Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Russians, Wizards and Unicorns…

Finished books 21 Feb 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

First up, thank you SO much! The Dog Blog for Chinese New Year has had 13 likes! I am glad so many of you enjoyed it! In total I have had over 500 likes for my blogs, some entries more than others, but that last one seemed to go down very well! Not a themed one this time, just a general book blog and an update on the Ongoing Concerns, two of which were finished off in the previous 24 hours, leading me to start a new book earlier today!

Within a matter of hours from late on 20th February and in the early hours of the 21st, I finished Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, and then Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, both of which I enjoyed enormously! Two completely different books, one a work of fantasy humour, and the other an autobiography, but both brilliant in their own ways. I’d previously read Andrei’s original autobiography, as mentioned in earlier blogs, which was published when he was still a Manchester United player, which shows how long ago THAT was! He left us for Everton in 1995, so 23 years ago now! Russian Winters is brilliant for a catch-up, to find out what happened after he left Old Trafford. Obviously, he was at Goodison Park for a bit, but after that, I had kinda lost track, so it was very interesting to read about his various clubs as both a player and then later a manager. He was one of my favourite players when he was at United, my 2nd fave after King Eric.

I definitely need to read more Discworld and not leave it so long in between visits! I absolutely loved Mort and it was a great book to have as a Handbag Book, and to read on my lunch at work. Who’d have thought the Grim Reaper would enjoy a curry, lol! It does pose the question now, though, of whether I continue to read them in order, in which case, the next Discworld book would be Sourcery, or whether I look for other books where Death and possibly also Mort make a reappearance. The thing about Discworld is that the books don’t really follow on. There’s not a sequence. It’s not like, say, Harry Potter, where there is a defined order of the books if you want things to make chronological sense.

So, with two books read, including one of my Handbag Books, it means that I need to add new books to the Ongoing Concerns, because otherwise, there’d only be two of those, and I’m halfway through Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, which I need to get on with for my book club. As I said previously, if I get that one read before 7th March, I’ll get a bit more of Hawksmoor read while I have the opportunity, but Eleanor Oliphant is a priority.

It does mean that I have now finished 3 books this month, and 8 in total so far this year. The War of the Worlds was my first February finish, but the two I’ve polished off in the last day or so take my month’s total to 3. Not bad for a short month. Hmmm… can I get Eleanor Oliphant finished off before we start March?! As mentioned before, that one is a hardback, so that’s being read here at home, not taken to work with me.

So, with finishing two books off, I need new ones, and at least one of them needs to be a Handbag Book. I have gone with The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, and I have already read 11% of it. I have already read one of her books, the brilliant Girl With a Pearl Earring, which I read a few years ago now and loved. These are works of historical fiction, but they are not chunky, unlike many other books of this genre, so if you were thinking of reading some historical fiction, but thought the size of many novels a bit off-putting, I’d start with some Tracy Chevalier novels. You could always move on to the chunky monkeys later and read some C. J. Sansom or something like that!

Rainbow Book Tower Feb 2018

I also have another vacancy on the Ongoing Concerns list, but here is where I am finding it hard to decide. Part of me is thinking I should start on the books on the rainbow spines tower, which would mean Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, would be added to my list. However, I have already replaced fiction with fiction – the Tracy Chevalier book, as mentioned above, replacing Mort in my handbag. Thus, as the other book I have just finished was non-fiction, that being Russian Winters, there should be another non-fiction book on the OC list! Do I go with another autobiography, or perhaps a different factual book? Perhaps time to put Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, back on the list? That is already at 50% from last year, so I could resume that one. It would make sense to resume it and finish it off. Plus, it’s also a paperback, and fairly slim, so it would go in the Handbag!

Yes, I think we’ll go for the Bill Bryson. Get that finished off. Perhaps take Hawksmoor out of the bag for now, put The Lady and the Unicorn and Neither Here Nor There in the handbag and go with those. I may yet start Stargirl soon. We shall see. Can I manage 5 books on the OC list? I had more than that on plenty of occasions last year, but sometimes it just got out of hand and some books just weren’t being read at all. I don’t want that – it defeats the object of the Ongoing Concerns list if some of the books aren’t exactly ongoing!

There needs to be a manageable list, and I think having an OC list of 4 books is very manageable. Let’s see how we get on with the Chevalier and the Bryson. Hopefully, they will be fairly quick reads and I can then get more books on the list! Eleanor Oliphant will probably be replaced with whatever is the next book club book, but I won’t know what that is until 7th March.

Anyway, I know this one is a bit short, but it’s time for me to settle down into my pyjamas and watch a bit of the Winter Olympics until I need to get zeds ready for work in the morning! Our women have reached the semi-finals of the curling. If we can win our semi, we would be guaranteed a medal, silver at worst, and thus Team GB would have a new national record medal tally at the Winter Olympics! The men are in a play-off to try to get into the semi-finals. Come on, guys!

So, I’m off to watch some of the action on snow or ice until I fall asleep, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Sourcery – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, Chunky Monkeys, Fantasy Fiction, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Ongoing Concerns

January Review – A Solid Start

January 2018 summary

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome back to the most random blog on the internet, lol! Alright, there’s one more day of January left after today, but I wouldn’t be getting any more books finished than I already have done this month, plus I’ll probably be keeping an eye on the score as my lads are away to Spurs tomorrow evening and it’s Transfer Deadline Day so I’ll be amused by all the last-minute nonsense from other clubs, relaxing in the knowledge that we have Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and I don’t expect owt else to happen for us until the summer now. If it does, it’ll be an extra bonus, but I’m not expecting my lads to be busy tomorrow in terms of buying new players – as long as the existing players are busy putting the ball in Tottenham’s net and keeping it out of ours, that will do me nicely!

Anyway, books… The year started with me coming down with more Lurgy having thought I’d got shut of it between Christmas and New Year, but I am now finally over it. I finished Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy, in time for the book club meeting, although there was only myself and Stephanie at Waterstone’s due to the amount of bugs going round!

Thus I got my first book of the year read, but it was about a fortnight before I’d be getting more read. However, they’ve come thick and fast in the past week! It started with finishing off the excellent autobiography, Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, who turns 67 today, by the way, so Happy Birthday, Phil! Following swiftly on the heels of the legendary Genesis drummer and frontman, I polished off The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells, less than 48 hours later!

I then had an overnight read, a re-read of a childhood book, when I polished off Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood, by Alf Prøysen, which I found lying around in our living room behind our sofa, with a few other books which were a mix of mine and my mum’s from our younger days! I will now be lending Mrs Pepperpot to my sister in case she wants to read it, and perhaps Charlotte might also fancy reading it!

Then, in the wee small hours, I finished off my current book club book, The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne, which I quite enjoyed. I’ve read it with just over a week to spare, so I’m quite chuffed. Plus, that means that I’ve finished off 5 books already in the first month of 2018. We can’t take anything for granted, there can be quiet spells on the reading front sometimes, so I still don’t know how many books I’ll end up on by the end of December, but I can say it’s a pretty solid start. This is my 6th blog of the new year, too, hence I wrote 6 on the wipeboard knowing that I intended to blog and to use that photo for this blog! 5 books finished, 6 blogs published by the time you’re reading this, lol, and 1 player signed for Manchester United in the January transfer window!

Sadly, the Grim Reaper seems a bit too busy again this year, and has already claimed a few notable people this year, including science-fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin, Cranberries lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan at only 46 (hardly much older than me – far too young), former footballer, Cyrille Regis, and the former referee, Paul Alcock, who passed away today at the relatively early age of 64 – probably best known for being pushed over by Paolo Di Canio when he had been sent off for Sheffield Wednesday at home to Arsenal in the 1998-99 season!

Hogwarts House Socks

Accio Socks! I’m a Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering.

The Hogwarts house socks were from my mum! I just thought I’d mention them as they are book-related and I acquired them this month, so it seemed apt to put a photo in the January Review! I’ve had the Harry Potter FunkoPop for a while now, though. I also have a Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – they usually stand in front of my wipeboard.

Well, I originally thought I had two deadlines – my book club deadline, which is 7th February, and I also thought I had 15th February for giving Not Dead Yet back to my friend Sarah. However, as Paul Young’s wife sadly passed away last week, he postponed his February concerts, which will be rescheduled, so I will be hanging on to Phil’s autobiography for a while longer before I hand it back to Sarah. We may arrange to meet up for non-concert reasons, though. There’s always a chance we could meet and go shopping or something, so I will give her the book back at the earliest opportunity. It gives Sarah more chance, if she hasn’t already done so, to read Bruce Dickinson‘s autobiography, What Does This Button Do? She has said she will lend me that one, which I am looking forward to. The Iron Maiden frontman’s book sounds like another fascinating read. He is actually a qualified pilot as well as being a heavy metal legend!

So, 5 books read so far: 1 each for general fiction, autobiography, science-fiction, children’s fiction and crime fiction.

So, now onto the current Ongoing Concerns… All of them are at the early stages of being started, really. None of them near completion, so that’s why I knew I had my January total. Even if I resumed a half-read book and finished that off this year, I didn’t think I had any that were near enough to the end for me to have a quick read and add them to the finished list! I COULD resume Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, which I was exactly halfway through last year before things all went a bit Pete Tong on the OC front! That would give me a book at 50% to add to Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, at 13% and Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, at 10%. I have made a start on The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, so that’s 5% read.

I gave some thought to Sirens, by Joseph Knox, which I mentioned in the previous blog entry – a work of crime fiction set in Manchester, which thus piques my interest enough to read a crime novel, which is not my usual genre. However, part of me thinks that I should just stick to Russian Winters, Hawksmoor, and The War of the Worlds and concentrate on those for the next week or so, while I have the chance. On 7th February, I’ll be at Waterstone’s for the next book club meeting, and will end up with a new book and a new target date, lol, so making progress on three existing fronts seems like the best idea no matter how much I might want to add or re-add books! If I can make significant progress with the reading matter from Messrs Kanchelskis, Ackroyd and Wells, at least one of those should be halfway or better by the time I add my next book club book to the mix!

Was considering if I should do some sort of reading challenge, I was looking at a few last night on the internet, but perhaps the best idea would be to work my way through one of my piles of books, for example the rainbow tower of books! That would give me a good 18-20 books, which would be doable, just working them in alongside book club reads and other books I fancy reading! I could also resume the Shardlake series, by C. J. Sansom, which I started last year when I read Dissolution. I am on for Dark Fire, the second book in the series, and there are 4 more after that – Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone, and Lamentation. I may be a very random reader, as you no doubt know by now, but I am quite partial to a bit of historical fiction! I like history anyway – I would do – half of my degree was in history! (The other half was in literature, as you also probably know!)

Mentioning the Shardlake series has taken the Books Mentioned list, on List Challenges, up to 73 now, lol!

The other thing I need to do is to resume my cross stitch – especially as I tend to stitch bookmarks, and there is a partially-stitched one which I started last year and which is meant to go well with a classic orange and white Penguin book!

I think that’s about it for now, and books are not going to read themselves, lol, so I shall get this finished and published, and we shall see what February brings… Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Prøysen
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Sirens – Joseph Knox
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Sovereign – C. J. Sansom
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Heartstone – C. J. Sansom
  • Lamentation – C. J. Sansom

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Cross-Stitch, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Music, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns

Bookworm’s Progress and All Manner of Reading Matters…

Not Dead Yet finished Jan 2018

Phil Collins and also H G Wells finished this week!

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Been a good week on the book front, although some sad news has meant it will be longer before my friend and I meet up and I return her book to her. As you can see from the photo above, the brilliant Not Dead Yet was finished earlier this week, and I then polished off The Time Machine the following day! As I planned, I am lining up The War of the Worlds to go on the Ongoing Concerns list, one H G Wells science fiction novel replacing another. Well, novellas, actually, as neither book is particularly long. Even The War of the Worlds is under 200 pages long!

While we’re on science fiction, we have to mention the sad news from earlier this week, as Ursula K. Le Guin passed away on Monday, aged 88. I have not yet read any of her books, but I might look into them, The Left Hand of Darkness being one of the best-known of her novels. Rest in Peace, Ursula. 😦

Priority lies with The Red House Mystery, though, as that is my book club book and I need to get on with that before 7th February. My 15th February deadline which I set for Not Dead Yet is irrelevant as I have finished the book in good time, but I won’t be giving Sarah the book back on that date. She and I were due to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall. However, Paul’s wife sadly passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer, so Paul has understandably postponed his February concerts, which will be rescheduled for later this  year. I will have to see if I can cancel the half-day leave I booked, as I won’t need it on that date now, and I might need it whenever the new date for the concert might be if it’s also a midweek gig.

Blogging today, I do realise I am too late for an Australia Day special, might have to do one of those next year if I remember in time. Would have to do it on 25th January here, though, so that it would be 26th January Down Under. That way I could mention any books set in Australia, and also some by Aussie authors, such as Hannah Kent, who has already given us two awesome novels, Burial Rites and The Good People. If I am not mistaken, Markus Zusak is also an Aussie, so I could mention The Book Thief, which is on my list of favourite books, and which I gave out for World Book Night in 2012 on my 39th birthday! Someone remind me to do an Aussie-themed book blog in 2019! I did an Irish special last year for St Patrick’s Day, so if you want to read that blog, check out the March 2017 archives!

The thing about these internationally-themed blogs is that I only need a few examples from any country to make up a blog. Where would I even start with my own?! So many English authors to choose from, and probably all the usual suspects anyway, such as the Brontës, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens! Besides which, our patron saint, St George, has his day on 23rd April… which also happens to be Chief Bookworm’s birthday! I tend to spend the day having a lie-in, unwrapping pressies and going out to eat… Whether I could fit a blog in on my birthday is another matter, or even whether I’d want to…

While we should never rule anything out completely, I would say that it would be highly unlikely that you would have a blog from me on my 45th birthday later this year…

Right, anyway, I need some hydration, so I shall just get myself a drink, and I shall return shortly…

* Chief Bookworm pops downstairs for a drink *

Right, I’m back! Sorry about that! Hot Vimto in my Cantona mug on a coaster on top of the printer as I sit here at Computer Corner, tapping away on my laptop!

I might have been too late for Australia Day, but it is Holocaust Memorial Day today, so we can at least mention a few works of fiction set around that terrible time, including The Auschwitz Violin, by Maria Angels Anglada, which I read a couple of years ago – pretty sure it’s on my Goodreads Challenge of 2016. The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne, is an obvious mention as well, and The Book Thief also touches on those sent to concentration camps, although not actually based around a camp. One other book, one which I read some years ago now, is a collection of short stories based on the author’s experience, and it was recommended to me, on Facebook, by David Hunt probably about 9 or 10 years ago now. The book is by Tadeusz Borowski, and it’s called This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s what he doesn’t say, what is implied, which gets to you. One which should be read, but maybe not in public as you might find it too upsetting.

There’s actually one I mean to get, The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe, and I shall have a look for it next time I am in a book shop, which won’t be long off knowing me! There’s also The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, another recent book, only just published earlier this month. That one’s based on the true story of a concentration camp tattooist, and as we’re on for books based on true stories of World War II, we need to mention Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally, which inspired the award-winning film Schindler’s List.

I was going to mention some more of the books I’ve acquired in recent times, and I have some charity shop bargains to mention, but first, we go back to my childhood, and I found a book the other night which had my name in it, and it was one I have had since I was in the first year juniors at primary school, what is now year 3, and that’s the year my niece is in at school. The book is Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood, by Alf Prøysen, a Norwegian author who passed away in 1970, before I was even born, but his stories of this little old lady who shrunk to the size of a pepper pot at inconvenient times were read to us by our teacher, Mrs Lloyd, when we were in that first year junior class at Monton Green Primary School, which would have been the academic year of 1980-81. So the book turned up on the Puffin Club book catalogue and it was bought for me as I had enjoyed some of the stories in class.

Mrs Pepperpot book

So, this is my book from when I was Charlotte’s age, and I am going to re-read it, and then perhaps my niece might like to borrow it! After all, I enjoyed it when I was 7 going on 8, so it’s probably the right age range for Junior Bookworm! Mrs Lloyd was great, one of the best teachers I ever had. Years later, she even bought me some chocolate to celebrate when Mum and I met up with her in a supermarket shortly after I’d graduated from uni in 1994!

Right, as I promised, the charity shop books which I didn’t mention the other night because I already had a pretty long list of books to mention by the end of that blog, lol! One of the charity shops on Swinton Precinct had a four books for a quid offer, essentially making these items of reading matter 25p each… I chose Playing With Fire, by Gordon Ramsay, which I think is the follow up autobiography to Humble Pie, which I already owned.

East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson, was one of the four books. I also have another of hers on the notorious TBR list, Jasmine Nights, which I either got from a charity shop or a church fair. Either way, it was a cheap acquisition.

Broken Music, by Sting, was another of the four books. It’s his autobiography. Useless fact time here, folks… Sting went to the same school as Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys! Sting would have been two years above Neil. They both attended St Cuthbert’s RC Grammar School in Newcastle Upon Tyne. So there you go! I know this because I’ve been a Pethead for years, but I’m also partial to the music of The Police and some of Sting’s solo stuff, particularly Fields of Gold and Englishman In New York – that latter one, of course, providing the melody for our terrace song about Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has gone to Arsenal in the swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez come to United!

He had a good debut last night, actually, setting up two of our goals as the lads won 4-0 away to Yeovil Town in the 4th round of the FA Cup. The goals came courtesy of Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku, giving us a convincing win and a place in the draw for the 5th round, which will be made on Monday.

Anyway, back to the four books, which brings us to the fourth, that being Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It sounds like a humorous one – after all, the late great Sir Terry was the author of the Discworld series. The edition I picked up at the charity shop was actually a World Book Night edition from 2012, which was the same year I was giving out special copies of The Book Thief for free at the Trafford Centre! Go back to my blog archives from early in 2012 and you’ll read about my preparations for that!

Oh, and I picked up Ulysses, by James Joyce, at one of the other charity shops in Swinton the other day. That’s a right chunky monkey, though. Might have to find some sort of guide to the novel before attempting it. I have read some Joyce, previously, but only Dubliners, which is a book of short stories set in the Irish capital.

This pretty much brings my book news up to date. Just a thought… We’re not even at the end of January and the list of books mentioned so far in 2018 is already at 66! Of course, as things go on, books get repeat mentions, and they’re already on the list, but plenty of previously unmentioned books get added and last year’s list was over 500 books long when I came to publish it at the end of December! If you’re on List Challenges, and you like big lists and you cannot lie, lol, check out Joanne’s Bookshelf – Books Mentioned in 2017 and see how many you’ve read from all the books I mentioned on here last year!

So, that’s it for now, I’m off for a reading session! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Auschwitz Violin – Maria Angels Anglada
  • The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  • This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen – Tadeusz Borowski
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
  • Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Prøysen
  • Playing With Fire – Gordon Ramsay
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • East of the Sun – Julia Gregson
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • Broken Music – Sting
  • Good Omens – Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Dubliners – James Joyce

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Book Review of the Year…

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

There is less than a fortnight left of 2017, ladies and gentlemen, Sir Mo Farah was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year at the weekend, so I think it’s only fair if we do some sort of Book Review of the Year round about now! I might just get one or two more books read before the year is out, as I am currently enjoying The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and I have started on Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva, so I could get to 44 or even 45 books before we let in 2018! I finished The Good People a few nights ago, so that took me to 43 for the year. I’d quite like at least one more, to make it 44 so I’ve read my age in books, lol!

As most of you probably know by now, I’m hardly the world’s biggest fan of self-help books, but when a book comes along to encourage people to stop giving needless f**ks about things they really don’t care about, or don’t want to do, I am all for that! Indeed, I feel that I’ve already been reducing the number of f**ks I give since I hit my 40s! So I am happy to get on board with that! Also, it’s not ableist. Whether fully able-bodied, or with any kind of disability or health condition, anyone is capable of ceasing to give a f**k about completely pointless things! Things they can’t do, things they don’t enjoy, things they don’t want to do, things they don’t want to know about! You don’t need to be fully-able bodied in order to give zero f**ks about the Kardashians, for instance!

I started the year off by finishing off Pear Shaped, an e-book autobiography by Adam Blain, I think I’d got it for free on my Kindle. Anyway, he was writing about his brain tumour, hence the title, but he has since recovered, I am delighted to say. There have been a few books which I have started in a previous year, but finished off in 2017, most notably Jamrach’s Menagerie, by Carol Birch, Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, which I read this summer to coincide with my 30th anniversary of becoming a Pethead! Also, I saw them twice in concert this year – in February here in Manchester, and in June in Blackpool, home town of keyboard player, Chris Lowe.

Actually, today, 19th December, it is 30 years since “Always On My Mind” hit the top spot in the UK charts to become the Christmas Number One for 1987! Other notable 30th anniversaries in December are the release of my all-time favourite Christmas record, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, which reached number 2 in the charts behind Neil and Chris, and it is also 30 years since one of the most sensible things my dad ever did… 30 years since he gave up smoking! He had the flu at the time, a really bad strain of it, and lighting his pipe gave him an epic coughing fit, so he gave up to get over the flu, and by the time he was well again, in early 1988, he realised he hadn’t smoked for about 2 or 3 weeks, and he just never went back to it.

February saw me going down to Wembley, as you may recall, to see Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in the League Cup Final, and when United booked their place in the final, I was trying to decide which books to take down with me on the coach for the journey to Wembley, and the return to Old Trafford. The book I read on the way down was The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, but with the coach’s reading lights not working on the journey home, I had to resort to my Kindle, and thus Premier League Years 1992/93 by Andrew Hyslop was my reading matter on the way back, detailing Manchester United’s first Premier League title as we ended our 26 year wait to be champions.

I later got The Pie at Night signed, along with Long Road from Jarrow, when I met Stuart Maconie at Waterstone’s in July. Not read the Jarrow book yet, but I did read The People’s Songs earlier this year, so two books by Mr Maconie made my Goodreads Challenge list!

* Excuse me a mo… Chief Bookworm needs a drink – back shortly *

Right, back again! Sorry about that! Anyway, March was notable for my decision to read Tuesdays With Morrie once a week, each Tuesday! April brought about Billy Ocean in concert, jury service and my birthday, making me an old gimmer of 44, lol! I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović was finished off that month, as was An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth. Adrian Mole, the diary-writing character created by the late great Sue Townsend, celebrated his  50th birthday in April, and Penguin actually published a book of the poems Adrian wrote! The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 starts off in January 1981, so he was 14 on 2nd April that year. I was 8 three weeks later in real life! Thus, yes, Adrian is 6 years older than me. The first couple of Adrian Mole books are around 33 years old, or so, as they came out around 1984 if I’m not mistaken. I probably got my copies of the first two books around 1985, aged 12. Pretty sure that one of the kids at Salford Trampoline Club recommended them to me, possibly Tammy, as my sister had started training there by then.

Actually, earlier in 2017, around February, I revisited my 12 year old self in a blog thanks to an idea from Facebook. Someone had asked which 12 books would you give to your 12 year old self, so Joanne from 2017 visited Joanne from 1985 with a dozen books from her future!

From early July to early September, we had the Book Benches scattered around Manchester with a trail map so that you could go and find them. I was actually volunteering at Manchester Cathedral’s bookshop at the time, so was right at the heart of things, and saw book benches in the cathedral, in the Arndale Centre, and in the National Football Museum. Pretty sure I saw a book bench the other week, actually – at the Lowry outlet centre on Salford Quays, so maybe one or two have stuck around after the event, as we’re in December now and it’s nearly Christmas! The book bench event actually ended just after I started my job at Salford Council in early September. Watch out for the giant bees in town in the summer of 2018! Manchester will be truly buzzin’!

I read a few children’s books this year, as you might expect given that my niece, Charlotte, aka Junior Bookworm, likes her auntie to know what she’s reading, and wants me to enjoy some of her books! In 2017 I was able to add Esio Trot to the list of Roald Dahl books that I have read! Charlotte was reading The Twits not long ago, which was one of Ellie’s favourites as a kid! Sadly, we said rest in peace to Dick Bruna back in February when the Dutch author, famous for the Miffy books, passed away. As with the Roald Dahl books, Bruna’s tales of Miffy the rabbit were part of mine and my sister’s childhood, albeit before the Dahl… Miffy books were borrowed from Eccles Library when we were little and first learning to read.

On the other hand, we wished many happy returns to Stephen King, as the prolific author, famed particularly for his horror novels, hit his Big 70 in September, shortly after my dad hit his Big 70! As you may recall, my pressie for my dad was that big chunky biography of spy thriller author, John le Carré. I hit the hundred book blogs milestone earlier this year, back in March, I think, and I currently have 72 followers, so thank you to all of you who subscribe to this blog full of book mentions and other mad and random waffle, lol!

A few YA books made my Goodreads Challenge list, as I read One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman. Although I don’t have an out and out favourite genre, unlike many bookworms, I will say that I like a bit of historical fiction, and there were a few novels on the list which come into that category, including The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor, Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, and The Good People, by Hannah Kent. That is my most recent finish, of course, but as I said earlier, I am hoping for one or two more before the year is over.

I had quite a non-fiction binge in the autumn, but I do like factual reads anyway! It was that which led to my second author event of the year and my choice for favourite book of the year… the wonderful This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay. Moving in parts, but utterly hilarious in others, you would be taking a huge risk by reading it in public, unless you don’t mind some odd looks while you laugh your arse off! The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, was a very good, quite witty, and pretty important book, one which as many people as possible should read in order that they stop falling for faddy diets and other con tricks on the internet!

Well, those are most of the highlights of my year in books. I hope to get at least a few more blogs in before the month, and the year, are over. I have actually blogged every month this year, which is a first. Prior to 2017, my blogging had been very patchy at times, long times went by without a blog. However, there have been blogs every month. I shall now bring this particular entry to a close, so until I blog again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner

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What’s So Hard About Animal Farm?!

The Good People

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog, and it was nice to have four of us at book club on Thursday. Nick and Diane had returned, and one of my council colleagues, Michelle, came along, so there were four of us and it made for a much better book club meeting than I’d had for some time! It felt as though we were able to have some proper discussion and bounce ideas and book suggestions off each other, which is what book club is about, and that’s bloody hard to do if only two of you turn up and the other person is just happy to go along with your choices. So, much better, as I said. We decided on The Good People, by Hannah Kent, as our next book, and our meeting will be on Wednesday 6th December.

As I’ve said previously, Hannah’s first book, Burial Rites, was a book club book of ours about 4 years ago. When the novel was first published, Hannah and her publisher came to Waterstone’s to promote the book, and as we were due to have book club that night, Emma from Waterstone’s had said to us “Would you be happy for this to be a book club event?” so we said yes, and Hannah talked to us about her book and how it came about. She’s from Adelaide, Australia, but had gone on an exchange programme to Iceland and, in learning about the country and its history, became intrigued with the story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland, hence the story behind Burial Rites.

She’s gone from Iceland to Ireland with this one, but yet again it is a work of historical fiction based on Irish folklore. I have started it, so let’s see what it’s like! It’s a handbag book, anyway, although it’s not the only reading matter which has been making a home in my purple Kipling bag. Currently sharing the handbag space with The Good People are What Light, by Jay Asher,  which is a Christmas novella, and The Outsiders, by S E Hinton. I was kinda hoping that short books, and possibly some short stories, might get me feeling fictional again.

This year is 50 years since The Outsiders was first published. Not one I’ve read before, but it is a book which has been read by many in the last half century, especially teenagers. It has often been a set book for literature classes at school, on the syllabus for the old O Levels and CSEs and then GCSEs when those came along in my high school days. My year were the second lot ever to sit GCSEs, way back in the summer of 1989. Perhaps one of the other English sets, 2 to 4 read this book? Not sure. All I know is what we read in set 1 with Mrs Walsh. (There were eight sets, but only the top four studied literature as well as language.)

Our play was Macbeth, it was always going to be something by the Bard as our teacher was a total Shakespeare nut, lol! Our novel was Pride and Prejudice, so we were introduced to Mr Darcy long before Colin Firth played him in that adaptation! Animal Farm, by George Orwell, was our novella which we looked at both as a straightforward story and as a political allegory, and our poetry, rather appropriately for Remembrance Day weekend, was from the First World War, as we studied a fair few poems from both Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Not sure which book Mrs Walsh used for our poetry, but I always recommend The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry should you be looking to read what I read at school!

Right then… back from my high school reading to the present day, and yesterday I was at St Paul’s Church in Monton for our Christmas fair. While we did have one or two little kids’ books, Mum and I don’t have a book stall, but there is one, and I managed to get five books for a mere £1.50 so I think we should class church fair book bargains in the same category as charity shop bargains for the purposes of this blog.

Church fair book purchases 2017

As you can see, this haul includes two large books about Abba! Abba The Book, by Jean-Marie Potiez, and Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You? This is the inside story of the making of the musical and film based on Abba’s songs. Bit irritating that I can’t see the exact edition of Abba The Book for my List Challenges list. I have put one on for now, but I shall keep trying for the white cover edition. Grrr! It annoys me, that! It’s all very well if I haven’t got a copy of a certain book, but if I have, I want the right edition on List Challenges. Except for The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, as I prefer the US cover anyway, as I’ve said before!

My other books are Prophecy, by S. J. Parris, The Tenko Club, by Elizabeth Noble, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. I have a feeling I do already own a copy of the latter, but as I’m not even sure where it is or whether I could get my hands on it easily, I chanced getting a copy yesterday at the church fair.  I remember seeing the film version when I was at uni, and then again some years later, on telly late one night, and it’s brilliant. It’s mostly in black and white, but the portrait is in Technicolor!

Actually, going back to List Challenges for a moment… I was on there in the past week or so, and there was a list of “difficult to read” books, but I have to say that some of them weren’t what I’d call difficult at all! The Picture of Dorian Gray was one of them, but I fail to see what’s so difficult about this book! SPOILER ALERT! Well-to-do good-looking young bloke has his portrait painted, as people did in those days when they were well-off, and he’s gone to see and admire the finished product. While he’s admiring his portrait, he makes a wish that he could stay young forever and that the portrait would grow old instead. This wish comes true and Dorian remains young and handsome. However, this goes to his head, and he becomes a right arsehole, and he does some pretty nasty shit to some people. As his behaviour deteriorates, his portrait grows not only older but uglier too, so he hides it away.

Anyhow, that’s enough Dorian spoilers! A couple of the other books on the “difficult to read” list were Jane Eyre and Animal Farm! Seriously?! Those are seen as hard to read?! As I have already said in this blog, I read Animal Farm for my GCSEs when I was at high school, so it’s not that bloody hard! If we’re discussing Orwell’s writing, I could see how people might find 1984, with its newspeak, difficult to read, maybe, but what’s so hard about Animal Farm?! I was about 15 or so when I read that! And I was even younger when I read Jane Eyre! I was in the third year at high school, 13 going on 14! If Jane Eyre was a difficult book, I doubt very much I’d have read it at that stage of my education!

Well, I think that’s about it for now. I had a bit of a book tsunami earlier, but then again, the previous one was in early February, so it’s not too bad considering the huge piles of books I have, lol! Quite a lot of book mentions in here for you tonight – I know some of you like it when I have a big long list at the end as it gives you reading ideas! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • What Light – Jay Asher
  • The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
  • Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry – Various
  • Abba, The Book – Jean-Marie Potiez
  • Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You? – Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Judy Craymer
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Prophecy – S. J. Parris
  • The Tenko Club – Elizabeth Noble
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • 1984 – George Orwell

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Gone for a Burton!

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again for another blog! I know they’re not as frequent as previously, but having been back in work since the start of this month, that is to be expected. I will have been working for 3 weeks by the time I shut down my computer and log off from my phone tomorrow at 4:30pm UK time! I do try to get some reading in at lunchtime, although that is not always possible, so it has to be out of hours, mostly. However, I am a third of the way through Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, which is our book club book, and I have two weeks to go until our next book club, so I hope to get more of it read in the remaining fortnight.

Didn’t get my Kindle read last night, though. My reading plans had gone for a Burton, just like Burton Albion themselves, although our visitors had improved since their one and only previous visit to Old Trafford, which was in the FA Cup way back in 2006! Back then, a 0-0 draw in that cup earned them a replay up here, which was a huge windfall for them – they were able to pay for their new stadium at the time thanks to forcing that replay. We stuffed them 5-0 in the replay in 2006, and they were a non-league side then, in what used to be known as the Conference. They are actually a Championship side now, just a division below United, and we still stuffed them last night, but 4-1 was an improvement for the Brewers, lol!

The reason I didn’t get any post-match reading done on my Kindle is that Mum and I were out of the United car park fairly quickly. I should have expected it really, given that it’s the League Cup, and people opt out of it. The attendance was around 50,000, which is down on our usual 75,000 full houses, so with fewer people there, it doesn’t take as long for us to get home. I expect I will need my Kindle again at the end of this month, though, when we play Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League. One of the ebooks I have started lately is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal – it sounded amusing enough. I have read 11% of it so far, so it could class as an OC, although ebooks are being kept as a separate matter, they’re a football thing, lol!

While we’re still sort-of on footy, I’d just like to slap whichever killjoy arseholes are getting their knickers in a knot about the song some of our fans have come up with for our latest star centre forward, Romelu Lukaku. Since WHEN has it ever been offensive to imply that someone has a LARGE willy?! Give your heads a wobble! Fair enough, suggesting that someone is NOT well-endowed in the trouser department might be quite insulting, but a large cock is something your average bloke is quite proud of, from my understanding of the male of the species! Indeed, blokes themselves often exaggerate the size of their own, ahem, upstanding members, so singing that a footballer has a 24 inch willy is simply a bit of a laugh! NO-ONE has a two-foot cock, for crying out loud! Plus, you also have to remember that the average terrace song is invented by drunken blokes down the pub, usually on their way to an away match!

For the record, the ONLY song I know of in our fans’ repertoire which actually mentions someone’s colour is the song we had for Wayne Rooney, where we called him the White Pele! We do NOT discriminate! We have fans all around the bloody world, FFS! All colours, all faiths, all nationalities, so being a Red is NOT for narrow-minded, bigoted knobheads! I think that as long as Romelu himself doesn’t mind, and I’ve not heard any word to say he does, then there is no problem. If he did have a problem, and said so, we would stop, but I imagine there is more chance of snowballs being found in Hell…

Right, OK, back to the books. Trying to overhaul the OC list is not that easy. I did finish If I Stay for that book group on Facebook, but am not sure what to do next. They have chosen The Fault In Our Stars for this month, and I have already read that a year or two ago now. Forthcoming books are Emma, by Jane Austen, and Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, and so I might try to get a head start on one or both of those. Like a lot of classics, there are free editions of Emma available for e-readers, as a lot of classic books were written so long ago that they are out of copyright. So, I downloaded that one on my Kindle for free, and I already own a copy of Ready Player One. I like the sound of that one, there’s supposed to be a lot of 80s references in it.

Besides the e-book about Punjabi widows, the other book for match-day e-book consideration is Gold, by Chris Cleave. I’ve had that on my Kindle for a while, actually, and recently picked up the paperback in a charity shop. This is the author of The Other Hand (known as Little Bee in some countries), which I read and enjoyed some years ago now.

I may just have to knock the OCs on the head for now, and see how much I can get through. We may or may not resume this format at some point, but with work, and with book clubs, actual and virtual, the Ongoing Concerns are not really ongoing at present, lol! Apologies to all the books on the list but right now I’m probably going to have to cut things right down, maybe to just 2 or 3 books at a time. Some of the OCs weren’t getting read anyway, so my list wasn’t truly effective. I need an ebook for home matches, whichever book I’m reading for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, as long as I’m enjoying that book enough, plus maybe 2 or 3 others. And that might have to be it. Perhaps one of those books could be one which is part of a series, whether that’s resuming the Shardlake series by getting on with Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom, or reading one of several YA series I own…

The books on the list before I had an overhaul could have priority for when I want to start or resume a book, I guess, but I’m going to have to cut things right down and not take on too many books. I can read a few at a time, have been able to since my uni days, but I can’t really have a massive list of ongoing books, or most of them won’t actually be ongoing!

Well, perhaps I should get down to a spot of literary action. Those books aren’t going to read themselves, are they?! Well, not unless they’re wizarding books which have had a self-reading charm cast upon them, but I’m a muggle, not a Hogwarts student, so I haven’t got any of those kind of books, sadly! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

P.S. Happy Birthday to Stephen King! Perhaps I should start one of his books? Maybe On Writing would be the place to start? I do have a couple of his (non-horror) novels on my TBR list, too.

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Gold – Chris Cleave
  • The Other Hand (aka Little Bee) – Chris Cleave
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • On Writing – Stephen King

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Beach Huts, Angry Chefs, and Bargain Books!

Coffee cake and books August 2017

Coffee, cream cake, and bargain books…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another blog entry as August is  upon us which means I’ve been blogging for seven years now! As I think I mentioned recently, I started this blog in August 2010, shortly after I had become an auntie! The other anniversary which will be coming up very soon, this coming week in fact, will be my 10th anniversary of joining Facebook!

Not that I use it much now, but I joined Twitter in early 2009, and I think I joined Instagram some time in either 2011 or 2012. I was certainly still working in Chorlton when I first joined Instagram, so it was definitely before the summer of 2012. I post photos of various things on there, but a lot of them are book-related, I am a regular Bookstagrammer, so if any of you wish to follow me, you can do so. I’m joannedj1973 on Instagram.

Before we go any further, congratulations to Sir Mo Farah, 10k World Champion 2017!

* does celebratory Mobot *

He seemed to do it the hard way, though. Mind you, I’m more than used to seeing United do that, lol! We still need another player, a fourth signing, before the transfer window closes on 31st August, so perhaps it’s time to do some more Gnome vs Book challenges to encourage Mr Woodward to get his arse in gear once again?!

I finished the beach hut bookmark on 2nd August, but the above two photos are from when I was in the process of stitching it. I got ideas from a mixture of charts and motifs. Did consider putting something between the writing and the waves, perhaps a small shell or a crab, or something, but decided not to in the end. I was particularly pleased with the waves. I adapted them from part of a design I found. The row of waves on the chart was slightly longer than what I needed, but I could fit 3 on my design, and they make a nice border at the bottom!

The hut itself was improvised, adding the life ring and panels in the door, plus seagulls above the hut. I chose my own colour scheme, too. Usually, when I “hit the hut”, I am off for a pizza, lol, but I had actually been to a beach hut, hence the theme of the bookmark and my decision to resume Veronica Henry‘s novel.

Hit the Hut 3

This photo featuring the finished bookmark and the corresponding novel, The Beach Hut, in which I am now using the bookmark, was put on Instagram, and has been liked by the author herself, Veronica Henry even commenting to say she liked the bookmark! Yay! I have also had likes and responses on Instagram from Keris Stainton, author of One Italian Summer, which I read and enjoyed recently. Authors liking my Bookstagram posts! Woo-hoo! Our Ellie has put in a request for The Beach Hut when I’ve finished reading it, although she’s still reading I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović at the moment. My mum has recently finished reading Red, Gary Neville‘s autobiography, which she had been borrowing from me, and had read outdoors in our garden during some recent nice weather!

The Beach Hut has now been resumed, with a current slight increase to 35%. I have started A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, which is at 16%, and has thus been added to the Ongoing Concerns list. I have also started Dark Fire, the second book in the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, but as I’ve yet to reach the 10% stage on that one, it will have to wait a little longer to join the list. It will be our book club meeting this coming Wednesday, 9th August, so if I like what we end up reading, that could become a temporary 7th OC, but this list is not going to get out of hand like it used to do.

I also have to remember not to neglect existing OCs. I still need to make progress with Periodic Tales, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Neither Here Nor There! I feel there is a particular need to get on with Me and Earl. Perhaps a major YA session is called for, with me focussing on the Jesse Andrews novel, along with making more progress with A Quiet Kind of Thunder.

With Book Club looming, I managed not to buy anything from Waterstone’s earlier, but I certainly made notes for future purchases! 5 YA novels and one non-fiction book caught my eye, the factual book being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which is about how so much “information” about foods and diets on the internet is a load of male bovine excrement! Some of the things which online quacks claim are good for us are either harmful or, at best, not doing us anywhere near as much good as their supporters make out! There is a review on the front of the book from Jay Rayner, whose book, The Ten (Food) Commandments, I read towards the end of last year when I could only manage non-fiction books after my epic Book Hangover which I suffered once I’d finished A Little Life! I might see if the rest of the book club can be convinced to give The Angry Chef a go – I’m pretty sure it’s been a while since we did some non-fiction.

I still intend to get around to resuming Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam, though. It is definitely on the agenda once a non-fiction book comes off the OC List! That has not changed.

Charity shop bargains August 2017

However, just because I didn’t buy anything at Waterstone’s does NOT mean I did not purchase any reading matter! On the contrary, I picked up these two bargains for 20p each from the bargain basket of the Salvation Army charity shop in Eccles! At only 20p, I thought I’d give The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker, a chance to join my TBR list at the very least, lol! The other book, Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy, by Ally Carter, is the second in the Gallagher Girls series about the spy school, so I was particularly chuffed to pick that one up for only 20p! Epic Win!

Well, I am off to attend to my reading matter, so that’s about all for now! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Red – Gary Neville
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker
  • Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy – Ally Carter

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