Friday, 3 October 2014

September Review and a Look at October

Well, Autumn has hit. It's been cool and cloudy, the trees are changing colours and I go to work in the dark. I should probably get the lawn mowed one more time and put down the fertiliser and do an Autumn seeding. It's been kind of quiet at work so I find myself making new lists to help me prepare for my 2015 Reading Challenges (had a few thoughts but nothing too serious yet) and also starting to make up my initial Top Ten 2014 lists for year end.

Footie season is in full swing and I'm doing reasonably well in my Barclay's Premiership Footie pool. I made whole sale changes after the first three weeks, using my Wild Card and have moved up a bit in the standings the past couple of weeks. Here's hoping that continues this weekend.

So onto my review of September's reading.

Goodreads Challenge. I read 11 books in September which brings my total for the year to 81. I hoped to finish 90 this year so I don't think I'll have any difficulties finishing that amount, plus some. Depending how many I actually read will probably affect how many I'm going to try and read in 2015. In September, I averaged about 300 pages per book. My longest was 576 pages, my shortest 149. Total for the year is approximately 27,300.

Of the 11 books I completed in September, most were mysteries -

Mysteries - 8
Biography - 1
Western - 1
and one classified as a Gothic Western, a strangely interesting story.

I read 7 books by female authors and 4 by male authors.

I had no five star selections this past month, but 6 were 4 stars and the remaining 5 were 3. (You can't do .5 ratings in Goodreads, but when I wrote my reviews, I do often give a 3.5 or 4.5.

As well, 8 of the books were parts of series I'm enjoying. One new series, that being the first book in MC Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series, which I enjoyed very much. I'd put it in the cozy mystery variety.

Favourite Book in September.

I think my favourite book of September was Dorothy L. Sayer's 2nd Lord Peter Wimsey book, Clouds of Witness. I've had a few of this series on my bookshelves for a couple of years and I finally read the first book in August and then this story in September. I'm glad I finally took a chance on Dorothy Sayers' writing; I enjoyed both very much. This was my review of the books. "This is the second in the Lord Peter Wimsey series of mysteries and it was as enjoyable as the first. In this story, Lord Peter's brother, Gerald is accused of murdering Lady Mary's (Peter and Gerald's sister) fiancé. Peter, along with his friend, Scotland Yard detective, Charles Parker and Peter's butler, Bunter, work to prove his innocence. An interesting story, with many suspects and a brother who is protecting somebody, it draws you in immediately. I particularly enjoyed certain aspects of the case, the fact that because Gerald is a peer, his trial must be conducted in the House of Lords. All in all, it was well-paced, well-crafted and had enough twists and turns to keep me reading and wondering. Excellent."

October Reading

October is, of course, Halloween month so I do plan to read a couple of horror stories. As well, in my UK Book Club group, the October genre is the graphic novel. In my last Blog, I mentioned that I had purchased 3 graphic novels. I've read two of them already and overall they were enjoyable. I still have one to read and that will be completed this weekend, I'm sure. At the moment, I'm reading the following books -

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (1959) - This is my first horror story of October and it's a classic. It's been the subject of two movie adaptations. I'm enjoying very much so far. This is the synopsis "Hill House stood abandoned, six miles off the road. Four people came to learn its secrets: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar; Luke, a spendthrift heir; Theodora, escaping a love affair... and Eleanor. Eleanor was lonely and vulnerable - to friendship, love and laughter, and to the house. Hill House, not sane, stood against its hills, holding darkness within. Whatever walked there, walked alone." I will read at least one more horror/ ghost story book in October. At the moment I'm leading towards  The Lurking Fear and Other Stories by H.P. Lovecraft.

2. The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey (1929). This is one of my alphabetical mystery challenge selections. It's the first book in the Inspector Grant series. I have read one other previously and enjoyed. Having found the first book, I must say I'm enjoying so far, even thought I'm just starting out with it. This is the synopsis "A long line had formed for the standing-room-only section of the Woffington Theatre. Didn't You Know?, London's favourite musical comedy for the past two years, was finishing its run at the end of the week. Suddenly, the line began to move, forming a wedge before the open doors as hopeful theatregoers nudged their way forward. But one man, his head sunk down upon his chest, slowly sank to his knees and then, still more slowly, keeled over on his face. Thinking he had fainted, a spectator moved to help, but recoiled in horror from what lay before him: the man in the queue had a small silver dagger neatly plunged into his back. So begins Inspector Alan Grant's first spectacular case, and it's up to the dapper detective to discover how murder was committed among so many witnesses, none of whom saw anything." My next book for this challenge will come from lower in the alphabet, the letter "J", and I will be starting my first Peter James, Inspector Roy Grace mystery, Dead Simple.

3. The Sanctuary Sparrow by Ellis Peters (Cadfael #7) - This is the latest book in my Bed-Time Author's Challenge. I've read a few of the Cadfael mysteries and have also enjoyed the television series very much. I will be reading one more of this series as I read two of each when I hit an author. The synopsis of this book is as follows "Liliwin, a wandering minstrel, is thrown out of Daniel Aurifaber's wedding feast after a jug is broken during his juggling act. Soon after, the groom's father is found senseless beside his empty money box. A lynch mob sets off after Liliwin, who claims sanctuary in the abbey. The next day, the Aurifaber's neighbour is found dead, and the ageing matriarch of their household has a seizure and dies soon after. The following day, the baddies make their escape taking the stolen gold and Rannilt - Liliwin's serving-girl friend - as hostage, but are stopped before the reach the Welsh border." This series is always enjoyable, nice and comforting and provides a bit of insight into the history of the time as well. I highly recommend you check out the series.

Not sure what else I'll read in October, but I've room for many freebies and to pick and choose to try and finish off a few miscellaneous challenges. It should be a good month. Enjoy and keep on reading!!

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