Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten of the Best Books I've Read Recently

The Top Ten Tuesday theme this week is 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads Or Ten Of The Best Books I've Read Recently. Since I only rarely rate books five stars I'm going with the latter title. These are all books that I've read within the last few months or so and really enjoyed.
 1. Prince of Time by Sarah Woodbury
2. Happy and Glorious by Hilary McKay
3. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
4. Five Glass Slippers by various authors
5. Great Tales from English History: Cheddar Man to the Peasants' Revolt by Robert Lacey
6. The Bard's Daughter by Sarah Woodbury
7. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
8. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
9. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
10. The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!
But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Medieval hymn, tr. John Baptist Walsh & John Arnold

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Really Love But Haven't Talked About Recently

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Go here to find out more.
This week's prompt is: Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven't Talked About Enough/In A While. Since this blog is fairly new, I haven't had the chance to talk about most of the books I love yet, so this seemed a good opportunity to list some of my favourites.
(covers link to Goodreads)
1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
This is possibly my favourite book of all time. The rest of the series is also very good (although the first three are by far the best).
2. The Silent Shore by Ruth Elwin Harris
This is another book that I really love, and again the sequels are also really good, especially the last one (my blog is named after the second book in the series, which is actually the only one I haven't read, although I hope to rectify that soon). The series is basically about four sisters growing up in the First World War (and afterwards), with each book told from the perspective of a different sister.
3. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
I started reading this as a child didn't finish it; I got rather confused by all the moving about between worlds. It wasn't until I decided to read all of the Narnia books two years ago (having only read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian before then) that I tried to read it again and really enjoyed it.
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter books and films were a fairly significant part of my childhood, and this was my favourite book for a fair amount of time, and I've read it nine times, which is more than any other book (at least that I've kept track of).
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I first read this a few years ago and loved it; I'm hoping to reread it later this year. (Also, I really like this cover.)
6. The Small Woman by Alan Burgess
This was a book I read for the first time last autumn and really enjoyed.
7. The Casson Family series by Hilary McKay
I first read this series four years ago, and have reread some of them since. I think I enjoyed them more as the series went on. There is also a prequel, Caddy's World.
(The books aren't in order in this picture. This bothers me.)
8. Airman by Eoin Colfer
This was a book I really didn't expect to enjoy, because it didn't look like my sort of thing, and I tried to read Artemis Fowl when I was younger and never got into it. I read it because it was on the Carnegie shortlist which I was reading through with some others at my school. I'm very glad I did give it a chance, though, because I enjoyed it very much.
9. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
My introduction to this was through the BBC miniseries, which is really good. So afterwards I had to go and read the book, and I think I enjoyed it even more.
10. Black Hearts in Battersea
This was a book I read a few years ago and quite enjoyed, then read again a few months ago and loved it! It's set in an alternative 19th-century London where the Stuart kings are still on the throne and there are still wolves in the English countryside. It's technically the second book in the Wolves Chronicles series, after The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, but can be read alone quite easily (I initially read it before the first book).

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on my Spring TBR


The topic for this week's Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR. I don't have a definite list of books I plan to read this spring, but these are ten of the books that I hope to get to. Some of them are books I have started reading and put aside, and want to get around to finishing. Others are just books that I want to read soon.

A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin
Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family by Elizabeth Rundle Charles
Westward the Sun by Geoffrey Cotterell
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (my Classics Club Spin pick)
Anne of Windy Willows by L.M. Montgomery (re-read)
Home by Marilynne Robinson
Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Gemma and Sisters by Noel Streatfeild
Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
Dear Enemy by Jean Webster

Friday, 11 March 2016

Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay


Summary (from Goodreads): Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.

It took me a while to get into this book. For about the first third of the book I wasn't sure whether I liked it or not; I wasn't sold on the whole writing-long-personal-letters-to-an-anonymous-benefactor element of it, and there were some things that irritated me (such as Samantha not being allowed to choose her university course). After a while, though, it began to grow on me and I got so absorbed in the story and Samantha's development as a character that I did enjoy it for the most part. I wasn't completely convinced by the amount Samantha relates in her letters (and the length of the letters), but that was something that I could overlook for the sake of the story. As the book went on, I did enjoy it more and more, and I think the story was great. The ending, I won't say much about; I knew what was going to happen (having read Daddy-Long-Legs which this book is loosely based on) but although I wasn't 100% comfortable with it I was much happier with it than I though I would be. I think maybe I would just have liked the book to go on a bit longer so that I could see everything be fully resolved.

Overall, though, I did definitely enjoy this book and would recommend it.

Rating: 7.5/10


Thursday, 3 March 2016

Classics Club Spin


I'm participating in the next Classics Club Spin. This requires listing twenty books from my list, then next week a random number will be announced and I have to read whichever book is that number on the list. (Click on the picture to find out more.) I've tried to include a mixture of books that I'm looking forward to reading and books that I'm slightly apprehensive about.
  1. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  2. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
  3. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
  4. Agnes Grey by Anne BrontĂ«
  5. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  6. In the High Valley by Susan Coolidge
  7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  8. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
  10. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
  11. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
  12. Elizabeth Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin
  13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  14. The Light Princess and Other Stories by George MacDonald
  15. Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery
  16. The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery
  17. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
  18. Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
  19. The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild
  20. The Chaplet of Pearls by Charlotte Mary Yonge