Happy New Year! Although it feels like 2012 is only a few years ago, I now have to write 2022 on top of every document at work. I hope 2022 will bring a good health, love and some fun. But I also hope I’ll read some great books and that I can continue to share my reading journey with you all.
Before we dive into the new year, it’s time to look back at my reading of December. I didn’t read as much as a normal month, but with good reason…
I started the month with a novel about Maria Feodorovna, set in Russia. C.W. Gortner again showed me why he’s one of my favourite authors. The Romanov empress received 5 stars and a spot in my top ten of 2021. Afterwards, I didn’t know what to read and I decided to focus again on my classics club project. I started Jamaica Inn and enjoyed it. And then, it was half December and I started Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I don’t know why but I tend to look for classic reads especially in December/January.
I kept up a good pace in Anna Karenina, until Christmas. But the week between Christmas and New Year always tends to be a difficult period for reading. So I slowed down and will only finish it in January.
Number of pages read: 1.320 pages Number of books finished: 2 Favorite read: The Romanov empress Centuries visited: 19th century, 20th century Countries visited: Russia and England Currently reading: ‘Anna Karenina’ Next up: Probably ‘The hemlock cure’, one of my Netgalley arcs
December is here, so we’re almost done with 2021. And I can admit that I’m really happy about that. 2021 wasn’t my year and with covid hanging around again like an old friend, I’m eagerly awaiting Spring. November felt like a more difficult month for reading, but I still managed to finish quite some books so this is more like a feeling than a fact.
I started the month with ‘Love in time of cholera’ for the classics club. I found this one easier to read than expected but had some feministic issues with the plot. Next, I read two library loans I was really looking forward to. I enjoyed ‘Where the crawdads sing’, but was disappointed by ‘The doll factory’. In between, I read ‘The butcher bird’ on the train, the next historical mystery in the Somershill manor mystery series about Oswald De Lacy. An entertaining light read.
Number of pages read: 1.410 pages Number of books finished: 4 Favorite read: ‘Where the crawdads sing‘ Centuries visited: 14th century, 19th century, 20th century, Countries visited: Columbia, England and America Currently reading: ‘The Romanov empress’ by C.W. Gortner Next up: I have no idea yet :).
I don’t know what it is with October but it always feels like the longest month ever. I’ve been wanting to write this recap a few times now, but then I noticed it was still two weeks to go or so. 😅 It’s getting dark real soon, and we got a lot of rain. I’m no autumn person, which makes me think I don’t belong in the book blogging community since everyone seems to enjoy crawling under a blanket with a hot chocolate and a book. I do like that sometimes, but I’m a summer person and I always will be. And summer is still so far away 😢.
Ah well, I did manage to make time for reading. But after World without end, it wasn’t easy to find my flow again. I even decided to DNF a certain book: ‘Dark queen watching‘ from Paul Doherty. Doherty was an author I’ve been wanting to read for a time and this was one of his Margaret Beaufort mysteries so I thought I could jump right into the story, as I know a lot about the Wars of the Roses. And yes, I could jump right in but I found out I didn’t like it at all. Doherty’s writing is fine, but his story is full of secret organizations wanting to massacre each other, not really knowing why because they have been doing that since the birth of Christ or so. If there is one trope that I really hate it is secret organizations (I’m looking at you Dan Brown) and in this book there was even some useless bloody violence. I’m not a quitter usually, but this time I gave up. But what did I manage to read? Well, I finished 5 books!
I really enjoyed ‘The damask rose’ and ‘Revelation’, I love both series and this were excellent parts. Also, Broken faith was the second book in the Kingmaker series, I did like it but it felt more like an in-between book. The catcher in the rye was an easy to read classic that did make me experience how a torn teenage boy may look at the world.
Number of pages read: 2.219 pages Number of books finished: 5 Favorite read: Revelation Centuries visited: 13th century, 15th century, 16th century and 20th century Countries visited: Ancient Greece, England and America Currently reading: ‘Love in time of cholera’, my CC Spin result. Next up: I have no idea yet :).
I’ve started Maximilian on Disney + about Emperor Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy
In Belgium, we now have our own historical series, which is also available in some countries on Netflix with English subtitles. It’s called ‘Thieves of the wood’ and is set in the 18th century. The main character is Jan De Lichte, some kind of Flemish Robin Hood.
Added to my TBR
Some new work from favourite authors, and some next installments in series I’ve been reading
September, that meant going back to the office most of the time and less corona measures. But also some sunny days and the cycling world championships in my city :D. So yes, this was a great month! I even managed to reach my reading challenge (in September yes, I also don’t know what got into me).
It’s an easy month to recap. Lolita was my 35th book of the year and so I surpassed my Goodreads reading challenge. I already can tell you this will be my best reading year ever. Thanks covid 😷, thanks bad weather ☔︎, thanks failed holidays… and thank God for books 😅🙏.
To celebrate I started a really big one. I love Ken Follett, but his books are heavy in pages. ‘World without end’ proved the perfect medieval escape during this busy month. ‘The collector’s daughter’ was a review copy of a much anticipated author for me. I read it during my train rides and enjoyed it. But maybe I had expected a bit more? I’ll definitely try another Gill Paul!
Number of pages read: 1.915 pages Number of books finished: 3 Favorite read: World without end Centuries visited: 14th century and 20th century Countries visited: England, America, Italy and Egypt Currently reading: The damask rose by Carol Mcgrath (and loving it) Next up: I hope to grab ‘Revelation’ at the library and I’m looking for my next classic
So summer is over, but I still need to look back at August. As you might have guessed from my 20 books of summer recap, this was a successful reading month. But in the end, this summer didn’t work out as I wanted in some way. We had so much bad weather, some troubles were on my mind and my boyfriend got sick during our the few days we would go on holiday. But well, here’s what I read :D.
I stared off with my classics club spin result ‘Treasure island’, which I enjoyed but the language was a bit too difficult for me at times. Then I finally got to ‘The scarlet contessa’, a novel about Catherina Sforza, one of my favourite historical figures.
My library haul just before my holidays included ‘Captive queen’, ‘A thousand ships’ and ‘Dit leven is van jou’ (the newest book of Tatiana De Rosnay in Dutch, translated from French. The book is not out yet in English, so I’ll not review it for the moment. But it was great, I finished it in one day!).
Number of pages read: 1.922 pages Number of books finished: 5 Favorite read: A thousand ships Centuries visited: Ancient Greece, 12th century, 15th century, 18th century and 21st century Countries visited: England, France, Italy and Greece Currently reading: ‘Lolita‘ for the classics club and ‘The collector’s daughter‘ (an e-arc I received via Netgalley). Next up: I might finally start ‘World without end’ as this was on my 20 books of summer list but I didn’t manage to pick it up. 20 books of summer: 14/20
I watched the BBC docuseries ‘The Boleyns, a scandalous family’. I liked the focus on Thomas Boleyn and his politics. I disliked the framing of Mary as the victim and Anne as the scheming one. Mary’s absence at the French court and her lying with the French king make for a whole different story. Also no mention of her two children whose father possibly was Henry VIII.
Added to my TBR
I was looking for some more Greek myth retellings #sorrynotsorry.
I almost forgot to write this, as I didn’t realize another month has passed. I don’t really have a summer feeling, apart from the fact that my 20 books of summer challenge is going great. We experienced some grave floods and a lot of people lost their homes. It made me extremely sad. 😢
But August is my favorite month with my summer holidays, birthday and this blog’s first anniversary apparently :D.
In terms of reading this was my best month so far as I’ve finished 5 books. All lighter entertaining reads that I enjoyed a lot. My favourite was ‘The city of tears’, closely followed by ‘The last daughter’. But I can’t say anything bad about the other books either. Great reading month!
Number of pages read: 2.016 pages Number of books finished: 5 Favorite read: The city of tears Centuries visited: Ancient Greece, 14th century, 15th century and 21st century Countries visited: England, France and Greece Currently reading: I’ve started my spin result ‘Treasure island’ Next up: One of my kindle books, but I’m not sure which one yet 20 books of summer: 9/20
Hi everyone! How are you? I can’t believe we’re already halfway 2021! I don’t feel the summer yet, as it’s raining in Belgium at least for two more weeks. 🙄 I really hope I can soon read in the garden under my favourite walnut tree for hours at an end. 🙏
It also seemed a sad month. Lucinda Riley passed away, being only in her fifties. The news from Hungary broke my heart. Love is love ❤️🏳️🌈.
The good news is I got vaccinated with the first dose and I al looking forward to the second (however strange this is to say). 🙌
I again had a great reading month. Still going strong with my 20 books of summer challenge. Although of course I actually don’t hope to come anywhere near those 20. I’m silently aiming at 15. But 12 or 13 would already be nice.
I have a clear favourite this month. ‘Cecily’ is still to come out in July but it tells the story of one of the most interesting women that played a part in the Wars of the Roses. I do hope Annie Garthwaite is here to stay as a historical fiction author.
I also have a clear disappointment and it’s Thomas Hardy’s famous ‘Far from the madding crowd’. It was one of the hardest reviews to write, because I know so many people love it and Hardy is such a great writer. But I just couldn’t stand the characters and didn’t like the plot at all. So this was hard to enjoy, despite the beautiful sentences. I’m sorry. Now you already know you can skip my review coming up if this is one of your favourites :D.
Number of pages read: 1.866 pages Number of books finished: 4 Favorite read: Cecily Centuries visited: 14th century, 15th century, 17th century and 19th century Countries visited: England, France, Ireland and the fictional county of Wessex (England) Currently reading: I’m finishing ‘Daughters of Sparta’, Claire Heywood’s Greek myth retelling of the lives of Helen and Clythemnestra of Sparta. I’m enjoying it. Next up: Probably ‘City of tears’ by Kate Mosse 20 books of summer: 4/20
Finally, the sun has arrived! I was so tired of all the cold and the rain. I’ll also have a week off at work in June, so I’m looking forward to reading in the sun in my garden. But rain or no rain, May was a great reading month. I read some fantastic books and am eager to share them with you.
I stranded at 4 books this month. First of the Tudors was the first one I finished and I’m already sure this will be in my top list at the end of the year. I really enjoyed learning more about the Welsh culture and the Tudor perspective so early in the Wars of the Roses. But actually, I loved every book I read in May. The burning chambers was a lovely surprise and would have made to my favorite in a normal month, but well Joanna Hickson grabs that spot this month.
Number of pages read: 2.026 pages Number of books finished: 4 Favorite read: First of the Tudors Centuries visited: 15th century, 16th century, 17th century and 18th century Countries visited: England and France Currently reading: The vanishing with by Karen Maitland, the first book for 20 books of summer! Next up: The crimson ribbon and afterwards I want to read my next classic.
Time for another monthly recap. It was a great reading month. Goodreads tells me I’m already 5 (!) books ahead of schedule which is great, especially when I’ve also read 5 classics so far.
I finished 5 books in April, although I already read the bulk of Winter Pilgrims in March. I also believe Winter Pilgrims was my favorite read, together with Protector, the newest Conn Iggulden coming out this month (us edition)!
I already finished my classics club spin ‘Lady Chatterley’s lover’ and will publish my review about it in May. But I can already say that it didn’t turn out as I expected. I believe that books written at the beginning of the 20th century aren’t my favorites.
Number of pages read: 1.554 pages Number of books finished: 5 Favorite read: Protector by Conn Iggulden Centuries visited: 1st century B.C., 15th century, 17th century and 20th century Countries visited: England, Norway and Greece Currently reading: I’ve just started ‘First of the Tudors’ by Joanna Hickson Next up: No idea yet actually :D.
I want to try Karen Maitland’s books, The vanishing witch seems an excellent introduction to her work.
I wasn’t sure at first to continue the kingmaker series but in the meantime I still think back to the story of Winter Pilgrims, so Broken faith is on my list now.
Links I enjoyed
I’m a huge England lover and I also love the English royals. So I was a bit sad to learn about Prince Philip’s death. He was such an interesting man: his Greek relatives, having fought during WWII… I read a lot of articles about his life but I didn’t keep any links :). I do recommend reading ‘Before the crown‘ though.
Hi there, I can’t believe it’s already April. I love spring, it seems like the world is waking up and I’m longing for a rather ‘normal’ summer. In Belgium, we are again in a four-week ‘lockdown’, but in the beginning of March I still managed to go to the office and visit the library, hooray!
Number of pages read: 1.518 pages Number of books finished: 4 Favorite read: Warriors of the storm by Bernard Cornwell Centuries visited: 10th century, 16th century, 17th century, 20th century and 21th century Countries visited: England and America Currently reading: I’ll finish Winter pilgrims by Toby Clemens somewhere this week Next up: The mercies, I could finally get my hands on this one in the library
I finished the strange adventures of H at the beginning of the month and enjoyed it. I’ll keep an eye on any new books from Sarah Burton. Then I started Amenable women from my 2021 TBR, but it turned out a huge disappointment. Luckily, the adventures of Uhtred in 10th century England enhanced my spirits again. Warriors of the storm is the 9th installment in the saxon series, but every bit as good as the first one. I read the color purple for the classics club and finished it in less than a week. Such an important story to be told.
After having read so many great reviews of ‘Daughters of the night’, I want to try this series myself. And I’d start off with the first book Blood and sugar.
The damask rose by Carol McGrath about Eleanor of Castilië will be published in April.
When looking for Toby Clemens in the library, I came across Catherine Clemens’ ‘the crimson ribbon‘. A story set during the English civil war. I didn’t take it home this time, but I might during one of my next visits.