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

Name:  Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Poirot #20)
Author:  
Agatha Christie
Number of Pages:
272 (Kindle)
Published:
Published December 15th 2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre:  Mystery

Goodreads

In Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, the holidays are anything but merry when a family reunion is marred by murder — and the notoriously fastidious investigator is quickly on the case. The wealthy Simeon Lee has demanded that all four of his sons — one faithful, one prodigal, one impecunious, one sensitive — and their wives return home for Christmas. But a heartwarming family holiday is not exactly what he has in mind. He bedevils each of his sons with barbed insults and finally announces that he is cutting off their allowances and changing his will. Poirot is called in the aftermath of Simeon Lee’s announcement.

My Rating:


My Thoughts:

Time for another mystery with the great detective Hercule Poirot. I’ve read a few of the Poirot novels now, and picked this one up during the holiday season as it seemed the perfect choice.

Simeon Lee has invited his family home for Christmas. Sounds great, and yet the old man has apparently done it only to cause friction amongst his family, and the mention of a will and the prospect of alterations to said will almost guarantee he won’t feature in the tale for long.

Sure enough, he meets a swift end and there are plenty of suspects and truths to uncover. Lucky then that Poirot is on hand to offer assistance in the matter.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas offers up a locked room murder mystery with a cast of characters harbouring secrets and resentments, and trying to work out whodunit was as usual part of the enjoyment reading this novel. One day I will actually come to the right conclusion, but so far it hasn’t happened. The red herrings and twists really kept me (wrongly) guessing.

I’m still enjoying discovering the Golden Age mysteries of Agatha Christie and am looking forward to choosing my new Poirot novel to read.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

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:  Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf


Time for my first Top Ten Tuesday post of 2020, and an opportunity to glance at my shelves in search of potential future reading. By ‘shelves’ I’m going for a mixture of actual shelves and upcoming books that I’ve managed to request from the library, so they’ll be on my shelf within the next few weeks or so, hopefully!

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – The description of this puts me in mind of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, so I can’t wait to read it.

The Other People by C. J. Tudor – An author I’ve seen mentioned often and yet I’ve never read any of her books. I like the sound of this new book so will check it out.

The Poison Song by Jen Williams – The library finally have a copy of the final book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy. I enjoyed both previous instalments and can’t wait to find out how it ends.

Another Agatha Christie novel – I’m slowly reading more Christie and I have a few books that could feature here, especially the Poirot stories.

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D Barker – I have a couple of vampire-themed books to read, and this one has appeared in many TBR-type posts before.

Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi – And here’s another vampire-themed novel, I think. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde join forces to tackle supernatural forces.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I can’t wait to start this one having seen so many good reviews for it.

Highfire by Eoin Colfer – Dragons! This one sounds like is might be quite a funny read so I’m looking forward to something a little different.

Something by Terry Pratchett – The Good Omens tv series is responsible for me wanting to discover the works of Terry Pratchett. I watched that, then read the book, which I really enjoyed, and now I keep eyeing the Discworld books. I just can’t decide whether I should start at the beginning or choose one of the series within the series.

? – What have I missed? I’m certain there are many other great books that I need to add to my shelves.


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.

Book Review: The Six by Luca Veste

Name:  The Six
Author:  
Luca Veste
Number of Pages:
417 (Paperback)
Published:
October 31st 2019 by Simon & Schuster UK
Genre:  Thriller

Goodreads

Six friends trapped by one dark secret.
It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.
In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …
Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay?


My Rating:

My Thoughts:

I’ve never read anything by Luca Veste before but The Six caught my attention and I fancied something a bit different so decided to give this a try.

The story follows a group of six friends as they enjoy a music festival together, recapturing something of their youth. It all goes very wrong and someone ends up dead. The group also stumble across another body in the woods, so their problems go from bad to worse. They come to the conclusion that hiding the truth and never talking about anything that happened that weekend is for the best, and so try to resume their usual lives.
I don’t want to say any more about the plot and risk giving too much away.

The Six really delivered a fast-paced, page-turning, ‘just one more chapter’, don’t want to put it down reading experience.
I had no idea where the story would go next, guess as I did, and of course I was surprised at times by the twists and turns. There was a vaguely creepy air to some scenes throughout the story, which was a nice touch.
The ending came as a total shock. I’d been puzzling away and wondering various things about and how the story would end. I was totally wrong.
The Six is mysterious thriller which will keep you guessing throughout.

 

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Name:  The Starless Sea
Author:  
Erin Morgenstern
Number of Pages:
498 (Hardback)
Published:
November 5th 2019 by Harvill Secker
Genre:  Fantasy

Goodreads

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.
Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.


My Rating:

My Thoughts:

The Starless Sea. Where to begin talking about this one? It’s a beautiful mixture of tales within books within a book – mystical, magical and meandering, snippets and glimpses of magic and wonder all held together within the main narrative of Zachary Ezra Rawlins, who finds Sweet Sorrows, a mysterious, previously un-catalogued book in his university library.
Captured by the tale of the pirate and the girl, and the tale of the acolyte, Zachary reads on to be confronted by an incident from his own past concisely captured in a volume much older than he is…

So begins the quest for the truth of the Starless Sea, a fantastical place of stories and dreams and tales, guarded, nurtured and revered by those who know of its existence.
From the literary themed masquerade, to stories whispered in the dark of Time falling in love with Fate, there is magic within every page of this charming tale, and the writing is something to savour. I really took my time reading this, to enjoy every word, whilst at the same time being so intrigued that I just had to read on.

The main characters holding this tale together are a wonderful mix.
Zachary is a reader, a dreamer, and brave when confronted with such strangeness.
Then there’s the enigmatic Dorian, and Mirabel, the pink-haired painter who can create doors into this magical world of stories.
Characters within some of the stories are intriguing too – the pirate and the girl, and Simon and Eleanor, the man who fell in love with the moon. I could go on….

It captures perfectly the magic and escapism of a great read, the wonder of a fantastic tale. If you’re looking for a fast paced, driven narrative this may not be the book you’re after right now, but for something to lose yourself in, that paints so many vivid stories and ties them in with a magical mystery quest for a world of stories and books, give it a try. I loved The Starless Sea from beginning to end.

Bout of Books 27 (January 2020) – Final Summary

January’s Bout of Books is over, and I enjoyed the final day of reading. I finished The Starless Sea. I didn’t want the book to end, it was a very good read. I’m still reading Poirot, and I’m already glancing at my TBR pile to decide what I’m going to read next.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  120

Total number of pages I’ve read:  500

I set general read-a-thon goals (Original goals posted HERE).

I’ve updated my blog (mostly) daily with progress, and managed to resist adding too many new books to my TBR list whilst visiting other blogs throughout the week.

I completed The Starless Sea, and read some Poirot.

Thank you to everyone who visited and commented on my blog during the event. I hope everyone had a great week of reading.

The Week’s Progress Revisited…

Continue reading

Bout of Books 27 (January 2020) Goals and Daily Progress Updates

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team


What better way to begin a new year of reading than with a good Bout of Books. I enjoy participating in this read-a-thon, and keeping track of my reading progress over the week. I’ll be using this blog for updates during the read-a-thon.

Time Devoted to Reading

I always say half an hour per day, but that’s hopefully just a starting point. I’d like to read more if possible.

My Goals

  • To read at least some of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  • To continue Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
  • Keep track of progress with daily updates
  • To visit other blogs

Books to Read

  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Updates

Monday

It’s read-a-thon time! There are two books I’d like to read during this week. I don’t know whether I’ll finish both of them, but I’m hoping I might manage one. The first is Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. I haven’t read any Christie for a while and it seemed a good pick for this time of year. The second book, and one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now, is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.
Let’s see how I get on…

Tuesday (Monday’s Progress)

Bout of Books is off to a good start, I think I’ve picked a good one with The Starless Sea. The cover of the book is lovely, and the story within is so far totally intriguing. I think it’s a book I’m going to want to take my time with, so I don’t know how much I’ll have read by the end of the week, but then it’s so good that I don’t want to put it down either!

Number of pages I’ve read today:  100
Total number of pages I’ve read:  100

Wednesday (Tuesday’s progress)

Still really enjoying The Starless Sea. I haven’t read quite as much today, but it’s still a great read.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  25
Total number of pages I’ve read:  125

Thursday (Wednesday’s progress)

I don’t want to put The Starless Sea down. I love the mix of stories and can’t wait to see when and how they all come together. I still don’t want to read this book too quickly so I gave some of my reading time today to Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. I do try to work out whodunit in these novels but I’ve very rarely been right, and so far with this one I have no idea. Well, I have a few potentials but can’t narrow it down beyond that!

Number of pages I’ve read today:  135
Total number of pages I’ve read:  260

Friday (Thursday’s progress)

I read more of The Starless Sea and I wonder now whether I will actually finish it before Bout of Books ends. I’ve been reading quite slowly but I still ended up reading 80 pages, and have passed the halfway point with the book now. It’s all starting to come together and I wonder how it’s going to end…

Number of pages I’ve read today:  80
Total number of pages I’ve read:  340

Saturday (Friday’s progress)

Oops! No progress to report today.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  0
Total number of pages I’ve read:  340

Sunday (Saturday’s progress)

Another quiet day for reading. Hopefully I’ll have a good final day tomorrow!

Number of pages I’ve read today:  40
Total number of pages I’ve read:  380

Monday (Sunday’s progress and final thoughts)

Final Summary posted HERE.

 

Reading Resolutions 2020

Welcome to my 2020 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, either e-book or real book, per month.
  • Participate in reading events and readathons and update my blog regularly throughout. In particular I’m looking out for Bout of Books and Reader’s Imbibing Peril. I’d also like to find more readathon events to participate in.
  • Read a variety of genres, but continue indulging my love of Fantasy/Dystopia/Post Apocalypse stories.
  • Particular authors…

    Read at least one book by Agatha Christie, perhaps Death on the Nile.
    Read at least one Discworld book by Terry Pratchett.
    Read another book from the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly.
    Read at least one backlist title by Stephen King. I already have copies of Different Seasons, Christine and Misery.

  • Read some Sci-Fi as I haven’t read much at all in this genre. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill and the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers may be my starting point.
  • Try an audio book. Specifically, try one audio book per month, assuming I enjoy my first experience. I might start with The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman.
  • 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:

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
The Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
The Colour of Magic or Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
Different Seasons, Christine or Misery by Stephen King

I also have a further list of potential reads for the year which I’ve included in my Beat the Backlist sign up post.