2013 Reading Challenges

I am going to keep it short and sweet next year with reading challenges. I couldn’t even finish my own Narnia project and with the other challenges I am not doing too great either.

So I decided to only join two challenges next year; two challenges that I think I will be able to succeed in. Really! Both are hosted by Birgit from The Book Garden, so this will be my one-stop challenge place next year.

The two challenges are:

Tea & Books Reading Challenge Button

Tea & books reading challenge

I signed up in 2012 for this one, read one so far and am reading the second one right now. Maybe, maybe I will even finish it before the end of the year.

Again I signed up for the chamomile lover which means two books. Do-able!

This isn’t fiction reading challenge

This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge Button

I checked with Goodreads just to make sure I could do that. I read five non-fiction books this year, yeah! For next year I signed up for the kindergarten level, which is five books again. Do-able!

What challenges are you planning on joining? Are you good with challenges or do you suck in following through (like I usually do)?


Dickens in December

Dickens in December

Judith got me on to the Dickens in December event hosted by Caoline from Beauty is a sleeping cat and Delia from Postcards from Asia.

The event consists of various activities, readalongs, book reviews, giveaways and watchalongs. I can’t say that I am a huge Dickens fan, but John gave me the complete Dickens collection for Christmas last year and I haven’t watched one thing yet! About time!

So instead of going to read Dickens it will be watching movies for me. Who else is going to join in on the fun?


In my mailbox


I will be walking down Memory Lane soon as I have ordered a few books that I loved when I was a little girl. Officially I wanted them so we can read them to our boys at bedtime , but I am sure I will read them myself beforehand.

I bought

Enid Blyton is the creator of many series, but the one I always liked best is the “Five find-outers mystery series”. Five kids, one dog, a small English village, an oaf of a Bobby and cozy mysteries, what else can you ask for? The series was on my auto buy list way before I even knew what auto buy meant and getting a new book (there are 15 total) was always the highlight of the week or month.

I found the first six books in two hardcovers at Awesome Books for about €3 each, a real bargain. They are:

  • The mystery of the burn cottage
  • The mystery of the disappearing cat
  • The mystery of the secret room
  • The mystery of the spiteful letters
  • The mystery of the missing necklace
  • The mystery of the hidden house


Mystery series book 1Mystery series book 2

I will be having so much fun!

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 


Locations: Garage top level

This is one of the insiders’ tips in city guides. Not that it remains much of a secret then, but as it is on the top level of a public garage chances are tourists will find it even without the help of Frommer’s or Lonely Planet.

Just park your car and enjoy the panorama of the medieval old town and the castle!


Image taken with the pretty awesome Panorama™ – Wondershare Software Co., Ltd App for iPhone.


What matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan

Cover What matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan

Twenty puzzles in Jane Austen’s fiction – twenty (possible) solutions.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

John Mullan shows that we can best appreciate Austen’s brilliance by looking at the intriguing quirks and intricacies of her fiction. Asking and answering some very specific questions about what goes on in her novels, he reveals the inner workings of their greatness.

Language I read the book in:  English

Did I like it?  Yes

For people who:  hate it when apple blossoms turn up in June and nobody has an explanation for it.

My thoughts: 

Both for Jane Austen aficionados as well as for those who simply want to learn more about her this is a must read. In various chapters we are being told about all the little details in her books that most readers don’t even notice and never think about.

Who does never speak? Who calls each other by their first names and if they don’t, why? Not only gives the book insight into the books that you would otherwise not have, it also tells you a lot about the time Jane Austen lived in, her life, letters and circumstances. It dissects the stories, but not in a way that you think “oh, I am sick of Jane Austen now and never want to read anything by her again” but rather in the way that you want to go and re-read all her books once more and discover all those things yourself. You will see her stories in a different light because this book opened your eyes for them.

I will probably buy this book in print and then start to re-read Austen. Also, I will buy it for my Austenite friend. I know that she will love it, too. And, I am sure, so will you. 

Movie tip

Any Jane Austen movie. My recommendations: Pride and Prejudice TV mini series and Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Product info and buy link :

Title What matters in Jane Austen?
Author John Mullan
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN 9781620400418
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy What matters in Jane Austen? (out in Jan 2013) or an older edition What matters in Jane Austen?

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, and here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.


In my mailbox


Not much happened this week, but I got a great audiobook in the mail. In fact, I WON this in the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop from Leslie at Under my apple tree. I saw the book at the Goodreads Choice Awards and thought it might be interesting and the next thing you know is that I got an email telling me I won the audiobook! That totally made my day! Thank you, Leslie!
I am rather new to audio books and am eager to find out whether I like this format. A bonus with this one is that it is read by the author himself, how nice is that?

I won

Cover This is how you lose her by Junot Díaz

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 


Week on the web


Here are my finds for this week…

Emergency compliment

Have you found anything interesting this week?


Top ten historical fiction books

Top Ten Tuesday

Today it is Top Ten Tuesday freebie and we can choose any topic we want, so I will go for my top ten historical fiction books.

I like historical fiction that has at least some sort of realistic connection to the time it is talking about, maybe a real event that the story builds upon, or real people whose story is told in a fictional way. So, here we go…

Top Ten Historical Fiction Books

What are your Top Ten Historical Fiction books?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs

Very short synopsis:

A cat burglar is causing trouble in Charleston and, of course, Theodosia feels compelled to investigate.


I read it in:  English

I liked it:   So so. I was not too impressed. 

For people who like:  cosy mysteries, tea.

This was my second book in the Tea Shop Mystery series after Death by Darjeeling and I was not too thrilled with it. Theodosia is again way too nosy for her own good and towards the end downright stupid, which gets her into a situation that could have ended very badly for her. No idea where she gets the idea that she has an obligation to help out her friends by finding the culprit when moral support would be more than enough (reminds me a lot of Isabel Dalhousie; at least, Isabel uses obscure philosophical reasons as an excuse though). Also she has not learned anything from previous experience and is just as ready to suspect everybody for no reason whatsoever as she was before.

However, the very cosy atmosphere with Charleston as scenic background and the lovely tea shop as immediate location is very agreeable. I might read more of these books just for that alone – and take the meddlesome sleuth as a necessary evil.

Product info and buy link :

Title Shades of Earl Grey
Author Laura Childs
Publisher Berkley Publishing
ISBN 9780425188217
I got this book from Birgit at The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Shades of Earl Grey

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, and here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.


The Literary Blog Hop giveaway winner I still haven’t received them, but I already have a winner for my set of bookmarks. The winner is commenter no. 7 who is Caroline from Beauty is a sleeping cat (and just in case you are asking, I did not count one entry which was just a correction of an email address).

Congrats, Caroline! I will be in touch by email and will send the bookmarks off to you as soon as I can. Like I said it could take a little while, but I will not forget, promise!


My reading list for November and October recap


I thought October was another slow reading month for me, but when I look at my compiled list it wasn’t so bad after all.

  • October also was the month of the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop where I gave away a set of bookmarks.
  • I visited our new library.
  • I gave my blog a new look and got a couple of new features: 
  • My new template has various post types so that I can just slot in a little quote post without a title, which I find rather cool. I haven’t tried out other post types as I find the WordPress interface for writing posts rather clumsy – frankly, I hate it. 
  • At the top menu there is an item called Archives now which lists all blog posts arranged by date. So with one click you can find all posts from, let’s say, a specific month in list format. I quite like that.

In November I really would like to get on with The Grass Crown, especially because I want to have it finished by the end of the year for Birgit’s Tea & Books Reading Challenge.
I want to finish “What matters in Jane Austen” by John Mullan and “All the money in the world” by Laura Vanderkam. I am not sure whether I actually will finish the latter, I think I am not in this book’s target group.

Did you have a good reading month and what is on your reading list now?