Summer Reading Goals

Happy Saturday Bibliofriends,

It has been such a wonderful morning so far. (Non-bookish related) but I have a few shares in some racehorses at a local stable yard and today was the first time since lockdown has been lifted that I’ve been able to go down to the gallops and spend some proper time with the horses and the family that run the yard. It was a ridiculously early start to be down there for 7am but it was all worth it. Afterwards I got to see some of the baby foals at another owner’s nearby stud so it’s been a truly wonderful start to the weekend filled with lots of horse-love! 😍

The Summer holidays are only a week away and I’m already beginning to think about all of the different reading goals I want to try and accomplish during the break.
[All title links go to Goodreads, synopses also from Goodreads.]


ARCs and Author Requests

I have three ARCs from NetGalley to read:

  • Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard – Release date: 18th August 202048574106._SY475_ 

    Synopsis: Once upon a time, there was something called the sun…In a kingdom ruled by an evil witch, the sun is just part of a legend about light-filled days of old. Luckily for everybody in the kingdom, Siria Nightingale is headed to the heart of the darkness to try and restore the light–or she will lose everything trying.
    Sixteen year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun. The light is dangerous, according to Queen Iyzabel, an evil witch who has shrouded the kingdom in shadow.
    Siria has always hated the darkness and revels in the stories of the light-filled old days that she hears from her best friend and his grandfather. Besides them, nobody else understands her fascination with the sun, especially not her strict and demanding parents. Siria’s need to please them is greater even than her fear of the dark. So she heads to the royal city–the very center of the darkness–for a chance at a place in Queen Iyzabel’s court.
    But what Siria discovers at the Choosing Ball sends her on a quest toward the last vestiges of the sun with a ragtag group of rebels who could help her bring back the Light … or doom the kingdom to shadow forever.

  • Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairytale by Andrea Blythe – Release date: 7th September 2020
    Synopsis: Twelve is a poetic retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Bewitching and beguiling, this short series of linked poems takes the reader to the underground realm and back, following the stories of twelve princesses and their life after the magic shoes.
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – Release date: 15th October 202049504061._SY475_

    Synopsis: In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
    But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
    There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Author Requests

I’m currently reading a lovely little fantasy book called Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster.

Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.9781925652246-Cover.indd
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
Winner of a Purple Dragonfly Book Award for best fantasy.

Next up I have a NA Dark Fantasy called The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice by E.S. Barrison

Synopsis: Storytelling was outlawed. Magic had all but vanished.
That all changed when the woman in black came to town.
Branded with the black stamp at a young age, Brent thought he would end up a vagrant like his father. His craft was telling stories, but the Order had long forbidden any weaving of tales. When Brent sees the woman in black, she leads him into a menagerie of tunnels beneath the earth where his life falls into the nauseating, but beautiful, mist of the dead.
He finds friendship in Rho, a young woman who hides her face with a tree branch while roots and vines bow to her every whim. Together, they embark on a journey to explore the world, escape the watchful eyes of the Order, and discover the woman in black’s secrets.
For thousands of years, the mist and the tunnels were under the sole guardianship of the Council of Mist Keepers. But as new monsters enter the mist, and magic is forced out of the shadows, the Council searches for young blood to join their ranks and Brent’s next in line.

I’d also like to explore the sequel to A Touch of Death, A History of Madness in The Outlands Pentalogy which I started earlier this year for author Rebecca Crunden. You can read my spoiler-free review of the first book in the series here!

Carlos Ruiz Zafón Readathon

9529So this is not an ‘official readathon’ thing, but after being heartbroken at hearing of Zafón’s death last month I decided it was time to revisit and reread all of his books, in particular the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. Zafón is one of my all-time favourite writers and I would auto-buy all of his books without even reading the blurb. I’m hoping to go right back to The Shadow of the Wind and finish with the last book he wrote The Labyrinth of the Spirits (which I have yet to read so it will still be a surprise!).

Not forgetting the actual TBR pile…

With an influx of Fairloot boxes due to the Corona backlog and my birthday book haul from May, I have a stack of books and series which I was hoping to start or finish! reading. Some of these include:

  • All the Wandering Light by Heather Fawcett
  • Given to the Earth by Mindy McGinnis
  • Rage by Cora Carmack
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
  • Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
  • + the two books in Fairyloot’s June box which arrived on Thursday evening (no spoilers for those who haven’t received their box yet!)

There’s always plenty to read as they say…
I know that I’m going to be nowhere near achieving all of these! I’m such a mood reader at the best and worst of times so I’ll probably float through the various challenges I’ve set for myself or even invent something new should I get stuck in a slump… especially as we are nearing the final stage of our house renovations before (FINALLY) moving – and all of the school work, recovery curriculums and new risk assessments which will need doing before all of the kids return in September. It’s going to be a pretty busy summer!

What are your summer reading goals? Do you have a set TBR list of are you more of a mood reader? What three books are you looking forward to reading next from your TBR? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

Have a lovely rest of the weekend everyone!

T xx

September Review / October TBR

Hey Bibliofriends,

A brand new month is upon us…well it will be tomorrow.

What I’m Reading

I’m still currently reading ‘Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix‘ which I started earlier this month but have now also begun ‘These Wicked Waves‘ by Emily Layne which is an e-arc from Netgalley due to be released on October 22nd. What will really kickstart my reading again is when my copy of ‘Into the Crooked Kingdom‘ by Alexandra Christo arrives in the post. I won a copy of it from Readers First which is a website I’d recommend to any book lover. You can get a first look at selected upcoming releases and if you write a brief review you get entered into a prize draw to win the book. I have previously won copies of ‘Wicked King’ and Alexandra’s first novel ‘To Kill a Kingdom’ from them – to be honest, the three book draws I’ve entered have all been successful. There aren’t a huge amount of YA/Fantasy novels that come through but it’s a great way to win a book!

October TBR

To be honest, with the current state of my reading, my October TBR will probably consist of the three books I’ve mentioned in the above paragraph. With half term towards the end of October, I’m hopeful to start ticking a few more off my list. You can read about what those books are in my previous TTT post here.

Films I’ve Seen in September

  • IT: Chapter Two – based on the Stephen King novel this thriller didn’t scare me as much as the first instalment of this movie reboot. Don’t get me wrong, the clown is still super sinister, but there’s just something about blowing it up to Godzilla size that just took the scariness away.
  • Downton Abbey – As if I haven’t talked about it enough already I loved seeing the Downton Abbey film this month. I’m normally hit and miss with period dramas, I either love them or hate them but this was definitely a LOVE. I’ve even completed my TV series DVD collection this month just so I can watch all of the episodes all over again!
  • Ready or Not – This movie was like a horror version of Downton. Young bride gets initiated into a rich board-game family by being made to play a game of hide and seek…only problem is, if the family find you, they have to kill you due to some devil pact that an ancestor made. It has some pretty strong gore and violence but I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and it was worth a watch.
  • The Goldfinch – I read this Pulitzer Prize winning novel as part of the Between Two Books Book Club which is a book club created by Florence + the Machine Fans. It really captivated me so I was thrilled when the movie was announced. I love the way the painting runs throughout the main character (Theo’s) narrative and the film was a wonderful way to remind me how much I loved this book.

(A few of the) Things I’m Looking Forward to in October

  • Cheltenham Literature Festival – October is one of my favourite months for the very reason that this Literary Circus rolls into town! Honestly, the line-up doesn’t seem as great to me as previous years however I’m immensely looking forward to it.
  • Rugby World Cup – The RWC continues throughout October. The only downside to it being in Japan is the time difference and being able to watch the matches, however the contest has already been so thrilling that I’m really looking forward to see how the teams end up after the pool stages. Any fellow bookish rugby fans amongst us?
  • The Cheltenham Races Showcase – Jumps season kicks off again towards the end of October and I can not wait!
  • My childhood friend gets married! – This will be my fourth wedding of the year to attend and I am so excited. Hannah is one of my friends from primary school so it will be so wonderful to see her walk down the aisle.
  • Half-Term! – I’m still really enjoying my new job, but any chance to get a holiday and get the chance to breath is always welcome.

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? What has been your favourite September read? What are you most excited about for October both bookish and non-bookish?

As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

March Wrap Up

I can not believe ¼ of 2019 has gone already! I am so pleased that the sun is shining more and we are getting into warmer weather. We have so many blossom trees where we live and it’s beautiful when they all come out.

In terms of my Biblioshelf life I am so happy with how March has gone!

Positive things that have happened:

  • Managing to vaguely keep up with the Blog and Bookstagram (at least as much as I could)
  • New Blog and Bookstagram followers (💜 thank you all!!!)
  • My best month yet for reading (even though I’m still “2 behind schedule” according to Goodreads). I’m up to 10 out of 50 and half of those have been March reads.

Books I’ve read:

  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – In my bid to try and finish off some of the book series I was part-way through, I finally got around to ticking this off. What a stunning duology. I really enjoyed it. You can read my spoiler-ridden Biblioshelf Musings about it here.
  • Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett – I was way behind with reading my Fairyloot books from last year’s boxes so many of them are forming as my immediate TBR list to try and catch up. Onyx and Ivory was fab for getting me back into the fantasy genre and I really enjoyed reading it. I added the second novel Shadow and Flame onto my TBR straightaway.
  • The Duke, the Autobiography of David Nicholson – The Duke is one of our local heroes when it comes to horse-racing. He trained his horses in a village not far away from where I live and the trainer and his wife who run the Racing Club I am a part of both used to work for him as well. March was the perfect time to finish this book, which I’d started and then put down last year, as the Cheltenham Festival takes over the whole area where I live so there was a real buzz in the air. It offered a great insight and history into the sport and it was quite strange to read about people who I have met and even know in real-life.
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – I tried to read this in order to take part in the Fairyloot readalong as this was their February book, however my work schedule didn’t really give me that much time to read it during that week. I have now finished it and love it. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales and this retelling offered a fresh spin of such a traditional story. Biblioshelf Musings are yet to come…
  • The Time Machine by H.G Wells (Audiobook read by Kelsey Grammer) – As I have said previously in my Top Ten Tuesday post Audio Freebie, I’m not that keen on audiobooks. I think the price is something of an issue, plus I like to have a physical book in my hands to get lost in. This audiobook was free on iTunes so I immediately downloaded it. It’s quite a classic must-read novel for any fans of Science Fiction. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. Grammer’s narration really suited the character of the time-traveller, almost as if he was the time-traveller himself. The story was just short enough and suspenseful enough to keep me tuned it. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has this on their TBR.

Other hobbies in my life include going to the cinema. I am a co-organiser of a film club and we often see 2-3 films a week at our local cinema. Like with all things, I’ve missed a few of our film events due to doing other things but here are three of my top March film releases:

  • Fisherman’s Friends (12a) – I absolutely loved this! As I split my time between the Cotswolds and Cornwall it made me really nostalgic to go back to my little house by the sea! Stunning scenery and location aside, this film was heart-warming, funny and poignant in all the right doses. The only thing that disappointed me was that the tale of the ‘music manager falling in love with the village girl and buying the pub to save the day’ was purely fictitious! Anyway a fantastic film nevertheless; if anyone wants to join in a sea-shanty sing-a-long one Friday night down in Port Isaac then count me in!
  • Us (15) – This is probably going to be one of my Top Ten Films of 2019! It had scary bits, humour, mickey-taking, horror, doppelgangers, audacity, fairgrounds, violence, story-telling, mythology and pure, downright weirdness in buckets (or boat-loads 😉)! There are so many layers to this plot that keep you guessing right the way to the very end. Just when you think you’ve worked it all out, something else happens to make you think something completely different. It’s one of those films that you watch again and again and discover something new every time. I won’t spoil it for anyone who is going to see it but if dark, twisty, multi-layered psychological thrillers are your thing, then this is your must-see film of the year!
  • Fighting With My Family (12a) – Any film with The Rock in is immediately added to my cinema list. What I enjoyed about this film was how accurately it portrayed the real-life family which this film is based on. It represented a part of our society that does not get a lot of air-time (if only for the wrong reasons) and showed the hardships that they go through, the struggles they face just to make their way in the world and find a space for themselves. I honestly didn’t feel that this film would be my type of thing. I’m not a wrestling fan at all but that really didn’t matter – the key meaning to take away is about the sense of community and the dreams people can achieve if they all pull together. It’s a message of positivity in what can sometimes feel like a very negative world.

Other life stuff:

  • My friend got married – She had one of the most gorgeous wedding cakes I have ever seen! As a massive fan of the film Labyrinth, her three tier cake was themed around the film. The characters were made of fondant icing and there was even a dancing Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie at the top from the ball scene. It was almost too good-looking to eat but it tasted so delicious. We are massive fans of Gloucester Rugby and always go to their matches. We call ourselves the “Shed Family” after the area of the ground we stand in and in true Glaws Family style, we all piled into the bar to watch the Gloucester match that was taking place that evening – a true rugby wedding!
  • Cheltenham Races – I’ve already talked about this above and in a previous post but Race Week is always a highlight of March. Along with the Six Nations Championship the month is great for sports fans like me!
  • George Ezra – To be honest, if it wasn’t for my friend I don’t think I would have gone to see him live in concert but I am so glad I did! I have his album Staying at Tamara’s which is on constant repeat in my car at the moment and this sunny weather is perfect for blasting out Paradise and singing along at the top of my voice! He is even better live and the anecdotes he told throughout his set were funny too. He was supported by Sigrid who brought her catchy, bouncy pop songs to warm the crowd up. Before George came on they played Don’t Look Back in Anger into the auditorium and there is nothing like a classic Oasis song to get 15,500 people to burst into the biggest round of karaoke ever – fabulous! A brilliant evening and I’d love to see him again.

Tonight I am off out with friends to celebrate their birthdays. We are eating at The Botanist which is new in town so I’m really looking forward to trying it out. I’ve heard lots of great things about it. The restaurant looks so pretty and I bet they have an exceptional Gin/Cocktails list. Afterwards we are going to Mr. Mulligan’s Crazy Golf which I am extremely looking forward to!!!

I want to leave you with a quote from V.E. Schwab which I read from her Instagram post on 8thMarch. It was one of those motivational things you read which seems to come along at the exact time when you need it. I read it after getting some disappointing news and it really helped me to hold things together and get through the remainder of the day. I’ve referenced to it as well in my Six for Sunday post which comes up tomorrow. I’ve written it down; I read it often; it gives me the motivation to carry on doing my own thing, on my terms in my own way. I may not read as many books as everyone else; I may not post stuff on a regular basis; I may not have a viewpoint or an opinion that is groundbreakingly different or that people are even interested in; but this is my little corner of the big wide blogosphere and I am learning to stop putting myself under so much pressure to meet deadlines for this or fit into a mould for that and to just be happy and at peace with my extremely blessed life!

‘Show up. Put in the work. Let go of the outcome. The list of things out of your control is too long. Success is not guaranteed, and sometimes you can do everything right and still miss the mark. Because the mark is arbitrary, and always changing. The only thing you can do is tell your story.’

Gold star to you, reader if you made it through my March ramble! Have a super weekend and enjoy whatever is you’re up to!

T xx

 

Six for Sunday & Life Updates

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!

Six For Sunday

 I see the Six for Sunday tag in a lot of places and was keen to try and give it a go. For those that don’t already know, Six for Sunday is a weekly meme created by Steph @ A Little But A Lot and has a different weekly prompt based on a monthly theme.

March’s theme is ‘An Ode To…’ and this week’s prompt is ‘Bookish Couples’. As almost every story I read seems to contain a couple of some sort it wasn’t very hard to think of at least six which could be included here. I picked couples that the author made me buy into and really gave me those bookish feels as opposed to the ones whom I wasn’t 100% invested in (Ron and Hermione, I’m talking to you!).

  • Feyre and Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses Series – Sarah J Maas)

Everytime someone says ‘bookish couple’ I automatically think of these guys! ACOTAR reignited my love for reading and their ship gives me all the feels!

  • Arwen and Aragorn (Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien)

This was the first bookish couple I fell head over heels in love with. It was probably helped by the fact that Aragorn was played by Viggo Mortenson in the film series but this pair was a dead cert for S4S this week.

  • Jude and Cardan (The Folk of the Air Series – Holly Black)

This book series is my new obsession. Despite the ending of The Wicked King [no spoilers, don’t worry]…I am still Team Judan! Roll on Queen of Nothing!

  • Magnus Bane and Alec (Shadowhunters – Cassandra Clare)

For me, Magnus Bane is the coolest character BY FAR in The Mortal Instruments Series. I just loved the way his relationship with Alec unfolded and the journey they went on through the books (honestly…I think I’m just a little jealous).

  • Lou Clark and Will Traynor (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes)

I don’t even know where to begin describing this couple…or this book. I loved it, even though it made me bawl my eyes out! A tragic but lovely story.

  • Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy (Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen)

Surely there can be no list of bookish couples without a nod to the ultimate classical pairing! I find it amazing how these stories and the relationships within them still seem to have relevant meanings and messages today.

Who would make your list? Drop me a comment an let me know!

Reading Updates

Next week, the Fairyloot readalong for A Curse So Dark and Lonely begins so I’m hoping to clear my currently reading shelf in preparation for that!

Earlier in the week, I finished Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett. I really enjoyed it and was surprised at how invested I became in the characters. Kate and Corwin very nearly made my list of Bookish Couples above but in the end I settled on the others.

I’m also trying to finish my other read which is the autobiography of David ‘The Duke’ Nicholson who was a famous local horse-racing trainer. I’ve had it on hiatus for a while so I could catch up with some other reads but it’s been hovering on my currently reading list for a little too long now therefore I’m trying to power through it.

Life update:

What a week this has been! Work has been super busy, and at times pure evil; not the kids, they were delightful as always. It’s just all of the extra add-ons that come with being a teacher, sometimes they get on top of you and this week was one of those weeks! We have Parents’ Evenings next week so I’m not sure there will be any let up on that front yet either!

The Cheltenham Festival arrived and it always seems to take over life (and the area where I live) for the entire week. There were four tremendous days of horse-racing filled with some true fairytale stories and heart-warming moments particularly for Andrew Gemmell, a man blind from birth who’s horse Paisley Park won one of the feature races; Willie Mullins finally won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his 7thattempt; Bryony Frost (& Frodon) became the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 race at the Cheltenham Festival, such an amazing testament to women competing in the sport. It’s almost sad to think it’s over again for another year.

Yesterday was the final of the Six Nations Championship. Super Saturday definitely lived up to its namesake with Wales winning the Grandslam of the Rugby tournament. As an England fan I’m obviously gutted that we didn’t top the table, and slightly baffled as to what happened in the second half of our match against Scotland; however, I’m sure that we’re now all looking forward to the Rugby World Cup which starts in September later this year.

The cobwebs were well and truly blown away yesterday morning as I was able to fit in a visit to the stable yard where I am a part of their Racing Club (horse-therapy 💖!). It was so windy on the gallops that I could barely open the door of the car and then we kept getting buffeted by the rain. I honestly had to plant my feet firmly in the ground to stop the wind from knocking me over – and I’m not that light! 😂 To top it all off, I finally managed to shift into productivity gear and caught up a little bit with my blog posts too!

What have you all been up to this week? I hope you’ve got some exciting plans either in the book-world or the real-world for the week ahead!

T xx