Update: Book Challenge

You really should be proud of me. In 5 months, I had managed the grand total of….eight books. I wrote my last update post just 15 days ago and I have been like a whirlwind since then, reading books here, there and everywhere. I am currently part of two bookclubs, the #kindlebookclub and Alex’s A Blogging Good Read which I think is definitely helping the process along and I’m also starting to make a dent in my to-read pile. I just have to prise myself away from my computer screen – the lure of Amazon, Ebay and The Book People is all too great.
Here are the books I’ve read recently:
9. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins    
By far and away, the best book of the Hunger Games trilogy. Entering the arena for a second time, you see Katniss and Peeta put to new tests and find yourself constantly wondering what will happen next.
10. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My least favourite – and it seems like I’m not the only one to think so. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, just not as good as the two that precede it.
11. Thaw by Fiona Robyn
This is the book I read for the first Kindle Book Club meeting. It was a fairly decent novel, written like a diary, although at times, I felt guilty of prying – some parts made for uncomfortable reading. I was incredibly disappointed with the ending however, it seems like the author had an idea for the end and then bottled it at the last minute. It turns out others in the book club agreed with me.
12. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Not her finest work and the ending was very predictable, but this is perfect as a light-hearted frothy, summer read. Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Paige Toon and other similar authors.
13. Timepiece by Myra McEntire (downloaded for free from Netgalley)
Silly, silly me. I decided the book sounded good, researched a little more, was seduced by the cover picture and downloaded it. Unfortunately, this was the second in the series so I was a little bemused as to what was actually happening. As a stand alone book, I disliked it – but I shall read the first in the series before re-reading this to see if I like it any better.
14. Her Majesty’s Will by David Blixt (downloaded for free from Netgalley)
This book took me a little while to get into but once I was in, I was hooked! Set in my favourite historical time and centred around a plot around my favourite monarch of all time, Elizabeth I – with William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe as main characters, I knew I would enjoy it. Sometimes I found the pace a little slow, but I read over half of it in one sitting as I just couldn’t put my Kindle down! Worth a look if you are a Shakespeare fan and are interested in the plot to kill her.
That’s all so far, but I am currently reading Three Weeks To Say Goodbye by CJ Box for the Kindle Book Club and will be starting (and hopefully finishing) The Girl On The Landing by Paul Torday (my choice), The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson (Alex’s choice) and Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult (Char’s choice) for Alex’s A Blogging Good Read whilst I am away in Camber Sands.
What books are you currently loving?

Let’s Talk About..

I love to read.

I have to agree with the above picture. I’ve seen people ask Youtube book vloggers how they can read more – the answer is simple, pick up a book – if you don’t like it, try another one. Even if you feel like you hate reading, I’m sure one day, you will find that one book that speaks volumes to you.

I have to admit, I did start to get a little lazy with reading books a couple of years ago. I had two jobs and I spent my spare time with friends or reading magazines and blogs. Yet I kept seeing bloggers show off their book collections and detailing their reading challenges – and I thought I could do that.

I haven’t got very far with my book challenge so far – my own fault really, I decided to start with a newborn baby! – but these past few weeks, I’ve been getting through books like wildfire.

I’m not a book snob, far from it – I’ll give anything a go once. So, although I have plenty of books to read both on my actual and my Kindle bookshelves, I was wondering what your favourite books were – and maybe, just maybe, I’ll add them to my to-read pile for this challenge.  I’ve also joined a book club – if any of you own a Kindle and are interested, you can find more information here.

Are you an avid reader? Let me know your favourite reads. Also, you can add me on GoodReads too, if you have an account.


BOOK REVIEW: Hitler’s Demons by Helena P. Schrader

Hitler’s Demons: A Novel Of The German Resistance(*)
Author: Helena P. Schrader
Ebook version of An Obsolete Honor by the same author.
Published February 2012.
Buy it here.

I mentioned this book in my latest book challenge update and also mentioned that I would be posting an in-depth review about the novel. I realise this novel may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I hope that all those bookworms out there take the opportunity to read this book – give it a chance, I’m sure you’ll love it!
Written by Helena P. Schrader, this book is set, as you would expect, in the 1930’s and 40’s and follows the lives of various German families as they muddle through the war with growing resentment for the man in charge of their country. Main characters include Baron Philip von Feldburg,, Marianne Moldenaeur, Alexandra v. Mollwitz and their various families.
Based on over 10 years of research and interviews with numerous survivors of World War Two, Helena has created a fictional work around the well-documented real life Valkyrie plot. It is no secret that there were, in fact, numerous German officers who disagreed with Hitler’s idea of Nazism and resented the damage he was doing to their country and their troops.
The author gives the definition of Hitler’s Demons as ‘those Germans who opposed his diabolical regime on moral grounds. They sought to defend human dignity and restore the rule of law.
Although I found this ebook a little hard to get into at first and struggled a little with the various military references, I found myself very sympathetic towards the main characters, especially Philip. As a military officer himself, he gets to see firsthand just how much damage Hitler is doing and although a little dubious at first, is more than enthusiastic eventually, to be involved in the Valkyrie Plot.
Schrader has cleverly created characters you almost fall in love with – Philip’s younger brother Christian is charming and from the way he’s described, extremely good looking; Marianne, an Aryan beauty, goes out of her way to help her Jewish friends, forever in fear of being caught; Yvette, the young French girl charmed by Christian’s friend Dieter, aloof but interesting. She also introduces some characters you can’t help but thoroughly dislike – Philip’s younger sister, Theresa, brainwashed by her money and power hungry husband into believing every word that comes out of Hitler’s mouth and who is forever insulting her family and those around them; Walther, Theresa’s husband, who thinks that his newly successful status means he is above others.
I often found myself worrying for those involved in the plot, there were so many near misses where they could get caught – and they make numerous attempts on Hitler’s life, leaving me with my heart in my mouth, wondering what would happen. As a fictional piece of work, I knew that Schrader could make anything happen and this kept me engrossed to the very last page. However, as we know, all assassination attempts on Hitler’s life ended unsuccessfully and the author kept true to real life in that respect.
I was a little disappointed in the ending, it seemed abrupt and I felt a little annoyed that some great characters were lost in a few sentences, rather than given the sendoff I felt they deserved. However, I found this an interesting read. I enjoyed learning more about real-life characters the author included in the book, such as General Olbricht.
As a history geek and a total bookworm, I found this very interesting and would like to read more of the authors work. If you have any interest in Hitler’s Germany, the Valkyrie Plot, history or just like reading in general, I’d definitely suggest giving this book a try.
                                                      ABOUT THE AUTHOR:                                                         
Helena P. Schrader is a historian, novelist and diplomat
from the United States. She has written various other books
in various eras, such as Ancient Greece and Sparta, WWII
and the Middle Ages amongst others. She published her
first book in 1993. You can find out more about her here.

Would you be interested in reading this book? Are you a history buff like me?
This is a sponsored review post.

Update: Book Challenge

It’s nearly 6 months in and how far have I got in my challenge? Not very, I have to admit. Last time I checked in, I was writing about books 3&4 – today, I have four more to share with you. I’m also halfway through Catching Fire, have a book to read for the #kindlebookclub (visit Sarah for more information) after that then I need to get a start on my real and virtual bookshelves. To keep up with my progress, you can find my GoodReads page here.
All pictures are taken from the GoodReads website as the majority have been read on my Kindle and my pictures do not to the covers justice.

5. Beneath The Rainbow by Lisa Shambrook

This book is a brilliant read, it had me crying in
parts, smiling in others. It was recommended to
me by the authors daughter (a fellow blogger)
when I had just got my Kindle and I’m glad I
downloaded it. As you watch Freya’s family try
to get on with their lives after her death through
her eyes, you get drawn in to each character and
find yourself hoping for the best for all of them.

6. The Ghosts Of Varner Creek by Michael Weems
I downloaded this after reading Alycia’s blogpost about
her current reads a couple of months ago. I have to admit
it wasn’t what I expected, yet I did enjoy the story. Midway
through, I did work out the ending which was a little
disappointing but the story was good nonetheless. A worthwhile read.
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I’m sure this book needs no introduction. Yes, I
was late to the party but I totally see what all the
fuss was about. Definitely a Peeta girl! I thought
I could be disappointed with this one with all the
hype surrounding it, but the hype was justified.
Racing through the second book of the trilogy
right now. If you haven’t read these yet, you must!
8. Hitler’s Demons by Helena P Schrader
This is the ebook version of Schrader’s earlier book
An Obsolete Honor. I wasn’t sure if this would be my
sort of thing, seeing as it has a lot of army references
within, however I was always fascinated by my studies
 into Hitler’s Germany during my A-Levels and I was curious into
how a work of fiction revolving around a plot to assassinate Hitler by
his own military officers could pan out. I was pleasantly surprised.
Although I cannot claim to understand all the military references, I
really enjoyed this book. Expect a full review soon.
If you’re currently undertaking a reading challenge, how are you doing?
I’d love to hear about it!
What books or ebooks would you personally recommend? I have a massive to-read pile to get through at the moment, but I could always add a few more to the list!

Book Q&A

I saw this post the other day on Rosie’s blog and I thought it’d be a fun thing to complete, especially as I am currently partaking in a reading challenge.
So here goes…
The Rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to answer them too
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you’ve taken part!

Not the most high-brow of books but as you can see from the state of this, it is a must-loved book – never got the Nectar points though as I picked this up in a charity shop, haha!

I tag any of you that wish to do this tag, but especially Etienne and Rachel.

What are you reading right now?
‘Hitlers Demons’ on the Kindle by Helena P Schrader. I’m not usually one for books based around the time of the World Wars but this is an interesting read. Expect a review when I’m finished.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I have plenty of books on my Kindle (free and paid for) plus I’ve got Catching Fire, Mockingjay, Woman In Black, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes…come on, you’ve seen the pile!

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – I even own this!
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – ditto!
Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
Dracula by Bram Stoker (another I own!)
The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
Glamour, Company, Cosmopolitan, Your Home

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
Lord Of The Flies by William Golding. Maybe because we had to read it for school, but it was so boring!

What book seems really popular but you actually hated?

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. Sorry, I just couldn’t get into it!

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?

The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Certainly kept me gripped.

What are your 3 favourite poems?

Remember by Christina Rossetti
Elvis’ Twin Sister by Carol Ann Duffy
A Bird In The House by Elizabeth Jennings

Where do you usually get your books?

I have a Kindle so Amazon plays a huge part in my collection. However, if I really want the paper copy of a book, I’ll buy it anywhere – Amazon, Play, Ebay, Waterstones, charity shops.

Where do you usually read your books?
On the sofa, in bed, in the bath, in the car.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
My Dad used to read to me every night – that’s about it.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Predictable, I know.

Have you ever “faked” reading a book?

Nope, not even if I hated it.

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?

Only The Goddess Guide by Gisele Scanlon – and what a find that was!

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
Any Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton – especially her stories about the magic, faraway tree.

What book changed your life?
The Harry Potter series. Although I loved reading anyway, J K Rowlings characters definitely cemented that for me.

What is your favourite passage from a book?
I don’t think I have a favourite.
Sophie Kinsella
Agatha Christie
Lee Child
Audrey Niffenegger

What book has no one heard about but should read?
Never Buried by Edie Claire

What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?
Lucy In The Sky by Paige Toon
The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

What is your favourite classic book?
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have read it numerous times!

5 other notable mentions?

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Killing Floor by Lee Child
Hard Girls by Martina Cole
The Railway Children by E Nesbit
Any of the Harry Potter series

What are your favourite books? Link me up if you complete this tag!


I don’t really have any!

What are your favourite books by a first-time author?

I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

What are your top five favourite authors?
J K Rowling