The Lily Bard Mysteries Omnibus Review

The Lily Bard Mysteries Omnibus by Charlaine Harris review
The Lily Bard Mysteries Omnibus by Charlaine Harris, ISBN 9780575096448, 935pp

For Christmas my husband gave me The Lily Bard Mysteries Omnibus (along with a whole stack of other books). This bumper bind-up includes five books by Charlaine Harris. For those of you who don’t know, Charlaine wrote the Sookie Stackhouse series of thirteen books which the TV series True Blood was based on. She’s also written a few more series.

The five Lily Bard books in this 935 page brick of a book include:

  1. Shakespeare’s Landlord
  2. Shakespeare’s Champion
  3. Shakespeare’s Christmas
  4. Shakespeare’s Trollop
  5. Shakespeare’s Counselor

These five stories revolve around Lily Bard, who is a plain speaking, tough woman in her thirties who runs a cleaning business. She lives in a sleepy little town named Shakespeare which is located in Arkansas. Lily always seems to get involved in the murders and mysteries that crop up in this small town. She is also the survivor of a brutal attack that left her scarred and in the news a few years ago and she came to Shakespeare for a fresh start. Continue reading

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle Review

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton review
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, ISBN 9781408889510, 510pp

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle* by Stuart Turton is a book which defies classification. It’s uniqueness will have you puzzling out an unpredictable mystery and at the mercy of an unconventional plot. It’s a hybrid of a book which mixes a classic whodunnit with Groundhog Day, Downton Abbey and The Good Place.

This complicated mystery is set in a once great, but now moldering, manor named Blackheath House. Every night Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered at a party thrown by her parents. This happens every night at the same time. Each day Aiden Bishop, inhabiting the body of a different guest (host), has to try to figure out who the murderer is. He will finally be allowed to escape this ongoing time loop and leave Blackheath once he identifies the murderer. But he is not the only one tasked with solving the murder and other people are bent on stopping him by any means necessary. Continue reading

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier Review

Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier review
Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier, ISBN 9780349006598, 272 pp

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier is my first read of 2019. I read this a long time ago, so was happy to do a re-read as I had forgotten most of the plot. I’m so glad that I read this again as it was a fantastic read which I enjoyed so much.

Frenchman’s Creek is a rollicking, swashbuckling adventure set during the Restoration period in England. Lady Dona St Columb, the mother of two small children, is fed up with the shallow life she leads at Court. She is known for being a daring woman who drinks with her husband, his friends and their mistresses and is known to engage in wild escapades. Continue reading

My 2019 Bookish Resolutions

My penguin clothbound classics

Happy New Year everyone! In 2018 I read 105 books. I enjoyed reading books across many different genres from YA to historical fiction to romance. In 2019 I want to read more books from my unread shelf. I have so many books that have been waiting patiently for my attention, many of them classics, and this is the year that I want to get stuck into them.

Last year I set myself the challenge of reading 60 books and ended up blowing that goal out of the water. But classics take me a bit more time to read than modern books. For that reason I’m going to set my goal at 70 books this year so I don’t feel too much pressure.

Books that are on my to be read pile in 2019 include:

Classics on my shelf that I want to read

  1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  2. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  4. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  6. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  7. Nineteen-Eighty Four by George Orwell (re-read)
  8. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (re-read)
  9. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (re-read)
  10. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  11. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (re-read)
  12. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  13. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  14. Persuasion by Jane Austen (re-read)
  15. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (re-read)
  16. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (re-read)
  17. Emma by Jane Austen (re-read)
  18. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (re-read)
  19. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  20. The Iliad by Homer (re-read)
  21. The Odyssey by Homer (re-read)
  22. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
  23. The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier
  24. The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
  25. The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
  26. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier (re-read)

Fiction & Crime fiction on my shelf that I want to read

  1. My Jojo Moyes collection

    The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

  2. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
  3. Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
  4. The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries by Charlaine Harris (11 books in the series!)
  5. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  6. Foreign Fruit by Jojo Moyes
  7. The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes
  8. Paris for One by Jojo Moyes
  9. The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (re-read)
  10. Crimson Lake by Candice Fox
  11. The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (and the next few books if I like this one)
  12. The Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes (re-read)
  13. The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes (re-read)
  14. The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes (re-read)
  15. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
  16. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

YA fiction on my shelf that I still need to read

  1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  2. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  3. Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge
  4. The Rift by Rachael Craw
  5. Dry by Neal Shusterman

Books from my husband’s shelf that I might read

  1. Misery by Stephen King
  2. Carrie by Stephen King
  3. The Shining by Stephen King
  4. The Outsider by Stephen King
  5. Elevation by Stephen King

There are a lot more books but I’ll see how I go! There are only so many weeks in a year!

Books I want to get (even though I already have so many books to read)

  1. The Wicked King by Holly Black (the sequel to The Cruel Prince)
  2. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (I loved The Hating Game so really want to get this when it comes out at the end of January).
  3. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks (I enjoyed The Wife Between Us so look forward to getting this book some time soon).
  4. Becoming by Michelle Obama (I’m hoping to get my hands on this biography and devour it).
  5. Mythos by Stephen Fry and Heroes by Stephen Fry (I love Greek mythology and have had my eye on these books for a while. Maybe this is the year I get them!)
  6. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (This book looks so intriguing and I’m seeing it everywhere. I’ll keep my eye out for an inexpensive copy).
  7. The Wedding Date and The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (These books are all over bookstagram and look like the perfect, frothy holiday reads. I might get them ahead of my holiday in March).
  8. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (This is a New York Times #1 bestseller that I’m seeing everywhere. It looks like a powerful book so I’m hoping to grab a copy at some stage).

I’ll leave my list here for now. I’m going to try very hard to read books that I already own but I’m an impulsive reader who is easily swayed by what other booklovers are reading. So I’m not going to be too hard on myself if I buy too many new books. Still, I will give this list my best shot.

 

What about you? What are your bookish resolutions for 2019? I’d love to hear them.

My Best Reads of 2018 (September to December)

Just in the nick of time before 2018 closes, I want to share my favourite reads from September to December 2018. Simply click on the links below to read the original reviews. These books are in no particular order and all were amazing in their own unique way.

1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng review
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Category: Fiction

This was a recent read of mine which I devoured. It’s about a Chinese American family dealing with the death of sixteen-year-old Lydia Lee and trying to find their way back to each other. I couldn’t put this down.

Read this if you want a beautifully written novel about a family in crisis.


2. The Lost Man by Jane Harper

The Lost Man by Jane Harper review
The Lost Man by Jane Harper, ISBN 9781743549100, 366pp

Category: Crime/Mystery

The Lost Man is Jane Harper’s third novel and it’s her best book yet. I read this in 24 hours because I was hooked on trying to solve the mystery. I thought that The Dry was good, Force of Nature was even better, but The Lost Man is now my favourite. My husband read this as well and we both gave it 5 stars.

Verdict: A top-notch mystery that you have to read!


3. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoag review
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoag, ISBN 9781786496768, 321pp

Category: Romance

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It’s a romance with lots of steamy scenes but it has enough differences to make it stand out. For starters, the female protagonist has Asperger’s and her love interest is a male Asian American gigolo. It’s a twist on the Pretty Woman story and is a lot of fun.

Verdict: Read this if you want a romance book with an unconventional plot


4. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han Review
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Category: Young Adult

After watching and loving the Netflix movie based on this book, I just had to read the whole series. It was such a fun, sweet coming-of-age novel. I don’t read a huge amount of YA books but I really enjoyed this series.

Verdict: A thoroughly enjoyable YA read.


5. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty review
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, ISBN 9781743534922, 493pp

Category: Fiction

Liane Moriarty is one of my automatic-buy authors. I loved this latest book set at a wellness retreat and told from the point-of-views of nine strangers. It explores so many different themes such as: grief and loss, love and family, loneliness and identity. It’s funny, entertaining and sad.

Verdict: Another brilliant book from one of my favourite authors.


6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi book review
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. ISBN 9780241975237, 305pp

Category: Historical fiction

Homegoing tells the story of two branches of an African family starting from the 18th century. One family line stays in Ghana, the other deals with the hardship of America and slavery. Each chapter tells the story of a different descendant, both men and women, and keeps going from the 18th century through to the present day. I learned a lot from reading this novel.

Verdict: A beautifully written, powerful novel.

 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

If not, what great books have you read lately?

Further reading:

My Best Reads of 2018 (January to April)

My Best Reads of 2018 (May to August)

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes Review

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes review
Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes, ISBN 9780340960356, 500pp

My husband bought Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes for me from a second-hand bookstore online. It’s her very first novel and I had never heard of it before. I love Jojo Moyes books so I was excited to get stuck into this one.

Sheltering Rain tells the story of three women from the same family. There’s Joy who grew up in Hong Kong and meets her husband Edward, a naval officer, in the 1950s. We later meet her as an elderly woman who lives in Ireland with her husband and looks after horses. There’s Joy’s daughter, Kate, who lives in London with her daughter and is going through relationship problems. And there’s Kate’s daughter Sabine, who is fifteen-years-old and has a whole heap of attitude. She is sent for a short visit to see the grandparents she barely knows as her mother doesn’t have much of a relationship with Joy. Continue reading

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan Review

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan book review
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan, ISBN 97800062740649, 323pp

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan tells the story of American Ella Durran who goes to Oxford to study on a Rhodes scholarship. It’s meant to be a short academic year stay to make her resume look great and to fulfill a childhood dream to study at Oxford. Even though she’s only twenty-four she is asked to help out on a political campaign back home in America where there’s a high chance the candidate could become the next president. So she’s studying at Oxford, helping in a political campaign and a bright future is mapped out for her when she gets back home. Continue reading

20 Bookish Problems That All Bookworms Understand

bookworm problem mismatched books
When your book series is not the same size

I’m always talking about how much I love books. But like everyone else, sometimes I get annoyed by the little things. These bookish problems are certainly not the end of the world but some days they can make me go aargh!

Today in the spirit of getting them off my chest, I’m listing my bookish pet peeves.  So here they are in no particular order: Continue reading