Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

I have a lot more than ten books on my TBR for this spring, but for the purpose of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday – hosted by The Broke and the Bookish – I’ve put a list together of ten that I’m particularly hoping to read in the next few months.


The remaining books on my Classics Club list:

1. The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

2. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

3. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (re-read)

4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (re-read)


A few from my NetGalley shelf:

5. The Shadow Queen by Anne O’Brien

6. The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

7. The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull


Because I’ve just finished the first book in the series (Wintercombe) and can’t wait to read the next:

8. Herald of Joy by Pamela Belle


For Lory’s Elizabeth Goudge Day in April (my choice of book could change, but I definitely want to take part):

9. Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge


Because I always look forward to new books from this author:

10. Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton


Have you read any of these? Which books are on your spring TBR this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten authors new to me in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016. I’ve discovered lots of new authors this year, so I thought it would be interesting to join in this week and list some of them. Here, then, are ten books by authors I’ve read for the first time in 2016:


1. Jane Smiley

Some Luck

Some Luck is the first in a trilogy following one American family over a period of one hundred years. I read this book in February and have the second one, Early Warning, on my shelf ready to start soon. I’m hoping I haven’t left it too long and will be able to pick up all the threads of the story again.


2. George Sand


I read Mauprat in April for the Women’s Classic Literature Event and really enjoyed it – I remember being surprised as it wasn’t quite what I had expected Sand’s work to be like. I will be reading more!


3. Jules Verne

Around the World in 80 Days

I had never read anything by Jules Verne until this year, but I found Around the World in Eighty Days a fun, entertaining read and am now keeping Verne in mind for future reading.


4. Rosemary Sutcliff

The Rider of the White Horse

I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get around to reading Rosemary Sutcliff! The Rider of the White Horse wasn’t the book I was intending to start with, but I liked it enough to want to read more.


5. Charlotte M Yonge

The Heir of Redclyffe

I love Victorian novels and The Heir of Redclyffe was a book I had been meaning to read for a long time. It didn’t become an instant favourite, but I did like it and will consider reading more books by Yonge in the future.


6. Patrick Gale

A Place Called Winter

I probably wouldn’t have read A Place Called Winter if it hadn’t been on the list for my Walter Scott Prize Project, but I’m so pleased I did read it, because I loved it. Patrick Gale’s other books sound quite different from this one, but I’m still interested in trying them.


7. Debra Daley

The Revelations of Carey Ravine

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing The Revelations of Carey Ravine for Shiny New Books earlier this year. I loved it and am looking forward to going back and reading Debra Daley’s earlier novel, Turning the Stones.


8. Lesley Downer


The Shogun’s Queen is one of a quartet of novels set in 19th century Japan. I found it fascinating and am sure I’ll be reading the other three at some point.


9. Edmund Crispin


The Moving Toyshop was another book I’d been meaning to read for years – and another one that I loved. This is one of Crispin’s Gervase Fen mysteries and luckily there are ten more books in the series for me to look forward to.


10. Ray Bradbury


I read Something Wicked This Way Comes for a readalong hosted by Lory. Although I wasn’t sure if Ray Bradbury would be my sort of author, I enjoyed this one much more than I’d expected to and would be happy to read more of his books.


So, these are ten authors who were new to me in 2016. Are they new to you too or have I listed any of your favourites? Which of their books would you recommend I try next?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books I’ve added to my TBR list lately

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is Ten Books I’ve Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately. This seemed like a good one to participate in, as it gives me a chance to highlight some of the books I’ve acquired recently but don’t know when I’ll get round to reading.

All blurbs are taken from Goodreads.


1. Sandokan: The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari

I hadn’t heard of this book but was tempted when I was offered a review copy as it’s a classic Italian adventure novel, first published in 1900.

sandokan “Malaysia, 1849. The Tigers of Mompracem are a band of rebel pirates fighting for the defense of tiny native kingdoms against the colonial powers of the Dutch and British empires. They are led by Sandokan, the indomitable “Tiger of Malaysia”, and his loyal friend Yanez De Gomera, a Portuguese wanderer and adventurer. Orphaned when the British murdered his family and stole his throne, Sandokan has been mercilessly leading his men in vengeance. But when the pirate learns of the extraordinary “Pearl of Labuan” his fortunes begin to change…”


2. The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

I’ve never read anything by this author but I spotted this book on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting.

the-phantom-tree “Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait – supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better… The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child.

The painting is more than just a beautiful object for Alison – it holds the key to a past life, the unlocking of the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance, and the enigma of Alison’s son. But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbours secrets in its shadows…”


3. The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

Another one from NetGalley. A few weeks ago I was looking for recommendations of historical novels about witches, so this is quite appropriate!

the-witchfinders-sister “1645. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she has no choice but to return to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witches, and of a great book, in which her brother is gathering women’s names. To what lengths will her brother’s obsession drive him? And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?”


4. The Lives of Tudor Women by Elizabeth Norton

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction books but I think I might find this one interesting.

the-lives-of-tudor-women “The turbulent Tudor age never fails to capture the imagination. But what was it actually like to be a woman during this period? This was a time when death in infancy or during childbirth was rife; when marriage was usually a legal contract, not a matter for love, and the education of women was minimal at best. Yet the Tudor century was also dominated by powerful and characterful women in a way that no era had been before.

Elizabeth Norton explores the seven ages of the Tudor woman, from childhood to old age, through the diverging examples of women such as Elizabeth Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister who died in infancy; Cecily Burbage, Elizabeth’s wet nurse; Mary Howard, widowed but influential at court; Elizabeth Boleyn, mother of a controversial queen; and Elizabeth Barton, a peasant girl who would be lauded as a prophetess.”


5. The Printer’s Coffin by M.J. Carter

I’ve just finished reading the first book in this series and enjoyed it so much I couldn’t wait to order the second one! This was originally published as The Infidel Stain.

the-printers-coffin “It’s 1841, and three years after we left them at the close of The Strangler Vine, Blake and Avery are reunited in very different circumstances in London.

There has been a series of dreadful murders in the slums of the printing district, which the police mysteriously refuse to investigate, and Blake and Avery must find the culprit before he kills again.”


6. Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Scott and I liked the sound of this one.

redgauntlet “Arguably Scott’s finest novel, and the last of his major Scottish novels, Redgauntlet centers around a third, fictitious, Jacobite rebellion set in the summer of 1765. The novel’s hero, young Darsie Latimer, is kidnapped by Edward Hugh Redgauntlet, a fanatical supporter of the Stewart cause, and finds himself caught up in the plot to install the exiled Bonnie Prince Charlie on the British throne.

First published in 1824, this is perhaps Scott’s most complex statement about the relation between history and fiction.”


7. Oswiu: King of Kings by Edoardo Albert

I enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, so I’m looking forward to reading the third.

oswiu “In the third entry chronicling the rise of Christian kings in Britain, Oswald dies and the great pagan king Penda becomes overlord in his place. To stand against the increasingly powerful Penda, Oswiu, king of Bernicia, tries to unite the smaller neighboring kingdoms by marrying a daughter of Deira. But the struggle for power leads Oswiu to order the assassination of the king of Deira. He wins the throne but loses the approval of the people. In atonement, he establishes a monastery at the site of the slaying. What will happen when Oswiu and High King Penda at last meet in battle? Though the kingdom may become politically one, both the Celtic and Roman strands of Christian faith vie for supremacy, mirroring the king’s own struggle for power.”


8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I’m curious about this book as I’ve been hearing a lot about it recently.

a-gentleman-in-moscow “On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely.

While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.”


9. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This appeals to me as I love books based on fairy tales. The cover is beautiful too.

the-bear-and-the-nightingale “A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, wilful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.”


10. The Norman Pretender by Valerie Anand

I loved Valerie Anand’s Gildenford and it’s time I continued with the next book in the series.

the-norman-pretenderThe Norman Pretender continues the story of the great Godwin family, Earls of Wessex, and the most powerful faction in England. The book opens in 1052 and takes us in a series of brilliantly constructed episodes up to its climax at the Battle of Hastings and its tragic aftermath. Much of the action takes place in Normandy, where Harold Godwinson is rescued by Duke William from captivity, only to be tricked later into swearing an oath securing William’s succession to the English throne.”


Have you read any of these or are there any you would be interested in reading? What have you added to your own TBR lately?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Autumn TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday

I don’t usually like to make reading lists for myself but as there are so many books I want or need to get through in the next few months, I thought I would join in with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) and have listed ten of them below. There’s some overlap here with my RIP XI list and other personal reading projects.


From NetGalley – I have a lot of unread books on my NetGalley shelf which I really should read as soon as I can, but these two are published in October so I’m making them a priority.


1 – Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz


2 – Days Without End by Sebastian Barry


Review copies


3 – The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer


4 – The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland


5 – The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley


For the 1947 Club – hosted by Karen and Simon (10-16 October)


6 – The Labours of Hercules by Agatha Christie


For Ali’s Woolfalong:


7 – A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf


For Witch Week – hosted by Lory from October 31 – November 6.


8 – Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury


For the Classics Club – I would like to read more than one book from my Classics Club list between now and winter, but the book below is one I’ve been putting off reading and I’m hoping that including it here will give me some motivation.


9 – East of Eden by John Steinbeck


Because I love this author – and can’t wait to read his new book.


10 – Conclave by Robert Harris


Have you read any of these? Which books are on your autumn/fall TBR?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to make you laugh (or at least smile)

Top Ten Tuesday

I wasn’t going to take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) because I didn’t think I read enough funny books to be able to make a list…but when I stopped to give it some thought, I actually didn’t have a problem coming up with ten titles.

I have concentrated here on books which were specifically written to be funny or which contain lots of amusing scenes, rather than just one or two funny moments (the list would have been far too long in that case). Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you can think of any more.

Three Men in a Boat

1. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome – This tale of three friends (and dog) who take a disastrous boat trip along the River Thames had to be top of my list!

Three Men on the Bummel

2. Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome – Our old friends, J, Harris and George get together again for a tour of Germany in this sequel to Three Men in a Boat.

Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

3. Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by P.G. Wodehouse – I could have included other Wodehouse books here too, but this Jeeves and Wooster novel is the only one I have reviewed on my blog.

Cold Comfort Farm

4. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons – I didn’t find this parody of the British rural novel quite as funny as other people have but it still deserves to be included here.

The Convenient Marriage

5. The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer – Many of Heyer’s novels feature a bit of comedy and some witty dialogue, but this is one I remember being particularly funny.

The Canterville Ghost

6. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde – This light and entertaining satire is possibly the least ghostly ghost story I’ve ever read!

The Adventures of Alianore Audley

7. The Adventures of Alianore Audley by Brian Wainwright – Some knowledge of the Wars of the Roses might be needed to fully appreciate this tale of a 15th century Yorkist spy.

Don Quixote - Edith Grossman

8. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – Who would have thought such an old book could be so funny? The humour doesn’t always work but when it does it’s hilarious.

The Uncommon Reader

9. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – A lovely, witty novel about the Queen’s love of reading.

The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow

10. The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow by Jerome K. Jerome – Yes, it’s another book by Jerome. This collection of essays is not as funny as the Three Men books, but will still make you smile.


Have you read any funny books recently? What would be on your list?

Ten Reading Resolutions for 2016

It’s been a while since I last took part in Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) but this week’s topic is one I was going to post about anyway: my plans and resolutions for 2016.

Top Ten Tuesday

1. Make more time for re-reads. Only one of my 2015 books was a re-read (Jane Eyre, which I haven’t written about yet) and this makes me feel sad because I used to get so much enjoyment from reading my favourite books over and over again. I’m not going to set a target in terms of numbers, but I do want to re-read more than just one book this year!

2. Make progress with my Classics Club list. My target date for finishing my list is 10th March 2017 and I still have 32/100 books to read, so I really need to make a lot of progress this year. I will be going through the list to see if I still actually want to read all of the books on it and might decide to make some changes (one thing I like about the Classics Club is that you don’t need to stick rigidly to your original list and can add or remove books at any time).

3. Read books towards the Women’s Classic Literature Event. There’s some overlap here with my previous resolution, as this is an event hosted by the Classics Club. I already read three women’s classics towards the end of 2015, but there are a lot more that I’m hoping to read in 2016.

4. Continue to work through the series that I’m in the middle of reading. I’m very good at starting them but not so good at remembering to continue with them. Some of the many series I would like to make progress with in 2016 include the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian, Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters, Temeraire by Naomi Novik, Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R King, The Accursed Kings by Maurice Druon, Shardlake by CJ Sansom and the Pallisers by Anthony Trollope.

5. Continue to work on my own projects i.e. Ten from the TBR and Reading the Walter Scott Prize. I have found that ‘challenges’ don’t really work for me (the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is the only one I’ve signed up for this year, apart from the Women’s Classic Literature Event) and I like to allow myself plenty of time and flexibility, so I’m happier with my own personal projects, for which I haven’t set any deadlines.

6. Read the books that I really want to read! There are a lot of books that I’ve been wanting to read for years and am sure I’m going to love, but that I’ve been avoiding reading because I’m ‘saving them for later’ or ‘want to have something to look forward to’. I’m aware of how silly this is, so 2016 is going to be the year I finally read those long-anticipated books!

7. Be more ruthless about abandoning books I’m not enjoying. Sometimes I can tell almost immediately that a book is not for me, but sometimes I’m not sure and decide to keep going in the hope that it will get better – and then even when it doesn’t improve I still struggle on to the end.

8. Try to take more notes while reading. Even if I write about a book immediately after finishing it, I often struggle to remember exactly what I wanted to say about it. Better note-taking would definitely help, but once I become swept away by a good book I don’t like having to interrupt the flow of my reading. I’m not sure what to do about this but will give it some thought.

9. Continue trying to blog regularly, but don’t worry if I ‘get behind’ or if I don’t manage to post as often as I would like to. The focus of my blog in 2016 will still be books and reading and I will still be aiming to write about every book I read (as the original purpose of my blog was to keep a record of my reading). I will be continuing with my monthly Historical Musings posts this year as I enjoy writing them and I think we’ve had some good discussions in the comment sections. I’ve also settled on a new format for my end-of-month summary posts which I think will be more interesting for me to write and for you to read!

10. Try to make every book I read a potential favourite book of the year. I know this won’t realistically happen, but it’s what we would all like, isn’t it? Hopefully Resolutions 1-7 will help with this!

Do you have any resolutions for 2016?

Top Ten Tuesday: Newly acquired books

This is only the second time I’ve taken part in Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). I enjoy reading other people’s weekly lists but never seem to have time to put my own together. When I saw that this week’s topic was The Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession I thought it might be an easy one to join in with as I’ve acquired quite a lot of new books recently!

Top Ten Tuesday - 14 July 2015

From the library:

1. Dacre’s War by Rosemary Goring – This is the sequel to After Flodden which I read last year. It’s been getting good reviews and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Review copies:

2. Kit by Marina Fiorato – I received this from Bookbridgr for a blog tour. I’ve previously enjoyed two other books by this author and can’t wait to start this one.

3. The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley – The second book in Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series. I loved the first one and am hoping this one will be just as good.

4. 1066: What Fates Impose by G.K. Holloway – I was offered a copy of this book by the author and as this is a period of history I’m very interested in at the moment I was pleased to accept.

Bought second-hand:

5. Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato – The day after I received the copy of Kit I found another of Marina Fiorato’s novels in the second-hand bookshop.

6. Queen of Silks by Vanora Bennett – I’ve read one of Vanora Bennett’s other books (Midnight in St Petersburg) and wasn’t sure if I really wanted to read any more of her work. This one is set during the Wars of the Roses, though, so when I saw a cheap copy on the shelf I couldn’t resist!

7. The Love Knot by Elizabeth Chadwick – I love Elizabeth Chadwick so I was pleased to find one of her books that I haven’t read yet.


8. The Odd Women by George Gissing – I downloaded a free copy to my Kindle as this is one of the books I’m planning to read for my Ten from the TBR project.

9. Imperium by Robert Harris – This is set in Ancient Rome which is a period I’ve been wanting to read more about. I have already read the first two chapters and am enjoying it so far.

10. Fortune Made His Sword by Martha Rofheart – I don’t know much about this historical novel from the 1970s, but it was free on Amazon last week so I thought it would be worth downloading.


Well, they are the last ten books that came into my possession! Have you read any of them? And have you acquired any interesting new books recently?