2018, Reading Challenge

It’s Sherlock Holmes Day!

Today is Sherlock Holmes Day; According to this source, today is the 5th Sherlock Holmes Day after the event was created as a mini event run by Gaia Online, a forum and gaming site celebrating the wonderful Air Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth date.

Sherlock Holmes by Josh Hood

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the man himself, said that the character was originally based on a real man, Mr Joseph Bell, who was a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh and for whom he had worked for as an assistant. He, like Holmes, was able to draw complex and surprising conclusions based solely on minute observations which made excellent reading, along with the relationship between his friend and confident, Dr Watson and arch nemesis, Moriarty.

The first Holmes book was published in 1887 and continued until the authors death nearly 40 years later.  A complete list of the books (and stories) is below – how many have you read?

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

  • “A Scandal in Bohemia”
  • “The Red-Headed League”
  • “A Case of Identity”
  • “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”
  • “The Five Orange Pips”
  • “The Man with the Twisted Lip”
  • “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”
  • “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”
  • “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb”
  • “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”
  • “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet”
  • “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”

 

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

  • “Silver Blaze”
  • “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”
  • “The Adventure of the Yellow Face”
  • “The Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk”
  • “The Adventure of the Gloria Scott”
  • “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual”
  • “The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle”
  • “The Adventure of the Crooked Man”
  • “The Adventure of the Resident Patient”
  • “The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter”
  • “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty”
  • “The Adventure of the Final Problem”

 

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

  • “The Adventure of the Empty House”
  • “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder”
  • “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”
  • “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”
  • “The Adventure of the Priory School”
  • “The Adventure of Black Peter”
  • “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton”
  • “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”
  • “The Adventure of the Three Students”
  • “The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez”
  • “The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter”
  • “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange”
  • “The Adventure of the Second Stain”

 

His Last Bow (a.k.a The Reminiscence of Sherlock Holmes)

  • “The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge”
  • “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”
  • “The Adventure of the Red Circle”
  • “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans”
  • “The Adventure of the Dying Detective”
  • “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax”
  • “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot”
  • “His Last Bow”

 

The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes

  • “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone”
  • “The Problem of Thor Bridge”
  • “The Adventure of the Creeping Man”
  • “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire”
  • “The Adventure of the Three Garridebs”
  • “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client”
  • “The Adventure of the Three Gables”
  • “The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier”
  • “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane”
  • “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman”
  • “The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger”
  • “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place”

 

Sherlock Holmes Novels

 

As yo know, I love me a bit of a challenge and so I thought I would do a mid-year one to celebrate this wonderful character who also happens to be one of my Dad’s favourites!  I am going to read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories between now and next ‘Sherlock Holmes Day’ .. Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – care to join me?

I have already got 3 books on my shelves (The Adventures, The Return and The Memoirs) and I’m pretty sure my dad has 2 different copies of a complete compendium so will be snaffling that when I can too. I also recently downloaded the new-ish Stephen Fry Audiobook – its 72hrs long but has absolutely everything so will be a useful thing to have in my back pocket!

**Some links may contain affiliate links**

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2018

The Duchess of Sussex’s Favourite Books

Now that the furore of he weekend has calmed a little, I thought I would share my thoughts on a list of books that I found that are apparently The Duchess of Sussex’s favourite books.  She shared this list on her Lifestyle Blog, The Tig, which unfortunately closed in early 2017 when her relationship with her now husband got serious.

This list is from 2016 – it would be interesting to hear from her now to see if things have changed at all min 2 years – whether new books have made the list or her circumstances have changed the way she views reading! But for now … on with the list:

  1. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery – “I have long been obsessed with this book, and specifically with The Little Fox. Even if I don’t revisit the entire existential text (masked as a children’s book), the chapter of The Little Fox unearths a truth in me that is always worth the check-in. And if my vouching for it doesn’t give it the badass quality you’re looking for, the film remake is due to be released soon with a star-studded cast. So there ya go, fancy pants.” I haven’t read this but have heard a lot about it so should perhaps make an effort to!
  2. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – “My mom gave me a copy of this book when I was 13-years-old and to this day, I constantly circle back to the Don Miguel Ruiz classic for the simplest ways to simplify your life.” I haven’t even heard of this one – my knowledge of ‘classics’ is terrible and definitely something I need to work on!
  3. The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard – “Annoyed by your self-doubt and distractions? The noise that keeps you from reaching your potential? Okay, so yeah. Me too. Even on my most Sasha Fierce days there’s a mean little voice in there going, ‘Hmmm…I’m not sure if you can, or should, or if you’re good enough to.'” Again I haven’t particularly heard of this but by the sounds of it, I should read it!  It’s nice to hear that people that we deem as successful have bad self-doubt days sometimes!
  4. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff – “Aspects of Taoism told through the characters of Winnie the Pooh – I mean, does it get better?” I couldn’t agree more!
  5. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D. – “A professor at Northwestern University had this book on our list of required reading for an Industrial Engineering class I took my junior year of college. It was a seemingly odd choice, but at the end of the day, the takeaway was a self-empowerment and motivational bent that I apply to decision making in my life to this very day. It’s an invaluable quick read.” Again not heard of it but I think if I had I would have been attracted by that title!

Have you read any (or all) of these books? What did you think of them?

2018, Sunday Roundup

Sunday Roundup 1

I thought I would do a Sunday post each week to sum up the bookish things that I have done in the past week.  This will mean that I won’t post Hauls, Wrap-ups and Currently Reading posts separately, but will include those details in this weekly post too. If there is something missing that you would like me to include, do give me a shout!

**Some of the links in this blog are affiliate links**

Incoming Books:

Outgoing Books:

Finished Books:

Currently Reading:

Readathons & Challenges:

Exciting Bookish News:

Newly Released Books I want to Read:

Upcoming Releases of Note:

 

Competitions I’ve Entered:

Sales & Good Deals I Know About:

My Loves of the Week:

  • I have done a lot of reading on my Kindle Fire this week – It really is wonderful and I am so glad I spent the money on it at the end of last year!
  • This is totally non-bookish (although there have been some books published) but I have been attempting to catchup on the final 3 series of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – I boycotted it for a long time when Grissom left but after happening upon a couple of episodes on TV the other day, I decided that the time was right and so have been watching a couple of episodes a day and am LOVING IT!

And finally.. a bookish quote of the week..

“Life’s so busy, I don’t think it matters if you’re eight or 80, the world just moves so fast nowadays. I think the most important thing is to give yourself time to read.” 

Dermot O’Leary

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2018, Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane

I’m really honoured to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane’ which is coming out on 10th May – Pre-order it here.

The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane

The Blurb:

New Beginnings

Mia Ward is amazed to be told she has inherited her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She’s even more astonished to discover she’ll only inherit the place if she actually lives there for one year. Mia’s a city girl at heart, not to mention she’s afraid of water, so the fact the cottage backs on to a sandy beach, is not, in her opinion, a bonus.

But Mia’s struggling to pay her rent since being fired for inappropriate behaviour at the office party, and her boyfriend’s also dumped her. When her best friend, Ella and Ella’s brother, Garrick offer to help her move and settle in, Mia decides to see this as a new beginning.

It may also be the start of an exciting adventure because now Mia wants to know just who, exactly, was great-aunt Matilda. And she’s determined to find out. But it soon becomes clear that someone is trying to make sure Mia doesn’t stay in Little Pondale….

Author Bio:

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.”

When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

You can find Emily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

2018, Friends, Sidmouth Library

Library Friends

Recently, I was asked by my local Library to consider taking on the position of Chairman of their ‘Friends of the Library’ group. I have to admit that initially I was reluctant – I do a lot of charity work and even work with a lot of local groups as part of my business, so taking on another role in the local community felt like it might be too much .. but then I remembered … BOOKS!

It’s all happened quite quickly and I shall be voted in on the 10th May but yesterday I went along to a regional meeting of local friends’ groups and had a great time! I got to have a good chat with our wonderful Librarian, Carol, and get to know her more – we discovered that we are pretty similar in personality which I suppose shouldn’t be such a surprise as we are both avid readers and book lovers!

I also got the chance to meet the people that run our local libraries in Devon, Libraries Unlimited.

Libraries Unlimited is a new and independent staff and community owned charity, established in April 2016. We are a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Our formally registered name is Libraries Unlimited South West.

Our mission is to bring ideas, imagination, knowledge and creativity to people’s lives and communities through our six core purposes:

  • Promoting and encouraging a love of reading
  • Providing free access to information to help people in their everyday lives
  • Inspiring people of all ages to learn, imagine, create, succeed and realise their potential
  • Guiding and supporting people to explore and connect to the wider world
  • Offering a welcoming space to meet, socialise, learn, read and enjoy new experiences
  • Supporting the health and wellbeing of individuals and local communities.

It was lovely hearing form the Chairman (Julie Dent), the CEO (Ciara Eastell), the Fundraising Director and Marketing Department – it made me realise that they’re not just saying thank you and running off, they spent the entire morning with us, thanking us for our help and support and making us feel really part of the team – hats off to them for that for sure!

It was really lovely meeting and chatting with the other friends groups too – as a total newbies I listened intently and wrote many notes of ideas and questions and feel that I have a lot of thoughts and ideas to take to the committee as soon as I am voted in – I hope they realise what they have let themselves in for!

In the last 10 mins or so I ended up chatting with the Ciara and Julie and the fact that I write this blog slipped out .. they both asked me for the address and I reluctantly gave it to them so if they are reading this ..

HELLO!

Do you have a Library friends group where you live and if so, are you involved?  What events do you run?  Do you have any suggestions I can steal?

2018

I *Think I’m Back!

So it’s been a while since I blogged here telling you that I was suffering with readers block and in all honesty, it has continued to (pretty much) this day.  I managed to get through a couple of Audiobooks which I will review in future posts but as for actually reading a book, not so much.  I can’t tell you why.. but I have recently picked up a book and have enjoyed reading again so I am hoping that I am sorted now!

Although I haven’t been reading, I have ben staying oil touch with new releases, reading blogs and keeping up with BookTube videos too.  One such video that I happened to see was Simon from Savage Reads talking about a couple fo things, but the thing that caught my attention was the ‘Read to Sleep‘ challenge.

The challenge came to be after the organiser read an article starring that just six minutes of reading immediately before sleep reduces stress by a whopping 68%!  I don’t know about you but I am terrible for looking at my phone before I go to sleep, even if I try and promise myself not to and switching off the blue light really doesn’t make a difference!  As April is Stress Awareness Month, it seems perfect to do this now!

So the challenge is this – from today for 1 week, read for (at least) 6 minutes before going to sleep and DO NOT then go back and look at your phone!  You can read anything you like – a kindle, newspaper, magazine, non fiction book or anything that causes you to sit back, relax and just read.  Not only with this help with relaxing but I’m hoping if I can get back into a pre-sleep reading routine, it will also help me ease back into more regular reading.

If you would also like to take part, please do and let the organisers know by using the hashtag #readtosleepweek in your posts. Good Luck!

2018, Reading Challenge, Short Story

“Deal Me In!” Short Story Reading Challenge!

So as you know, I love setting myself challenges and I try to do this do extend myself into unchartered territory and to try new things (such as reading Les Mis)!

Another thing that I don’t have a huge amount of experience with is short stories.  I mean I have read many short stories, but not in any specific way and also not as part of a collection, so when I saw this challenge, I thought it would be a great way to experience more.

The details from the site:

What is the goal of the challenge?

To read 52 short stories in 2018 (that’s only one per week)

What is the purpose?

To have FUN and to be exposed to new authors and stories and maybe get in the habit of reading a short story a week.

What do I need?

1) Access to at least fifty-two short stories
2) A deck of cards
3) An average of perhaps as little as just thirty minutes of reading time each week

So, as previously stated, I don’t own many collections of short stories so may have to rely on some of the resources the challenge owner Jay kindly posted for us.

I think I will probably post monthly to update the stories that I have read and make it a ‘Last Saturday of the Month’ – Short Story Saturday thing .. but time will tell!

Either way, here is my list for 2018!

♦♦♦Diamonds♦♦♦

For Christmas, my brother got me “Uncommon Type” by Tom Hanks.  I have been wanting to read this for a long time and so look forward to being able to spread this out over time as I think I will love them!  There are 13 stories in the book with 3 additional pieces that are newspaper cuttings, which will not be included

♦A♦ – Three Exhausting Weeks

♦2♦ – Christmas Eve

♦3♦ – A Junket in the City of Light

♦4♦ – Welcome to Mars

♦5♦ – A Month on Greene Street

♦6♦ – Alan Bean Plus Four

♦7♦– Who’s Who?

♦8♦ – A Special Weekend

♦9♦ – These are the Meditations of my Heart

♦10♦ – The Past is Important To Us

♦J♦ – Stay With Us

♦Q♦ – Go See Costas

♦K♦ –  Steve Wong is Perfect

♠♠♠Spades♠♠♠

When I started reading Book Blogs and watching BookTube Videos, I quickly came across Jen Campbell who wrote “The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night“. There are only 12 stories in this book so I am leaving one as a ‘Wild Card’ which means that when I pick it, I can go in search of a story to read ‘off the cuff’ or one recommended by YOU!

♠A♠ – Animals

♠2♠ – Jacob

♠3♠ – Plum Pie, Zombie Tree, Yellow Bee, Purple Monster

♠4♠ – In the Dark

♠5♠ – Margaret and Mary and the End of the World

♠6♠ – Little Deaths

♠7♠ – The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

♠8♠ –  Pebbles

♠9♠ –  ** WILD CARD **

♠10♠ – Aunt Libby’s Coffin Hotel

♠J♠ –  Sea Devils

♠Q♠ – Human Satellites

♠K♠ – Bright White Hearts

♥♥♥Hearts♥♥♥

I love Jeffrey Archer’s writing and I have had “To Cut a Long Story Short” on my TBR shelf for some time so now is the time I can have a crack at it!  There are actually 15 stories in this collection so a couple will spill over into the ‘Clubs’ category .. which will be a mixture of all sorts of things!

(* = Based on a true story)

♥A♥– Death Speaks

♥2♥ – The Expert Witness*

♥3♥ – The Endgame

♥4♥ – The Letter

♥5♥ – Crime Pays*

♥6♥ – Chalk & Cheese

♥7♥ – A Change of Heart*

♥8♥ – Too Many Coincidences*

♥9♥ – Love at First Sight*

♥10♥ – Both Sides Against the Middle*

♥J♥ –  A Weekend to Remember*

♥Q♥ –  Something for Nothing*

♥K♥ – Other Blighters’ Efforts

♣♣♣Clubs♣♣♣

For me, this category is going to be a bit of a mixture; some from Jeffrey Archer (JA), some from “The Seven Deadly Sins: A Celebration of Virtue & Vice” by various authors (7DS) and some found on the internet.

(* = Based on a true story)

♣A♣ – The Reclining Woman* – JA

♣2♣ – The Grass is Always Greener – JA

♣3♣ – Sloth by Tod McEwan (7DS)

♣4♣ – Wrath by John Sutherland (7DS)

♣5♣ –  Envy by Ali Smith (7DS)

♣6♣ –  Gluttony by Martin Rowson (7DS)

♣7♣ – ** WILD CARD **

♣8♣ – Greed by Dylan Evans (7DS)

♣9♣ – Lust by David Flusfeder (7DS)

♣10♣ – Vanity by Nicola Barker (7DS)

♣J♣ – I’ll Be Waiting by Raymond Chandler (here)

♣Q♣ – I Go Adventuring by Helen Keller (here)

♣K♣ – Death in the SchoolRoom. by Walt Whitman (here)

 

So there you have it .. tune in throughout the year to see how I am getting on, and why not get involved yourself?!