Monthly Summary: August 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

August is drawing to an end and it’s been a varied reading month.

Opium and Absinthe featured a young woman in search of answers after her sister is killed. There are similarities between her death and events in the novel Dracula, and Tillie, determined to find out who or what killed her sister, goes to great lengths to seek out the truth.

Next, for something completely different… I picked up a short story, The Sleep Tight Motel. I don’t usually read short stories, but I just fancied a change, and something that I might actually finish in one sitting, so this was the right book at the right time. I loved the eerie atmosphere, the mystery surrounding the motel, and the way the story concluded. I only wish I’d saved it for a dark, rainy autumn afternoon, but there are more stories in the same collection so I might sample a few of those over the coming weeks.

I also ventured back to the comic, colourful, bizarre Discworld to find out if Rincewind and Twoflower did indeed meet their doom falling of the edge of the world, or whether they lived to enjoy another adventure. I’m going to carry on with Discworld, and for now I’ll probably stick with reading the books in order, although this may change at some point. Anyone seen the Luggage?!

I also wrote a post for Top Ten Tuesday featuring books that I would love to see made into shows or movies.

Here’s a summary of August on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

           

Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang

The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger

The Light Fantastic (Discworld #2) by Terry Pratchett

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

August 2020

Top Ten Tuesday

Books that Should be Adapted into Shows/Movies

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

August Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Monthly Summary: July 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

Another monthly summary already?! Okay, here goes…

July’s reading gave me a month of complete contrasts.
I finally finished Lonesome Dove, that vast and epic trek across the wilds from Texas to Montana in the company of the Hat Creek Cattle Company. What a marvellous cast of characters pitted against every manner of hardship out in the wilds. It took me such a long time to read because it’s a massive tome, but I was a little sad to finally finish that final page and have to bid farewell to the characters I’d spent so much time with.

And then for something completely different…

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill is certainly very different to my previous read, yet one thing it did have in common, some memorable characters to whom I warmed very quickly and wanted the best for them. Not necessarily going to happen in a book with monsters in the title, is it? The Turner family really didn’t have it easy throughout the novel, with real life torments and the actual monster lurking at the door.
Strange, surreal, weird in a good way, I enjoyed this book very much.

I am part way through Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang, so that book will no doubt receive further mention once I’ve finished it, and I’ve also picked up The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett.

The blog has been quite quiet this month, with only a couple of reviews appearing. Nevertheless, here’s an update of July on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

     

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

July 2020

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

July Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Monthly Summary: June 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

Despite the fact that I didn’t post a single book review throughout June, or even finish a whole book, it’s not been a bad month of reading. Anyone who’s been following along recently may remember I’ve mentioned a certain book on more than one occasion. Yes, Lonesome Dove has been well and truly occupying my reading time, and I’m into the latter stages of the tale now. I’m braced for more upcoming character deaths, and can’t say I’m looking forward to that after following these guys for over 800 pages already.

As I knew I wouldn’t be posting much review-wise I decided to write a few Top Ten Tuesday posts, which I haven’t participated in for a while, and I enjoyed coming up with books for those. I’ve seen the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag appearing again too, so I decided I’d write a 2020 update for that tag.

Here’s what happened in June on Pages and Tea…

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

June 2020

Top Ten Tuesday

Books I’ve Added to my TBR List

My Summer 2020 TBR List

Top Ten Top Tens

Book Tags

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

June Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Monthly Summary: May 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

Another monthly summary already?! Okay, here goes…

I had my first experience reading Edgar Allan Poe in a short collection of stories and a poem called Darkness There. It contained The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Raven, The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Pit and the Pendulum. I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Raven as I’ve never really been a great poetry fan, but that one had a lyrical quality that drew me in. Some of the Gothic elements of these short stories were absolutely brilliant, and the scene was always set to draw you straight into the short narrative. I’ll definitely check out more Poe.

I’ve also been continuing with my audio version of The Night Circus. I’m definitely doing better this time than I have with previous audio book attempts.

Also ongoing… Lonesome Dove. What a tale! I’ve read half of it now. There are so many great characters but my favourite at the moment is Gus and I always look forward to getting back to his viewpoint. Over another 400+ pages to go! I’m loving it, but I do think I’ll choose some shorter reads after this. I fancy some Fantasy having seen all the great Wyrd & Wonder posts around over the last month, and I have a large TBR list to choose from.

Here’s what happened in May on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

Darkness There:  Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

May 2020

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

May Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Monthly Summary: April 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

My reading has really slowed down recently. I only managed to finish one book over the course of this month, A Different Kind of Evil by Andrew Wilson. This is the second book in the Agatha Christie series, and takes elements of fact then weaves a murder mystery narrative around them. I’ve enjoyed both books I’ve read in this series so far.

I also took the plunge with my first audio book, something I’ve been saying I would like to try for a while. I picked The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, read by Jim Dale. I read this book a long time ago and it’s one I’ve said before I’d like to revisit so this seemed like a good opportunity. I’ve attempted audio books before and not had much success, I don’t seem to absorb the details in the way I do reading words from the page, if that makes sense, so I decided I’d go for a story I already had some experience of and so far I’m enjoying listening. It’s an ongoing project at the moment, so I can’t really comment too much about whether I’ll be getting more into audio in the future.

My other read of the month is also ongoing… Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I actually have the e-book version of this so I had no idea when I started just how long it is! It’s massive, and should keep me occupied for quite a while given that my reading pace has slowed so much at the moment. I love it so far – the setting, the characters, the humour. I’ve managed to mostly avoid spoilers but I would imagine there’s some heartbreak ahead as well. It’s a book I definitely don’t want to rush.

I managed to catch up on a couple of reviews for books I read last month, including the excellent Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker. I’m still thinking about how good this book was, and the urge to read Dracula again still hasn’t entirely left, even though I have so many other books to read as well.

Here’s what happened in April on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

           

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

A Different Kind of Evil (Agatha Christie #2) by Andrew Wilson

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

April 2020

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

April Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Monthly Summary: March 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

Hello, and welcome to another monthly summary. What a strange month it has been. I’ve seen many people mention that they’re finding it harder to concentrate on reading than usual, and I’ve found this myself at the moment.
That said I did really enjoy Dracul. It was a real page-turner, and one of those books I didn’t want to end whilst also not being able to put it down.
I also visited The Kingdom, which was a very different kind of a read for me, and I enjoyed that too.

Top Ten Tuesday gave me the chance to recall some books with single word titles, which I thought I’d struggle with at first so I was surprised how many I remembered, and also how many more I’d missed when I was reading other lists.

Here’s what’s been happening on my blog during March…

Book Reviews

     

The Other People by C. J. Tudor

The Colour of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

March 2020

Top Ten Tuesday

Books With Single-Word Titles

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

March Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Monthly Summary: February 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

I’ve had a really good month of reading, and have enjoyed yet more 5 star reads which has been wonderful.

I read Highfire by Eoin Colfer, which is the first time I’ve read anything by this author.
From there I read the concluding volume of the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams. What a read! It was one of those books where I didn’t want to keep going because I knew it would be the final time I’d be experiencing adventures with characters I’ve followed for three long books, but at the same time I couldn’t put the book down because there was so much going on and so much peril for these great heroes and their war-beasts.
After the epic saga of the Winnowing Flame I moved on to another new-to-me author and read The Other People by C. J. Tudor. This was a thriller with a slightly supernatural/fantastical element and it was another engrossing read.
I also finally made a foray into the Discworld. After much deliberation I decided I’d start at the beginning and went adventuring with Rincewind and Twoflower, the wizard and the tourist.

A varied and exciting month of reading but the end of the month has flown in so quickly that I haven‘t had chance to post my reviews for many of the books I‘ve been enjoying. In fact, the only reviews I did manage to post included one of last month’s excellent reads, Stoker’s Wilde, and The Poison Song.

I think this month may be a new record for the number of Top Ten Tuesday entries I wrote covering all manner of topics including books I hope will be 5 star reads, some gorgeous cover art, and some great reads that left me feeling rather book-hungover.

Here’s a summary of February on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

   

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame #3) by Jen Williams

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

February 2020

Top Ten Tuesday

5-Star Reads?

Love Freebie

Book Hangovers

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

February Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Monthly Summary: January 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

A new year of reading has begun, and it’s had great variety for me.
I spent the first days of the year enjoying another of M. Poirot’s Christmas adventures in which he was confronted with a locked room murder mystery and a whole house full of potential suspects.
I also ventured into the strange, surreal and wonderful land of The Starless Sea, a book of books and stories all tied together within the main story of Zachary Ezra Rawlins. There was so much to savour in this novel that it became my first 5 star read of the year.
Thriller time next as I started The Six, and witnessed the lives of a group of friends come under threat after an incident from their past comes back to haunt the present.
Next up… my second 5 star read of the year so far! Can you believe that?! Stoker’s Wilde blends horror, gothic, humour, adventure together in a wonderfully entertaining tale in which Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde reluctantly find themselves teaming up to stop the Black Bishop, an unknown villain who seeks to unleash vampires and who knows what upon the world.

I also participated in the latest Bout of Books read-a-thon, and spent the week documenting my reading progress, finishing one book and making progress on another. Then came Top Ten Tuesday, which offers a perfect opportunity to talk about upcoming reads or books I‘ve already enjoyed, and to show off some colourful book covers.

Here’s a round up of what happened on Pages and Tea during January…

Book Reviews

           

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Six by Luca Veste

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Poirot #20) by Agatha Christie

Featured Posts

Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

Cover Version

Other New Posts

2019 End of the Year Book Survey

Beat the Backlist 2020 Challenge

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

January Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Read-A-Thon Updates

Bout of Books January 2020 Sign Up
Bout of Books January 2020 Progress
Bout of Book Final Summary

Events

Bout of Books Read-A-Thon

2019: The Year-End Book Survey

This Year End Survey is hosted by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner.

I love this opportunity to look back over the year of reading. I enjoy recalling new favourites, exciting characters and, of course, listing some of the (many) books that I didn’t manage to read. Here’s my 2019 Year End Survey.

2019 READING STATS

Number of books you read: 30

Re-Reads: 0

Most Popular Genre: I’ve read a great variety this year!

BEST IN BOOKS

1. Best Book You Read In 2019?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2019 release vs. backlist)

           

           

           

The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot #4) by Agatha Christie
The Woman in the Woods (Charlie Parker #16) by John Connolly
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Institute by Stephen King
Full Throttle by Joe Hill

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Furies by Katie Lowe.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. I didn’t see it coming at all….

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I don’t think it’s happened.

5. Best series you started in 2019? Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019?

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie is the first book in The age of Madness series and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

     

Best Sequel and best series ending go to books from the same series… Winternight by Katherine Arden – The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch. I read the second and final books really close together and it was a great reading experience.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?

I’m going for a couple of new-to-me choices for this one….

     

John Connolly – This year I picked up the two latest novels in the Charlie Parker series and I definitely want to read more. There are 17 books in the series so far, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover them.

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – Good Omens was my introduction to both these authors and I really enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure I already have a couple on Neil Gaiman’s novels, and I would love to try a few more Pratchett tales too.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

     

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie was quite different from my usual reading. I’ve read Fantasy, and I want to read more, but I’m not sure I’ve read anything you might call grimdark before.

Full Throttle by Joe Hill was a bit different for me too as I don’t usually read short stories.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

     

There was plenty going on action-wise in both The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie.

9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

There are so many new books, backlist books and library books that I want to read that my TBR pile is endless and so I don’t tend to re-read books very often.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

           

           

The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
The Institute by Stephen King
Bone China by Laura Purcell

11. Most memorable character of 2019?

Griz from A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher. I really enjoyed reading of Griz’s adventure.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?

I really like Laura Purcell’s writing in Bone China.

13. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read?

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Many autumns have arrived and I’ve thought I should read this book and this year I finally did.

14.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?

     

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson at 246 pages is the shortest book I read this year.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon clocks in at 827 pages, making it the longest book I read this year.

15. Book That Shocked You The Most?

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. I did not see that coming.

16. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)?

           

Vasya and Morozko from the Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden are the first that come to mind. I loved their story.

17. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?

Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

18. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

The Institute by Stephen King.

19. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?

I don’t think it’s happened, which is unusual.  A book that caught my eye many times and earned a place on my TBR pile is The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.  There were so many great reviews for it, and the story sounds brilliant.

20. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?

Um,okay, this is awkward. I have no idea…

21. Best 2019 debut you read?

I’m not actually sure I read a debut this year…

22. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

           

The world of the Winternight trilogy. I loved everything about it from the cold, the snow, the ice to the myths and the tales.

23. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Utterly bizarre at times but I definitely found myself laughing aloud more than once. Mostly this happened while I was at home and not out in public, which is probably a good thing!

24. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

There were some great stories in Full Throttle by Joe Hill. I must mention Faun. I really wished it was a full length novel because it was so good.

25. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher.

YOUR BLOGGING/BOOKISH LIFE

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019?

I’ve followed many new blogs this year and enjoy reading about what people are reading.

2. Favorite reviews that you wrote in 2019?

           

           

Full Throttle by Joe Hill
The Institute by Stephen King
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher
The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Aside from reviews and occasional book tags I enjoy participating in Top Ten Tuesday, having the chance to think back about books I’ve read, and list potential future reads. Here are some of my recent favourite Top Ten Tuesday posts…

Fall 2019 TBR
The Books of 2019 Past and Future
From Page to Screen
Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

As always… Bout of Books. I love a readathon.
Readers Imbibing Peril also deserves a mention and it’s the perfect way to welcome autumn.
I would love to find out about readathons before they start so I have time to plan and participate. They’re great fun.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?

Taking part in readathons.

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

In review posts The Institute by Stephen King, and in Top Ten Tuesday posts my Fall TBR post and The Books of 2019 Past and Future.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any review post. Here are a few..

     

     

Full Throttle by Joe Hill
The Institute by Stephen King
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
A Book of Bones (Charlie Parker #17) by John Connolly

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

The library e-book system. There are so many titles on there that I want to read, and they’re so easy to access.

9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I completed my Goodreads challenge, but I set a fairly low target.
I participated in Beat the Backlist again and this year I read 11 books. I also had a go at the Beat the Backlist Bingo.

LOOKING AHEAD

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020?

This list could be endless. I’ll try to limit it to just a few…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?

Stephen King has a new book coming out – If It Bleeds.
I’ll also be looking out for the next Charlie Parker book by John Connolly, even though I have most of the backlist of that series I could also be reading, and the next Age of Madness book from Joe Abercrombie.

3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Feel free to send some ideas my way as I’m always looking for new reads.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?

Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan came out in December but I haven’t managed to get a copy yet so it has to be that book. I can’t wait to return to the world and characters I’ve come to like so much.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020?

I think last year’s answer still applies here. I would like to read some of my own books as I always favour library books over books I already down.  Beat the Backlist challenge is happening again so I think I may sign up, it’s a good incentive to read some of these books.


So concludes this year-end survey. Congratulations if you made it all the way through to the end! What have you been reading this year? And what are you looking forward to reading next?

Monthly Summary: November 2019

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

November sent some good reads my way. I finally ventured to Hill House, having intended to read that book for at least a year or two. Definitely one for the long dark nights of autumn and winter.
Continuing with the seasonal theme (although read these books at any time if you haven’t already!) I picked up Bone China, the latest from Laura Purcell. Gothic, mysterious, atmospheric, I really enjoyed it.
Next I ventured into the realm of the short story, which is something I don’t do often at all but I’d enjoyed the last two books that I read by Joe Hill so much that I thought I’d give Full Throttle a try and it didn’t disappoint. There are some amazing stories in this book and I loved the variety it provided and the novelty of being able to read a whole story in one sitting. That doesn’t happen with the massive tomes I tend to read.

I even had time for the End Of The Year Book Tag.
Here’s what happened on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews

           

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Bone China by Laura Purcell

Full Throttle by Joe Hill

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

November 2019

Book Tags

The End Of The Year Book Tag

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2019

November Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress