Book Review: Midwinter Murder: Fireside Mysteries from the Queen of Crime by Agatha Christie

Name: Midwinter Murder: Fireside Mysteries from the Queen of Crime
Author:
Agatha Christie
Number of Pages:
 320 (ebook)
Published:
October 1st 2020
Genre:  Crime, Mystery, Short Stories

Goodreads

There’s a chill in the air and the days are growing shorter . . . It’s the perfect time to curl up in front of a crackling fireplace with this winter-themed collection from legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie. But beware of deadly snowdrifts and dangerous gifts, poisoned meals and mysterious guests. This compendium of short stories, some featuring beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, is an essential omnibus for Christie fans and the perfect holiday gift for mystery lovers.

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

Midwinter Murder offers up a collection of twelve short stories of mystery involving an array of Christie’s well-known characters including Poirot and Miss Marple.

The collection begins with Poirot and Hastings sitting beside a fire as Poirot tells of a time when he considers that he did in fact, shockingly, fail to solve a case.
From there we’re introduced to Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, Mr. Parker Pyne and Mr Quin.
This latter is a character I’ve never come across before and I was quite taken with the stories involving him. He’s very mysterious, just apparently appearing on the scene, involving himself and having some part to play in events before disappearing again, almost like some kind of ghost. There’s definitely a slight touch of the eerie or supernatural about his presence, especially in the second story in which he features in this collection. I’ve since discovered that Mr. Quin appears in his own story collection, so I do think I’ll probably end up seeking them out at some point.
As for the rest, I think I prefer the full-length Poirot tales to short stories, but then that‘s true generally. I seem to go for longer novels most of the time.
So far I’ve yet to read any Miss Marple and I’m not sure whether I’d find the same enjoyment in them as I do in Poirot, but I wouldn’t rule out trying at least one just to find out.

Midwinter Murder is an enjoyable read to dip into for a story to fill a short space of time. I picked it up as I wanted a festive Christie read, and it offers a nice glimpse into Christie’s characters for anyone wondering whether to try a Poirot novel, or a Tommy and Tuppence tale. For now I think I’ll be sticking to the Poirot novels, but Mr Quin is mysterious and intriguing enough to read more about too.

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Book Review: The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

Name: The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1)
Author:
Genevieve Cogman
Number of Pages:
 337 (ebook)
Published:
December 15th 2014 by Pan
Genre:  Fantasy

Goodreads

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently . . .
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

The story begins with a library, but not one of the usual variety. The Invisible Library is a place of magic and mystery, and as the name suggests, it contains many, many books. It also has links to a great variety of alternate worlds in which some of these books resided prior to their residence in the Library.
Irene is a junior agent of the Library and tasked with novice Kai to venture to an alternate London to retrieve a manuscript, a certain edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It’s like a Victorian steampunk version of London, so I loved the feel of the place. Not only that, it’s a world with a chaos infestation, so all you think you know may not apply. Retrieving the book should be simple, but it turns out that actually it’s already been stolen so Irene and Kai set out to find it before they return to the Library.

The Library is a great place, and I hope more time is spent there as the series continues. The whole endless supply of books, both magical and mundane, drawn from all these alternate worlds is fascinating. Initiates of the library have agelessness conveyed upon them while they’re within the walls. They do age gradually as they go out into alternate worlds but could in theory have some degree of immorality if at some point they decide to stay within the library.

There’s a lot going on in this novel – a murder mystery (a vampire murder actually), the theft of the manuscript, and the presence of the dangerous but alluring Fae, creatures of chaos. A famous detective is on the same trail as our leads and a legendary former Library agent gone rogue may be in the vicinity. To complicate things further a colleague/rival of Irene’s who may be more involved than she’s letting on appears in this alternate world. And then of course there are the werewolves and mechanical centipedes and zeppelins flying around the place.

There characters are a great mix, from Irene and Kai, who is also more than he first appears, to the Great Detective Peregrine Vale and Irene’s friend/colleague/rival/former mentor Bradamant. The latter was interesting, their initial dislike based on a shared past turning to reluctantly needing to work together to retrieve the book. I hope these characters cross paths again as the series continues, and that more of their history is revealed.

The Invisible Library is a good beginning to a series that I’m looking forward to discovering. Anything themed around books and libraries and alternate fantasy worlds is going to get my reading attention, and as Irene was dispatched with new orders at the end of this novel, I was almost as pleased as she was that there is more to look forward to in this world of magic and adventure and books.

Reading Resolutions 2021

Welcome to my 2021 Reading Resolutions post.

It’s become something of a little tradition on my blog to set out a few general reading hopes and goals for the coming year. Nothing too rigid, my Resolutions are general ideas and reminders about reading events and books I’d like to read soon.

As always I will participate in the Goodreads Challenge, setting myself a fairly low target. I enjoy keeping track of my reads and this challenge allows me to do that.
Beat the Backlist will also be making another appearance, to encourage me to stop neglecting books that have been on my TBR list for a while but never made it to the top.

General Goals

  • My own books – I want to try and give attention to books I already own by reading at least one of my own books per month.
  • Readathons – I hope to participate in reading events and readathons and update my blog regularly throughout. In particular I’m looking out for Reader’s Imbibing Peril. I’d also like to find more readathon events to participate in.
  • Genres – I’d like to continue reading a variety of genres, and in particular to read more fantasy. I’d also like to try some sci-fi as it’s a genre I haven’t really explored so far. The Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers may be my starting point.
  • Particular authors…Read at least one backlist title by Stephen King. I already have copies of Different Seasons, Christine and Misery.
    I’d also like to re-read the Dark Tower series which could be an ongoing project for the year.
    Read at least one book by Agatha Christie, perhaps Death on the Nile or another of the Poirot series.
    Read another book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Simone St. James or Mary Robinette Kowal.
  • Blog Updates – Continue my monthly update posts to record my reading and any challenge progress.

Reading Challenges:

The Beat the Backlist Challenge

Goodreads

I want to read 20 books during the year

Possible Books to Read:

I created a list of potential reads for the year which I’ve included in my Beat the Backlist sign up post so I’ll post that here too…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
Stoker’s Wilde West by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Beat The Backlist 2021

Overview

A new year, a new TBR pile, and a new set of readers tackling their backlist!

Welcome to Beat the Backlist (the 2021 edition)!
The Beat the Backlist reading challenge is designed to help you tackle all the books you keep meaning to read and still haven’t. Head over to Novelknight for full details.

Guidelines

The guidelines are simple:

The book must be published in the previous year or earlier (for the 2021 challenge, anything published in 2020 or earlier counts).

You have to start and finish the book in 2021.

And that’s it!

Any format, any genre.

Re-reads count, and you don’t have to own the book.

It’s open for the entire year so whenever you feel like jumping in, you can!

BEAT THE BACKLIST BINGO

It’s back! I enjoyed Beat the Backlist Reading Bingo last year, and for 2021 Bingo is back, with a card packed full of reading prompts. This year, there are two bingo cards available and you can find both over at Novelknight.

It’s an additional element to the challenge and finding books to meet each category is fun. I’ll mainly be using the 24-prompt card, but some of the prompts on the 52-prompt list are just irresistible, so this year I’ll be adding that list to my challenge post as well. There’s no way I’ll reach the target, I didn’t read that many books in total last year, but I want to add it for reference, just to see how many prompts I can complete. My main focus will still be the 24-prompt card.

Potential Reads

2021 marks my fifth time participating in Beat the Backlist. As I did last year, I’ll set an initial target of 10 books to read, but hopefully will be able to manage more. My TBR pile is HUGE so there’s no shortage of books to choose from! Here is just a short selection of potential reads for this challenge…

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
Stoker’s Wilde West by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

There are so many more books I could have mentioned above, so I look forward to seeing how many books I manage to read for Beat the Backlist.


Monthly Progress

January

Beat The Backlist Bingo Progress

This year Bingo is back with a great collection of prompts.  While my main focus is the 24-prompt card I may choose a few from the 52-prompt list as well.  Here is a collection of covers that fulfill a prompt on either of the lists featured above:

Reading Review: December 2020

Welcome to my Monthly Reading Review.
This post is my attempt to keep track of how I’m doing with my reading challenges and resolutions.

BOOKS I’VE READ

     

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

Christmas at Wynter House by Emily Harvale

Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie

Total Library Books Read This Month: 2
Total Own Books Read This Month: 1
Overall Total Books Read This Month: 3

Total Library Books Read 2020: 20
Total Own Books Read 2020: 10
Overall Total Books Read 2020: 30

MY READ OF THE MONTH

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman. It’s a good start to a series that I’m looking forward to getting into.

BEAT THE BACKLIST

My total for this challenge is currently 24 books read.   So far I’ve read:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The Six by Luca Veste
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Poirot #20) by Agatha Christie
Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi
The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame #3) by Jen Williams
The Colour of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett
Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
A Different Kind of Evil (Agatha Christie #2) by Andrew Wilson
Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger
The Light Fantastic (Discworld #2) by Terry Pratchett
Pines (Wayward Pines #1) by Blake Crouch
Wayward (Wayward Pines #2) by Blake Crouch
The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) by Blake Crouch
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
Endless Night by Agatha Christie
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Hallowe’en Party (Poirot #39) by Agatha Christie
Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman
Christmas at Wynter House by Emily Harvale

Beat the Backlist Bingo is making another appearance this year. I have no idea how many categories I’ll manage to complete but it’s a little extra to add to my challenge.

           

              

               

              

       

Borrowed it for the cover – The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I wanted to read this from the moment I first heard about it, but I’m using it for this category because I never got tired of looking at the cover. I also think this may be a contender for the category of a top 10 read of the year.

Released in the 2010’s – The Six by Luca Veste

Written before 2010 – Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Poirot #20) by Agatha Christie

Wish you had read it sooner – Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Book you never finished before – The Colour of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett

One word title – Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker

Genre you never/rarely read – The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Book with less than 200 pages – Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Book with 600+ pages – Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Cover redesign is better – A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill

New to you author – The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger

Shocking plot twist – Pines (Wayward Pines #1) by Blake Crouch

Owned for over 2 years – Wayward (Wayward Pines #2) by Blake Crouch

Author who writes multiple genre – Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal

GOODREADS

I’ve read 30 books so far this year.

GOALS

  • I added another book to my Beat the Backlist challenge and my final total for the year is 24 books read. I never thought I’d read so many books for this challenge.
  • I’ve continued my monthly update posts to record my reading and any challenge progress.

So concludes December’s Reading Review. See you again next month.

2020: 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 I didn’t manage to read.
Here’s my 2020 Year End Survey.

2020 READING STATS

Number of books you read: 30

Re-Reads: 0

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

BEST IN BOOKS

1. Best Book You Read In 2020?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2020 release vs. backlist)

           

          

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker
Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi
Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

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

Endless Night by Agatha Christie. This was a case of going into the story expecting something totally different than it was. I didn’t dislike it, but I’d hoped for a different sort of a tale. I wrote more about this when I reviewed the book here.

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

           

The Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch. I was surprised just how quickly I managed to read the whole trilogy. I couldn’t put them down.

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 2020? Best Sequel of 2020? Best Series Ender of 2020?

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal is the first book in the Glamourist Histories series and it was a delightful read and I was really glad it was the first of a series and there are more stories featuring these characters.

Best sequel I think is Wayward, book 2 of the Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch. Fast paced with plenty going on, it develops the story set out in the first book and ends in such a way that I had to go straight on to the final book to see what would happen.

The Poison Song has to feature here as the best ending to a series that I’ve read this year. It’s the final book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams. I didn’t want to let those characters go, having shared their amazing adventures for three books.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?

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

Simone St. James – I read The Sun Down Motel in October and it was the perfect spooky read for that time of year. I was engrossed in the story of a haunted motel during two timelines. Great read.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I enjoyed Mexican Gothic and the writing was so good that I’m really looking forward to checking out Gods of Jade and Shadow, which was already on my TBR list.

Mary Robinette Kowal – The first book in the Glamourist Histories series, Shades of Milk and Honey left me enchanted and eager to check out more books by this author.

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

This is a tough one as I don’t think I’ve ventured that far out of my reading comfort zone. I think probably Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe is worth a mention here. I don’t read many short story collections and I don’t think I’ve read any Poe before either.

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

           

The Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch deserves a mention for being unputdownable. I don’t think I’ve ever read three books so quickly as I did with those. I had to know what was going to happen and how it would all turn out in the end.

9. Book You Read In 2020 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

There are many books, both new and backlist titles that I still want to read and my TBR pile is endless so I don’t tend to re-read books very often. I do keep thinking I might like to re-read The Dark Tower by Stephen King, but that’s a series I read a while ago, not during this last year.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

           

             

               

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Mexican Gothic by Silvia-Moreno Garcia
Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Hallowe’en Party (Poirot #39) by Agatha Christie
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

11. Most memorable character of 2020?

           

Augustus McCrae from Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.
Vintage from the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams.
The double act that is Bram and Oscar from Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020?

     

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

13. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read?

Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe. I can’t believe I’d never read any Poe until earlier this year.

14.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?

     

The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger at only 48 pages is the shortest book I read this year.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry clocks in at a massive 964 pages, making it the longest book I read this year which comes as no surprise at all.

15. Book That Shocked You The Most?

I think the final third of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia delivered on the shock factor. I knew there was some awful secret to what was going on at High Place but I didn’t expect that.

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

Jane and Vincent from Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal are the first who came to mind. I love the way their initial misunderstandings turn to affection and later love, and the way it’s revealed is possibly the sweetest thing I’ve read this year.

17. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?

           

Bram and Oscar from Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi.
Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call from Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.
Vintage’s friendship with Tor and Noon from the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams.

18. Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

     

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver and The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

19. Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?

I’m not sure it’s happened this year.

20. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?

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

21. Best 2020 debut you read?

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill was a very unusual tale.

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

     

High Place in Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern also had a vivid setting.

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

     

I’ve read a couple of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett this year, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, and both of those had some comical moments.

24. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

     

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi.
The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger.

25. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill was very unusual at times.

YOUR BLOGGING/BOOKISH LIFE

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2020?

I’ve followed quite a few new blogs this year and enjoy discovering what people are reading.

2. Favorite reviews that you wrote in 2020?

           

           

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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

Aside from book reviews and book tags I enjoy Top Ten Tuesday posts as they give the opportunity to think back to books I’ve enjoyed, and make lists featuring potential future reads. Here are some of my recent favourite Top Ten Tuesday posts…

Super Long Book Titles
Holiday/Festive Covers
Books I Want To Read Again
Colours of Autumn Book Covers
Books That Should Be Adapted Into Shows/Movies
Books I’ve Added to my TBR List

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

Readers Imbibing Peril is the perfect way to welcome autumn, and I like the focus on the genres involved.
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 2020?

Taking part in Readers Imbibing Peril. I read more this year for that event than I ever have before.

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

In review posts The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and in Top Ten Tuesday posts my Holiday/Festive Covers post and Super Long Book Titles.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Review posts in general. I’ve mentioned a few of my favourite reads of the year throughout this post already, so here are a few of the other books I discovered this year…

           

           

Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Poirot #20) by Agatha Christie
The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger
The Other People by C. J. Tudor
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

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

That I actually quite like using my e-reader.

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 and this year I did much better than I expected and read 24 books. I also had a go at the Beat the Backlist Bingo which became more difficult as the categories were filled.

LOOKING AHEAD

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2021?

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 Bone Ships by R. J. Barker
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?

Stephen King has a new book coming out called Later.

3. 2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

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

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?

It’s a book that’s already out but I haven’t read it yet – Stoker’s Wilde West by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi.

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

I think last year’s answer still applies. I would like to read more of my own books. I did quite well with that this year so I’d like to keep it up. The Beat the Backlist challenge is happening again and there are some really good categories on the Bingo and Prompts lists, so I think I may sign up. It’s a good incentive to read my own 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?

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday/Seasonal Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:  Holiday/Seasonal Freebie


For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday Seasonal Freebie I’ve gone for a bit of variety with a selection of book covers.  Some of these are books with a festive theme, some simply have colours or themes that seem wintry. There’s at least one sequel amongst the list (Shiang, the first book is Darien, just in case you’re wondering), and at least one series beginning with The Bear and the Nightingale.  I’ve linked the covers to my reviews where possible in case anything catches your eye. On to the books…

             

                  

                


So, have you read any of the books that made my list this week?  If so, what did you think of them? See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Again

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This week’s theme is:  Books I Want to Read Again


Re-reading, it’s something I don’t do very often, if at all, but my selections for this week’s topic are a mixture of books that I would like to re-read or books I wish I could read again for the first time.

I was surprised to notice when making my list that most of the Stephen King books that feature must have been from my pre-blogging days as I don’t seem to have written reviews for any of them, which could be a great reason to read some of them again. I’ll list those together first…

The Dark Tower series by Stephen King – There’s no way I couldn’t list this series first as I’ve mentioned many times before that I’d like to re-read it someday. The only thing that makes me hesitate is that there are 8 books in total and some of them are really long. It’s probably going to happen though. Maybe!

The Shining by Stephen King – I’ve always thought this would be a good one to re-read during autumn but it recently occurred to me that the family goes to the Overlook for a winter stay, so actually it’s also a great winter re-read too. Any excuse to revisit a book that I found pretty creepy at times. Room 217, I’ll say no more.

11/22/63 by Stephen King – It’s been a while since I read this and it’s one I would certainly be tempted to pick up again, to see how much I enjoy it on a re-read.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – I’d love to experience this for the first time. It was such a unique take on the country house murder mystery and I was intrigued as to what was going on.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – The central duo of Gus and Call make this one worth the re-read. There are more books featuring those same characters so perhaps I’ll check some of those out too.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell – I enjoyed the writing, the characters, the atmosphere of the house and the creepiness of the wooden figures that were possibly moving around when no one was watching. One to pick up during the dark nights of autumn I think.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey – I would love to experience my first read of this all over again. I remember seeing the synopsis for the first time and being completely intrigued. I couldn’t wait to discover the story and I enjoyed it when I did.

       

The Powder Mage trilogy by Brian McClellan – I was really sad to reach the end of this fantasy trilogy and bid goodbye to some wonderful characters.

       

The Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden – Perfect for winter evenings of reading.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – Not a wish to relive my first read exactly, I saw the movie version before I read the book and had no clue as to how the case would be resolved. I had great fun reading the book but I wonder if I’d have picked up more clues if I’d read rather than watched it first. I doubt it as I don’t think I’ve worked out whodunnit in any of the other Christie novels I’ve read so far.


So, what did you write about this week?
See you again next time for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Booking Ahead: December 2020

Booking Ahead is an opportunity to glance through my never-ending TBR list/pile and select a few potential reads for the coming month. If I’m not reading books I love talking about books I’d like to read, so this post is a perfect excuse to do just that.

Welcome to another Booking Ahead. It’s time to look for a few potential reads for the month. I’d like to read at least three books if I can, which will mean I’ve read 30 books this year. Not a massive total but more than I probably expected.
I may pick up a couple of seasonal reads this month…

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman – I’m already reading this and am glad to have found a new series to read as I think it’s one I’m going to enjoy. Irene is a spy for a mysterious Library which houses books from many alternate realities and in this first story she’s sent to an alternate London to retrieve a certain book. Of course, nothing is ever easy, and so the adventure begins.

Christmas at Wynter House by Emily Harvale – Neva Grey is looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas with her family in the cosy cottage they’ve rented in the picture-postcard village of Wyntersleap. Nestled between rolling hills and a gently burbling river, it’s going to be idyllic.

Except it’s not. Torrential rain causes the river to burst its banks and the quaint little village isn’t quite so cosy with water lapping at the doors. Add to that a power cut and a sudden blizzard and Christmas is looking bleak … until gorgeous Adam Wynter invites them all to Wynter House.

Although not everyone is happy to share the ancestral home. Adam’s elder brother, Rafe is less than pleased. Their grandmother, Olivia extends a grudging welcome. And for Carruthers, the oddly arrogant butler, unexpected guests are a Christmas surprise he could do without. Especially one as troublesome as Neva’s eight-year-old niece.

But something’s not quite right at Wynter House. What is Rafe intent on hiding behind the locked doors of the old barn? And what really happened to his first wife? It’s a good thing Neva has a sense of humour. She’s going to need it this Christmas at Wynter House.

The past couple of years have seen me reach for a seasonal Agatha Christie novel during December. I’ve read The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, so this year my choice may be…

Midwinter Murder: Fireside Tales from the Queen of Crime by Agatha Christie – There’s a chill in the air and the days are growing shorter . . . It’s the perfect time to curl up in front of a crackling fire with these wintry whodunits from the legendary Agatha Christie. But beware of deadly snowdrifts and dangerous gifts, poisoned meals and mysterious guests.


What are you hoping to read this month? Have you read of my picks, and if so what did you think?
See you again next month year for another Booking Ahead.

Monthly Summary: November 2020

Welcome to another Monthly Summary on Pages and Tea.

November turned out to be a great month of reading variety.
It started with the magic and romance of Shades of Milk and Honey, a Regency era Austen-esque tale of two sisters and their various acquaintances. It’s the first in the Glamourist Histories series and if the rest are as entertaining I think it’s a series I will continue reading.

From magical romance I moved into the territory of Gothic horror with Mexican Gothic. Such a contrast. I became engrossed in the tale of High Place and the ghastly goings-on at this old ancestral home of the Doyle family as a young socialite is called upon to investigate whether her recently married cousin is safe with her new family.

And from High Place I ventured next to the Invisible Library. Looks like I’ve discovered a new series to read. I won’t say more about this one at the moment as it’s my current ongoing read.

The End of the Year Book Tag made an appearance on the blog this month. I’ve completed this tag in previous years and thought it would be nice to revisit it now.

Here’s what happened on Pages and Tea during November…

Book Reviews

             

Hallowe’en Party (Poirot #39) by Agatha Christie

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

November 2020

Book Tags

The End Of The Year Book Tag

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2020

November Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress