20 books of summer 2022: my list

I’ve been looking forward a lot to Cathy’s announcement of 20 books of summer. Not only because summer is my favourite season and reading while trying not to spill my sun cream, or even better ice cream, on my book is one of my happy places. This is just such a nice challenge in which a lot of other book bloggers are taking part and encourage each other.

Have you never heard of 20 books of summer before? Well, the good thing is that there are almost no rules ūüėÖ. The concept is to compile a list of 10, 15 or 20 books. And then read and review these books before the 1st of September.

All the fun is off course in creating the list and in not sticking to it ūüėõ. But well, I created my list at the beginning of May and decided to list 20 books. And then aim to read at least 10 of them. Last year I finished 14 books during summer, which is A LOT. Mainly because I didn’t go on holiday in 2021 and thus spent a lot of my free time to reading. This year, I know I won’t have the same amount of time, so I’ve set the bar a lot lower for myself. 10 books will do.

This is my full list of books, in a random order.

  • Mrs England by Stacey Halls (Kindle copy)
  • Cloud cuckoo land by Anthony Doerr (physical copy)
  • Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (library)
  • The price of blood by Patricia Bracewell (Kindle copy)
  • City of masks by S.D. Sykes (Kindle copy)
  • And then there were none by Agatha Christie (for the classics club, physical copy)
  • The house with the golden door by Elodie Harper (Netgalley ARC)
  • The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (library)
  • Heartstone by S.J. Sansom (library)
  • The heretic wind by Judith Arnopp (Kindle copy)
  • The honey and the sting by Elizabeth Fremantle (physical copy)
  • The devil and the dark water by Stuart Turton (library)
  • Anne Boleyn, a king’s obsession by Alison Weir (library)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (for the classics club, Kindle copy)
  • The puritan princess by Miranda Mallins (Kindle copy)
  • The royal secret by Andrew Taylor (library)
  • A column of fire by Ken Follett (physical copy)
  • Stone blind by Nathalie Haynes (Netgalley ARC)
  • The reindeer hunters by Lars Mytting (library)
  • Circe by Madeline Miller (physical copy)

I’m curious to see where this challenge will end for me. Bring on the summer.

Have you made your list yet? With which book do I need to start my challenge?

April recap

Hi all, April was a crazy month at work, so I had slightly less time for reading. I stopped reading classics for a while and just worked my way through a library haul of some more recent books.

Read(ing)

The wolf den was definitely my favourite book of the month. It is set in the ancient city of Pompeii and tells the story of 5 women in a brothel who are trying to survive. Next, I discovered the existence of stave churches in 19th century Norway and read about the Wars of the Roses in the next installment of the Kingmaker series. At the moment, I’m finishing Ariadne, a Greek myth retelling that I’m enjoying a lot so far.

Number of pages read: 1.540 pages
Number of books finished: 3
Favorite read: The wolf den
Centuries visited: 1ste century, 15th century and 19th century
Countries visited: England, Italy and Norway
Currently reading: Ariadne by Jeniffer Saint (almost finished)
Next up: Probably ‘I, Eliza Hamilton’, as it was on my TBR for 2022.

Reviewed

Watched

  • I’ve started watching ‘Poldark’ again. It seems I forgot some things about season 1.

Added to my TBR

What have you read in April?

March recap

Hi all! April started in Belgium with a bit of snow and now a week of rain. I hope for some sunshine in the coming weeks. I’m in a bit of reading slump because work is crazy as is the construction of my home, so sometimes I’m just too tired too read a few pages. The fact that I started a classic that wasn’t at all something for me, didn’t help.

Read(ing)

I still managed to finish 4 books during march. It’s difficult to choose a favourite but I think I’ll go for ‘The Tudor crown’, just because I enjoy Hickson’s books so much. But I discovered two new authors with Miranda Malins and Jennifer Saint of whom I both want to read other books.

I participated to the next classics club spin and got ‘Tender is the night’ from Fitzgerald as my lucky draw. I immediately started reading it, but it dragged on and on and after 30% I wasn’t enjoying anything about the novel anymore, so I decided to DNF it. As also ‘The trial’ and ‘Villette‘, my two previous classics failed to grip me, I’m a bit ‘done’ with my classics challenge at the moment. Reading should be fun, so I decided to let go of classics for a while. We’ll see what I pick up next.

Number of pages read: 1.817 pages
Number of books finished: 4
Favorite read: The Tudor crown
Centuries visited: Ancient Greece (B.C.), 15th century and 17th century
Countries visited: Greece, England and France
Currently reading: The wolf den by Elodie Harper
Next up: Maybe ‘the bell in the lake’ by Mytting

Reviewed

Blogged

Watched

  • I’m almost finished with ‘Domina’ about Livia Drusilla, wife of emperor Augustus. I’m so happy that there’s a new series about Ancient Rome. It’s very modern (just like Sisi) and the main actress her voice is a bit strange, but I still like it nonetheless.
  • Still going strong with ‘Downton Abbey’ (season 4)

Added to my TBR

Have you read a lot in March? Any favourites?

February recap

Hi all

February is the shortest month of the year and I actually don’t mind because I’m done with the Winter and I hope that April (Spring!) arrives soon now. I also try not to think too much about what’s happening in the world because it makes me sad beyond words. And I want to offer my support to everyone who suffers in some way from the war. What an awful word.

Read(ing)

I managed to finished 4 books of which ‘Wildevrouw’ is my favourite. It’s a historical novel only written in Dutch, so I’ll write no review about that one. But it is set in 16th Antwerp during the Great Iconoclasm.

Number of pages read: 1.448 pages
Number of books finished: 4
Favorite read: Wildevrouw
Centuries visited: 16th century, 17th century, 18th century and 20th century
Countries visited: England and Belgium
Currently reading: Villette by Charlotte Brönte for the classics club
Next up: Don’t know for sure, but I think I’ll pick a book from my physical shelves.

Reviewed

Watched

  • My boyfriend and me are still watching ‘Merlin’ and we’ve started The Borgias again (which is a first for him).
  • Looking forward to the new series of Outlander and The last kingdom and to Vikings: Valhalla.

Added to my TBR

  • The royal secret by Andrew Taylor (The next Marwood and Lovett)
  • The devil and the dark water by Stuart Turton. I haven’t read one of his books before, but this one seems something different for me that I would like to try.

What was your favourite read in February?

January recap

The first recap of 2022! January always feels like an extra long month or so and mostly this means that I can finish a lot of books. Which I did.

Read(ing)

The first days of January I was still recovering from the holidays but I also had some productive days at work and I managed to finish Anna Karenina. I also read two ARc’s this month ‘The hemlock cure’ and ‘The leviathan’. I didn’t like the first one, but enjoyed the atmosphere of the second. My favourite book of the month is ‘A tapestry of treason’, although the next Uhtred book proved again one of the best of the series.

Number of pages read: 2.228 pages
Number of books finished: 5
Favorite read: A tapestry of treason
Centuries visited: 10th century, 15th century, 17th century and 19th century
Countries visited: Russia and England
Currently reading: ‘The trial’ by Franz Kafka for the classics club
Next up: Probably: ‘Wildevrouw’ (A Dutch book set in 16th century Antwerp) or ‘The last protector’ by Andrew Taylor (both are on my shelves from the library).

Reviewed

Blogged

Watched

  • I started watching ‘Downton Abbey’ finally and am already in the middle of the second season. Late too the party, I know :).

Added to my TBR

  • I saw this historical mystery set in Tudor times in my library: The first horseman by D.K. Wilson. Not sure if this will be any good. Has anybody read it?
  • War of the wolf by Bernard Cornwell. Three more books to go in this series!

What was your favourite January read?

My 2022 TBR

Last year I made a TBR of 10 books for 2021. I listed ten books I wanted to prioritize from my never ending to read shelf. The focus was on ten books I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I managed to read 8 of them. Not too bad :). So I decided to make a new list for 2022 to see where I’ll end up in 365 days from now.

This is my 2022 list:

  1. The Tudor crown by Joanna Hickson

The sequel to ‘First of the Tudors‘ (which I rated with 5 stars last year) about the rise to the top of the Tudor dynasty during the Wars of the Roses. Apart from a more human Margaret Beaufort, I really hope to meet Jasper Tudor, Jane en their children again.

2. Anne Boleyn, a king’s obsession by Alison Weir

I still have this love-hate relationship with Alison Weir, but I liked the first book in this series about Catherine Of Aragon enough to move onto one of my favourites: Anne Boleyn. But I have never before read a novel with Anne portrayed as I have her in my mind. And I don’t expect Weir to do just that, but she’s welcome to surprise me ;).

3. Written in my own heart’s blood by Diana Gabaldon

I’m one of these Outlander fangirls. I love both the books and the Starz series. After finishing the 8th book, I decided to wait with this one as it was the last one published at the time. But now that ‘Go tell the bees that I’m gone’ is finally released, I can start WIMOHB! John Grey is one of my favourite characters so if you know how the last book ended, you can understand I’m anxious to read on :).

4. A column of fire by Ken Follett

Follett now takes us to Kingsbridge during the reign of Elizabeth I. After having loved ‘World without end‘ this year, I just want to continue this series. I know some characters will feel the same again, but for me Follett is pure entertainment.

5. A tapestry of treason by Anne ‘O Brien

Set during the same events as Queen of the North, we follow the rebellions against Henry IV through the eyes of Constance of York, lady Despenser. I didn’t like Constance as a character in Queen of the North, but I expect to sympathize more in this novel. I also don’t know a lot about her and the early York family, so I hope to learn more about them.

5. I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott

I was happy to add this to my kindle collection and then forgot about it :). I never really read about American women or America’s history, but I enjoyed the musical ‘Hamilton’ a lot. So it’s time to go to the other side of the Atlantic with my reading too.

6. Circe by Madeline Miller

Attentive readers know that this one was on my Christmas wishlist and I indeed got it as a gift from my boyfriend. I’m definitely going to read more than one Greek myth retelling, but Circe has been praised so much that it’s time to read it.

7. The honey and the sting by E.C. Fremantle

Another Christmas present was the hardcover version of ‘The honey and the sting’ ūüėć. I still have ‘Walk the lady’ to read from the same author, so I’ll take up one of these two in 2022. As you know, I have this obsession to always leave one book unread from my favourite authors.

8. The price of blood by Patricia Bracewell

This also made it to last year’s TBR, but I didn’t grab it in the kindle store and thus didn’t read it. But I’m still eager to continue the story of Emma Of Normandy.

9. Heartstone by C.J. Sansom

The next installment in the Matthew Shardlake series will bring us towards the end of Henry VIII’s reign and the war with France. I’m curious to see how Matthew and Barak will handle their next challenge.

10. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

After having enjoyed Mosse’s other series about the Huguenots Wars, I want to start the Languedoc trilogy of which Labyrinth is the first book. I don’t know if I will like it as much, but we’ll see.

Of course, I’ll also continue my classics club project, read some new releases and ARC’s and continue a few series (Marwood and Lovett, Oswald De Lacy, Kingmaker…).

Have you read any of these books? Which ones are on your TBR?