Cloak and Dagger Challenge 2017

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During my recent wanderings around my favourite blogs, I came across a challenge that seems right up my street but I had somehow missed the initial sign-up for (it started 1st January).  Never one to be deterred by being late, however, and given it is still January, I have decided to sign-up now.  It’s the Cloak and Dagger Challenge hosted by Stormi at books, movies, reviews oh my! and Barb at Booker Ts Farm.  Here’s how it works:

  • You can read any book that is from the mystery/suspense/thriller/crime genres. Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres.
  • You don’t need a blog to participate but you do need a place to post your reviews to link up (blog, goodreads, booklikes, shelfari, etc.)
  • You make a goal post and link it back to the sign-up page with your goal for this challenge (which is this post here)
  • Books need to be novellas or novels, please no short stories. (At least 100 pages +)
  • Crossovers into other challenges  are fine
  • The Challenge will  be from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st (Sign up ends April 15th)

There will be a monthly link up so that others can check out your progress and look at your reviews. At the halfway mark and at the end there will be a giveaway for those participating.

As with all good challenges there are levels based on how much you read / can commit to:

  • 5-15 books – Amateur sleuth
  • 16-25 books – Detective
  • 26-35 books – Inspector
  • 36 – 55 – Special agent
  • 56+ books – Sherlock Holmes

Plus a “bonus” challenge of finishing a series (or more).

Books of this genre are my main reads, plus I’ve given myself a more challenging goodreads target this year, so I’m going to try and become Sherlock Holmes and read at least 56 books.  I’m also going to try and finish the M. J. Arlidge DI Helen Grace series plus one other tbd.

Can you tell I’m excited by this one?  Fingers crossed nothing gets in the way of my reading or I don’t suddenly decide that I’m really a romance and roses vs. murder and mayhem kind of girl.

Wish me luck!

Emma

Springing Into Horror

imageStarting next Sunday, I’m joining in with Michelle at Seasons of Reading Spring into Horror Read-a-thon. I’ve joined in with them before and always enjoyed them because there’s been the chance to find new blogs to follow and new books to read.

They are also very low key…there is only one rule – to read one horror book during the week. This can be a thriller, mystery, Gothic novel, or similar for those who are faint of heart). The rest of the week…anything goes!

I rarely read horror so I’m going to try for two books. I have also never read any Stephen King. I’m thinking he would be the ideal pick…but which book – any suggestions? Or should I avoid the mainstream and go for something else? Again, any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated…answers on a postcard or in the comments box below 😄

Emma

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

For this months Play On! Challenge, I decided to read The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare.  The theme for the month was Renaissance Plays, including Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and I had planned on being more adventurous than Shakespeare.  I couldn’t seem to make a decision though, so went with the obvious choice but, hopefully, not one of his most obvious plays, The Merry Wives of Windsor.

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Sir John Falstaff, a rather dodgy character, decides to seduce a number of wealthy women in Windsor and make his fortune. He writes them identical letters but doesn’t know the women are friends and discover his plan. They come up with a plan of their own to teach him a lesson.  At the same one of their husbands learns of Falstaff’s plan and tries to catch the two of them together. Meanwhile, the much younger Anne is being pursued by three men but loves another.  There is duel and Falstaff is involved in this too.

At least, I think that’s what happens. This is Shakespeare’s first play and I actually found it much more difficult to read than I thought it would be, especially as last year I read eight of his plays in as many weeks and thought I had gotten into the grove of reading them. Even my normal trick of reading out loud didn’t help me much.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is a bawdy comedy with lots of jokes which were probably very funny at the time but went right over my head.  It is the only one of his plays to be set in middle class England and this was part of where I struggled at times. There lots of colloquialisms and references I didn’t understand so I found I spent more time looking things up on the Internet than reading.  

After much frustration, I ended up watching an RSC production…and felt much, much, better.  It all made sense and I found it quite funny.  I even managed to finish the play second time around.  Did I enjoy it? Not really but at least I understood what was going on! 

Emma

The Suppliant Maidens by Aeschylus

I read The Suppliant Maidens as part of the Play On! challenge, picking it because Aeschylus is described as “the father of tragedy” and I thought I had more chance of understanding an ancient tragedy as opposed to an ancient comedy.  I haven’t read any comedy to compare this tragedy to (yet) – this is my foray into Ancient Greece but as far as understanding goes I had no problems with the plot and few with the language.

The man himself...
The man himself…

The play is the first of three that tell the story of the 50 daughters of Danus who flee Egypt and forced marriages to their cousins. They seek refuge in Argos, Greece, claiming to be descendants of Zeus and the Argians (?) promise to protect them, even when a Herald from their cousins comes to take them away, by force if need be.

As with all good trilogies, this is where the pay ends – on a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, it’s one I’ll never get to know the middle or end of as the remaining two plays are lost (there are scholarly reconstructions online of what might of happened but who knows if they are right?).

Although a play, because of the structure and length, I found I treated it much more as a play and ended up reading it out loud. I think this helped my understanding and enjoyment. At the of the day, this is a fairly classic story and it was easy to get drawn in and worry about whether the maidens would be safe.

The maidens make up the Chorus in what I have since discovered is the standard format for Greek plays; the other characters are Danus, King Argos and the Herald. The maidens fate is not a happy one, especially given the threats of the Herald (“Or e’er from hands of mine, Ye suffer torments worse and blow on blow) and I was left hoping King Argos would keep his word and protect them. This being a tragedy, I don’t hold out much hope.

When I started this play – even before I’d picked it up – I was nervous about reading it. I worried it would be hard going or hard to understand. It was neither, the opposite in fact (although I know I will have missed things, I read that this was a political statement for example on Greek widows being forced to marry their brother-in-laws). I’m now disappointed the remainder of this trilogy is lost but know I will be reading more Greek tragedies in the future…this was a great “taster” to a previously unknown world.

Emma

Finding the library a challenge…

So I’m a bit late writing this introductory post (blame it on a combination of busy-ness and forgetfulness) but at the end of last year I put my name down to take part in Sheila at Book Journey’s 2015 Library Challenge. The aim is to do your bit to support your local library by using it. As I’ve just reviewed my first library book of the year (Take Me Home by Daniela Sacerdoti), I thought I should probably get this post written too.

I’ve written before about how much I love my local library and a quick glance at my reviews will show how much I use it, so this was a bit of a no brainer for me and, whilst, I know it’s a challenge I kind of see it more as a fun way of seeing just how many library books I read and how many different types of books and authors I take a chance on because (and this is one of my favourite things about the library) they are free!

There are a number of levels for the challenge from 1 to 5 books for Novice through to 28+ for going pro. I’d say I read at least two books a month for the library, which puts me at the experienced level already (pats self on back) so I will have to “go pro” I think and aim for 28+. I’ll also aim to review each one, something I don’t do with all the books I read. I think this will be fun and look forward to sharing my library reads with you plus reading about how others taking the challenge get on.

Have a good Sunday all!

Emma

My Holiday Reads (Bout of Books)

This week, I’m on holiday, which is lovely. Not just for the break but for the fact that it means I’ll be able to just read. To make sure I do, and don’t get distracted by the TV too much, I thought I would set myself a challenge, linking in with Bout of Books Read-a-thon. The read-a-thon is a week, starting Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th and is a reading competition with yourself – set the number of books you plan to read and try to achieve it.

I’ve set myself a challenge of four books and will update via twitter as I go. They are:

1. Middlemarch by George Elliot

Middlemarch

2. The Long Legged Fly by James Sallis

The Long-Legged Fly (Lew Griffin, #1)