and his wife (Mr Badger is a doctor). This couple has got to be the strangest couple I have read about so far. Mr Badger is Mrs Badger’s third husband (she married each of her husbands on the same day and at the same time – if this was another genre I would think it would make the great start for a horror/murder subplot) and she has the portraits of her first two husbands hanging in the house, almost as part of the family. Now, maybe that isn’t weird, but the way Mr B is always going on about his predecessors is. I can’t tell if he wants her to know that he knows she had a life before him and this is his way of telling her he doesn’t mind by constantly mentioning them or what. But the sheer number of times he brings them up is very strange.

And last but not least, Esther has landed herself a stalker.

See you for chapters 14, 15 and 16.

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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Hungry for Love by Barbara Cartland

(Image from

Araminta Sinclair is horrified when she learn her brother Sir Harry Sinclair has lost £600 gaming, to the Marquis of Wayne.
She offers to five up the small sum collected for her debut in London and then has an inspiration as to how they can obtain the rest. 
Her father, the previous Baronet, a gourmet and an epicure insisted on his daughter becoming an exceptionally fine cook. 
How Araminta enlists the help of General Sir Alexander Bracknell, one of Wellington's Commanders, how there is a bet that her cooking can rival that of Careme - the Prince Regent's Master Chef - and how her deception brings her heart-break and finally happiness is told in this dramatic 186th book by Barbara Cartland.

This has to be one of those books that even if it was stripped of all romance I would have still enjoyed it.

I really liked Araminta. She had a head on her shoulder and she used it. When her brother gets into debts (£600!) she immediately starts thinking of how to pay it and fix the situation.


She is going to cook her way to it!

Arrogant and distant the Marquis of Wayne has no qualms about taking money from young idiots who have nothing better to do than gamble away their fortunes. And then he make a bet that involves the Prince Regent’s cook and Araminta and his perception of life tips.

While not my favourite Barbara Cartland hero he isn’t my least favourite. He was a bit of an overbearing numpty but he comes through at the end.

The Romance
Hmmm…I found the romance lacking a wee bit. It was very much love at first sight and lacked a bit of development.

All in All
I really enjoyed the random cooking details about kitchens and ostrich brains (no ostriches were harmed in the reading of this book).

The occasional historical detail popped in too. 

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Saturday, 31 January 2015

January - Vintage Mystery Update

I shot through quite a few books that counted towards the Vintage Mystery Challenge this month.

Sorry they are all being bunged together in one post for the moment - for the first time in ages I am WAY ahead with my post scheduling *happy dance*. The reviews for these books will be posted in the coming months. :)

The Golden Score Card got 2 books marked of in the shape of James Bond novels. 

"Read one book by an author you've never read before" - Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

"Read one book set anywhere except the U.S. or England - Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming (parts are in the U.S. but a chunk is also set in Jamaica and the book comes to an end there)

The Silver Score Card got 6 books ticked of and this time it was all Agatha Christie.

"Read one book set anywhere except the U.S. or England" - A Caribbean Mystery

"Read one book with an animal in the title" - The Pale Horse

"Read one book with a man in the title" - Poirot's Early Cases

"Author whose first or last name begins with the same letter as yours" - The Clock

"Eat, drink and be merry : featuring food, drink or a party" - Hallowe'en Party

Read a book published under more than one title" - The Mirror Crack's from Side to Side


Happy Reading Everyone!

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #3


Mr Jarndyce is so cute. I really can’t think of another term to fit. He has a room that he calls the ‘Growlery’ which is where he goes when he is feeling…well…growly (I wish I had one of them) and if someone has put him in a bad mood, instead of naming the person and placing the blame specifically he talks about the wind being in the ‘east’. See? Cute.

Richard, sadly, is turning out to be a bit of a numpty in his view of things, especially in money matters. I think I am going to get fed up of him very quickly if he continues on in the way he is going.

Esther is settling in well to her position as ward/companion/housekeeper and receives and unexpected visit from Mr Guppy a lawyers clerk. I won’t spoil anything by saying why he is visiting but I will say that it seemed to come out of nowhere for me so I don’t know how poor Esther must have felt.

The harsher side of Victorian living is touched on in this section as Ada and Esther are taken to see a family of brick-makers. Two very real issues of the times, domestic abuse and infant death, are very much to the fore.

Mr Omniscient makes an appearance in chapter 10 and thanks to Mr Tulkinghorn – the Dedlock’s lawyer – some new characters are introduced to the mix. Yay, more people.

And finally there is a cliff-hanger. Until now I haven’t seen any of the endings as ‘on the edge of your seat’ material. But now we have a candle going out, a dark unfamiliar room and a body on a bed. Dun dun duuuuun.

“As he rattled on the door, the candle which had drooped so long, goes out, and leave him in the dark; with the gaunt eyes in the shutters staring down upon the bed.”  

Ooo draamaa!

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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Stacking the Shelves

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

ASDA is to blame for this purchase :)

As Wolf Hall has been turned into a tv series and I have my no-watch-if-I-haven't-read-it rule I jumped at the book when I saw it. 

And I am never one to say no to dragons :) And just look at the cover. It is so shiney and scaley.

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

How to Break a Dragon's Heart (How to Train Your Dragon Bk #8) by Cressida Cowell

How to Break a Dragon's Heart (How to Train Your Dragon, #8)
(books cover and synopsis from
Can Hiccup complete the Impossible Task, battle Berserks, save Fishlegs from being fed to the Beast AND discover the secret of the Lost Throne? What's a Hero to do?!

I have been saying from the beginning how these books always leave me with a kind of thoughtful sad pang. The different with this one is that it was like that from the beginning. 

Thumbs Up
We are given more insight into the Viking culture and how they go about things (e.g. if you want to live, don't fall in love). We also find out why Fishlegs would have been found adrift as sea and why Hiccup is call Hiccup (admit it, you have been desperate to know too). Several bits and pieces that were dropped in through the other books were also drawn together here. 

What I love is that although these books are written for pre-teens and up they are not dumbed down at all and are actually getting more serious as the series goes on. 

Dragons with eye beams! I don't know if this little fact has been in another book and just went over my head at the time but what a brilliant idea. They have head lights!

More insane 'hero types' are introduced and we get to see a whole new island. 

Thumbs Down
This whole book seemed to have a big fat cloud hanging over it. From the beginning there is this haunted feel to things. The first chapter is call 'The Lost Child' after all. 

Slight spoiler - Me reading the first few pages : What do you mean Camacazi is MISSING?

There was more than one point that I found down right unsettling and Alvin is back *groan*.

All in All
Although the black cloud hovered over this book the sun did break through to keep up the laughs. 

Favourite Quotes

"T-T-Toothless NOT go in your father's study...Toothless N-N-Not play with the funny magic stone. Toothless somewhere else at the time..."

Valhallarama of the White arms and Chunky Thighs

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #2



I have a confession to make.

I read ahead without realising it. The horror! The shame!

Excuse me while I go and stand in a corner for a while –

Ok, all done. But in my defence week one was 4 chapters long, which logically lead to me assuming week 2 would be chapter 5 through 8. Right! Right! Wrong my gems. As you would know if you read the intro post. Heck. I wrote it and I still got it wrong.

Moving On

Ok, onto the bleak goodness of chapters 5 to 7.

Quite a few things happen in these 3 chapters.

Esther, Ada and Richard travel to Bleak House and we meet the lovely Mr Jarndyce who is taking all of them in for one reason or another.

I want to focus on chapter 7 though.

This chapter is brilliant and Mr Omniscient takes us away from Bleak House and the gang and back to Chesney Wold. The first few paragraphs of this are hilarious as Mr O hops into the heads of the various animals and tells us what they may be thinking.

“The whole seemingly monotonous and uncompanionable half-dozen, stabled together, may pass the long wet hours, when the door is shut, in livelier communication than is held in the servants’ hall, or at the Dedlock Arms; - or may even beguile the time by improving (perhaps corrupting) the pony in the lose-box in the corner”

Just the idea of all these rowdy, worldly horses snickering and shouting ‘corrupting’ comments at the innocent sheltered pony in the corner had me giggling.

Then there is the turkey –

“The turkey in the poultry-yard, always troubled with a class-grievance (probably Christmas)”

The poor turkey needs to get in touch with his union rep I think.

We also meet Mrs Rouncewell the housekeeper of Chesney Wold who, like most housekeepers in the novels of the time, seems to have become an institution.

“She is a fine old lady, handsome, stately, wonderfully neat, and had such a back and such a stomacher, that if her stays should turn out when she dies to have been a broad old-fashioned family fire-grate, nobody who knows her would have cause to be surprised.”

On the darker side of things Mrs Rouncewell tells the story of the Ghost’s Walk of Chesney Wold and a dark moment in the Dedlock family’s history.

Could this be a portent of things to come?

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris

A Bone to Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Novel (Aurora Teagarden 2)
(Book cover and synopsis from
Aurora "Roe" Teagarden's fortunes change when a deceased acquaintance names her as heir to a rather substantial estate, including money, jewelry, and a house complete with a skull hidden in a window seat. Roe concludes that the elderly women has purposely left her a murder to solve. So she must identify the victim and figure out which one of her new, ordinary-seeming neighbors is a murderer- without putting herself in deadly danger.

So...2 books into the 3 books I have available of this series and I am still not sure if I like the heroine and that is making this post very hard to write.

Thumbs Up
The mystery!
One of the characters from the last book (a little old lady who I really liked) has died - from natural causes - and has left pretty much everything to Aurora. What I loved was that most of this book was spent wondering if this harmless little old lady had killed someone and kept their head as a memento.

Thumbs Down
I really don't understand a great deal of Aurora's actions in this and she seemed to go on with life a bit too easily and to almost forget about the skull she had found.

I don't know if it is the setting or what but some comments seem quite tasteless and slap me across the face when they suddenly come up.

All in All
This book was a bit of  miss for me. I could read the 'mystery' but I found it a bit dull and pointless at the end.

Onto book 3.

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Thursday, 15 January 2015

How to Ride a Dragon's Storm (How to Train Your Dragon Bk #7) by Cressida Cowell

How To Ride A Dragon's Storm (How to Train Your Dragon, #7)
(Book cover and synopsis from
Hiccup has three months, five days and six hours to discover America, get back to Berk, save his father, battle Polarserpents, and win the annual Inter-Tribal Friendly Swimming Race. Can he do it?

Hiccup, Camacazi and Fishlegs are taking part in the 'Inter-Tribal Friendly Swimming Race' obviously in full viking spirit the last one to return to the beach wins! Of course, someone cheats and the adventurous trio end up in trouble and on a ship bound for America because of it.

I love the three friends. At the beginning of the book they set of on the race to gears of the crowd because Fishlegs can't swim but they stick together and Camacazi and Hiccup don't leave him alone. In fact, they were willing to return to the beach and lose the race. 

More species of dragon are introduced as they sail to America also. 

And as always the epilogue from Hiccup is just as thoughtful and melancholy as the other books. 

This is a fun read and a brilliant addition to the series. It is different from the other books as this one is set - for the most part - on a boat (well...until it sinks).

Favourite Quotes ---

"Why are you shooting at me?" howled a sprinting Hiccup. "Haven't I got enough problems?"

"how can you make a fresh start in a New World when you are carrying with you on your boat all of the same problems, the same frustrations and inequalities of the Old World? Lets face it, any country ruled by Norbert called 'the Land of the Nutjobs' would have turned out to have the same problems as the Barbaric Archipelago quicker than you can say the words 'half crazed lunatic carrying a double-headed axe'"

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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Part #1



Charles Dickens is a funny guy. I have read other books by him and this is a re-read for Bleak House but I will honestly say that I have never caught onto his humour before like I have now. It is a dry, witty humour. The kind that had me laughing, stopping, and then wondering if I should be. Needless to say these moments of doubt ended with a shrug and a ‘Whatever, I thought it was funny!’ It is a sneaky sort of humour that just came up on me out of the London fog and pounced.

Another thing is the atmosphere. The fog, the mud, the smells, even down to the fog sneaking into the buildings was amazing.


Yeah, I suppose I had better mention some people.

We are introduced to the Chancery court and some of the people - both officials and those with cases – involved there in chapter 1.

Quite a bit of description is dedicated to Lady Dedlock when we meet her in chapter 2 and she struck me as being a bit of a snob and more than aware of her position and looks.

Chapter 3 and 4 are through Esther’s eyes and through her we meet a variety of other characters, most important of them being Ada and Richard who are wards in the Jarndyce and Jarndyce chancery case (a case that has been going on for years and gets nowhere).

There is also an unhinged (or is she?) old lady from court and the depressed Miss Jellyby whose mother neglects her and her other children in favour of her charitable works.

Esther struck me as being just a little too nice, humble and understanding of all things. I am really hoping that this won’t grate on me as the book goes on.

Just because I found her a little annoying doesn’t mean I didn’t feel angry on her behalf though. I got really agitated when reading over how she was treated as a child. She is given the idea that she is easily left and dismissible. It is because of this that she sets out to make herself caring and helpful in hopes of receiving some affection back. I feel really sad for her.

Questions brought up

Just who is the kind but elusive Mr Jarndyce?

Why was Esther’s aunt such a meanie? Seriously, Esther didn't even know they were related until the woman died!

Why did some handwriting cause the seemingly emotionless Lady Dedlock to become ‘faint’?

And most importantly…

Why is she so bored?

See you next week!

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
(Book cover and synopsis from


The dark, fearsome Ringwraiths are searching for a Hobbit. Frodo Baggins knows that they are seeking him and the Ring he bears—the Ring of Power that will enable evil Sauron to destroy all that is good in Middle-earth. Now it is up to Frodo and his faithful servant, Sam, with a small band of companions, to carry the Ring to the one place it can be destroyed: Mount Doom, in the very center of Sauron’s realm.

Thus begins J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings, which continues in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

"I tried to make a few notes, but we shall have to go over it all again together some time, if I am to write it up. There are whole chapters of stuff before ever you got here!"

That about sums up the first half of this books. I spent most of the book wanting to press the fast-forward button and rolling my eyes. I mean, hello! The overlord of all evil is after you, but I tell you what, lets hand around for a while (months!) before we leave, and lets not forget to get a cup of tea too...


The pages of songs and poems grated on me a bit too, although I do appreciate that some of them worked wonderfully as info-dumping sessions in disguise.  

So far I am failing to see the attraction of these book, but we'll see how it goes. 

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Monday, 12 January 2015

Bout of Books #12 Wrap-Up

Hi everyone!

So Bout of Books didn't go as well as I had hoped, but like I said it was during my first week back at work after a fortnights holiday. So all in all, not that bad really :)

I managed four audio books and 1 actually-turn-the-pages books.

Wanna know what they were?

Of course you do!

Audio - Twelfth Night
             The Tempest
             A Midsummer Night's Dream
             Bleak House (I finished the last few chapters of this not the whole thing)

All of the audio books were beautifully narrated. The Shakespeare plays had full casts and really brought them to life. I would highly recommend them if you want to give reading Shakespeare a bit of a jolt. I enjoyed a Midsummer Night's Dream a lot more than I was expecting to.

Not Audio - The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie.

Out of the Christie's that I have read so far this is not one of my favourites. Usually I zip through these but I think that it took be so long because I wasn't liking it.

I hope you all did well and achieved the personal goals you set :)

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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Stacking the Shelves

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

I am subscribed to the Agatha Christie Book Collection, these two books are the latest editions :)

The final Poirot and a collection of short stories.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby - Cover
(Book cover and synopsis from
Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the 'roaring twenties' and a devastating exposé of the shallowness of the 'Jazz Age'. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920's, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the dark mystery which surrounds him.

The Great Gatsby is an undisputed classic of American literature from the period following the First World War, and is one of the great novels of the twentieth century.

First Thoughts
Yay! *happy dance* I’ve finally read it. GO ME!

Second Thoughts
Well, there’s four hours of my life I’m never going to get back.

I just couldn’t  I did.

Ah. I can’t get my thoughts out properly.

OK. Here goes.

The majo 

Nope, not happening.

Right, what I will say is that I did give this book three stars so obviously I didn’t completely hate it.

I really didn’t like most of the characters – the most useless bunch of space wasters (in my humble opinion) I have ever read about. But it did seem to go by quickly despite this and I did like how all the little pieces came together to end in various tragedies.  

Right, I am leaving it there. I can feel the ‘ifs-buts-you-know-what-I-mean’s bubbling.

All in All

I am glad I have finally read this classic. I don’t really know what I was expecting,  but I am pretty sure that what I got wasn’t it and I am still trying to figure out if that was a good thing or not. 

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Bleak House by Charles Dickens Intro

I have wanted to read Charles Dickens, as his novels were originally published in serial form, for some time. But, with one thing and another it has taken me this long to get round to it.

I thought I would start with Bleak House which is one of his books that I have read – even if it was about ten years ago…wow I didn't realise it had been that long till I thought about it.

Some Bleak House Facts!

So, Bleak House was published in 19 monthly segments between March 1852 and September 1853.

I am not going to be exact and wait a month between reads. After all, I have the whole book sitting here and have nowhere near the self-control and patience needed to hold back, or spend over a year reading the same book.

Ain’t gonna happen!

To start things of it is going to be weekly and I’ll go from there.
I’ll read it as the poor folks back in 1852 would have been able to. Stop. And then, review.

This is going to be great fun.

See you next week!

PS – Here are the original posting dates for Bleak House if you would like to follow along.

1 - Chapter 1-4 – March 1852
2 - Chapter 5-7 – April 1852
3 - Chapter 8-10 – May 1852
4 - Chapter 11-13 – June 1852    
5 - Chapter 14-16 – July 1852
6 - Chapter 17-19 – August 1852
7 - Chapter 20-22 – September 1852
8 - Chapter 23-25 – October 1852
9 - Chapter 26-29 – November 1852
10 - Chapter 30-32 – December 1852
11 - Chapter 33-35 – January 1853
12 - Chapter 36-38 – February 1853
13 - Chapter 39-42 – March 1853
14 - Chapter 43-46 – April 1853
15 - Chapter 47-49 – May 1853
16 - Chapter 50-53 – June 1853
17 - Chapter 54-56 – July 1853
18 - Chapter 57-59 – August 1853
19 - Chapter 60-67 - September 1853 (The final instalment was a double issue)

I don’t want to give everything away but with the way I’ll be posting SPOILERS will be inevitable. I won’t be covering every plot point and sneeze but I will be mentioning things that jump out at me.

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden #1) by Charlaine Harris

Real Murders is a crime club. A great opportunity for the people of Lawrenceton to get together, drink wine, eat chocolate and talk at length about grisly killings. It's a strange but harmless pastime. That is, until the murders begin...
One night, librarian Aurora 'Roe' Teagarden finds a dead body. Killed in a manner eerily similar to a famous case they were about to discuss. And as more brutal copycat crimes follow, Roe must find the perpetrator. Quickly. Before she becomes the next suspect...or the next victim. 

A librarian solving mysteries. Talk about a dream come true.

Thumbs Up!
 The idea of this book is brilliant and hit all the marks for me. A book dedicated to real crimes (1), with a librarian (2). And then the bodies start to pile up (3,4 etc).

The flow of this book was great. There were moments of down time when the action was dimmed a bit but I ddidn'tfeel like I had to rush through these bits to get back to the who-dun-it. Then there are the deaths. Although it is obvious from what is mentioned that the murders are pretty gory they aren't gone into with a great deal of detail. I liked that. There were also plenty of supporting characters to shed suspicion on… A whole book club worth.

Thumbs Down!
 I am not sure how I feel about the heroine yet. The novel is told in first person but everything she tells us or thinks seems to be surface stuff with no depth. There was a romantic sub-plot of will she chose the policeman or the author which I could have happily left.

All in All!
This was an enjoyable mystery. I really hope I can get to like Aurora more in the next few books.

Ps. (not to brag or anything) I totally guessed who did it!

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Monday, 5 January 2015

My Reading Goals for 2015

I always tell myself that I’m not going to set myself goals as they inevitability fall through but as last year sis go pretty well I figured I might as well put some thought into it.

Last Year!
I set myself the goal on Goodreads of 75 books. Which I achieved. Yay! Gold star for me.
I completed one and a bit bingo cards for the Book Bingo Challenge.

I also finally crossed off some long standing goals I have had for quite some time. The Great Gatsby for one thing. I feel so proud *beam* that I have finally read this as it is one of those books that always crops up on lists and on the podcasts that I listen to. So yeah…HAPPY!

But never mind last year.

2015 Goals!
Ignoring the challenges *gulp* I decided to sign up for this year I woule like to read some more Charles Dickens than I have done so far… This might be a wee bit of cheat to put this in hear as I do have some Charles Dickens (well, Bleak House) goodness scheduled, but never mind. Eventually I would like to be able to say that I have read them all :).

And now to the challenges.

Outlander Series – I want to read all of this series this year. I have read the first book several times but I want to get all of the others under my belt.

Vintage Mystery Bingo Gold & Silver – there are 36 book spots in each of these challenges. I have a huge Agatha Christie collection so where I can a Christie book will be getting slotted into a spot for this challenge.

Colour Coded Challenge – there is no genre for this challenge so I might make it for…*think think think* YA? Hmmm…I don’t know, I’ll have to think on that one. Anyway, there are 9 places for books in that challenge.

Victorian Reading Challenge – this one is really to tie in with my Charles Dickens reading goal and also to get me away from Dickens and onto some other authors. It is also going to give me the opportunity to revisit some of my favourite authors so that is always nice. :)

Audiobook Challenge – the nice thing about this challenge is that it won’t take an awful lot of effort (thank fully) because of my work I listen to quite a lot of books :)

Read! Read! Read!
There is no getting away from it. I have LOTS of books, LOADS of books that I haven’t read. I am not going to give a number (that would be way to depressing, believe me) but I am going to put in more of an effort to read the books I already have and think more before I buy new one. I’ll keep a score of the number of books I get read from my shelves as of today (5th January) so stay tuned for the final number.

Happy Reading and all the best with any goals you have set yourself for the coming year!

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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Stacking the Shelves

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

Only Charles Dickens this week :)

David Copperfield
A Take of Two Cities
Hard Times
Great Expectations
Barnaby Rudge
Nicholas Nickleby

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