Book Review: Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Name:  Crooked House
Author:  
Agatha Christie
Number of Pages: 
259 (ebook)
Published:
February 10th 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published March 1949)
Genre: Mystery, Crime

The Leonides are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection.
Suspicion naturally falls on the old man’s young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiancé of the late millionaire’s granddaughter.

My Rating:

3halfdiamonds

My Thoughts:

Crooked House introduces the Leonides family, and their mansion-like home Three Gables. Charles Hayward hopes to marry Sophia Leonides, but all is thrown into array when the head of the family, Aristide Leonides, is murdered. Sophia’s suspicions lead her to suspect someone other than Aristide’s wife, a woman much younger than him rumoured to be romantically involved with someone else. Sophia believes it may have been someone else within the family group, and she will not rest until she has the answer as to who killed her grandfather. And so Charles ventures to Three Gables to try and help her find the resolution she needs.

Three Gables itself, the way it’s described, is a marvellous setting for this murder mystery. It’s a unique, vast estate, described as a looking like a distorted cottage, swollen out of all proportion, built the size of a castle, a crooked house like a mushroom grown in the night. Three Gables houses several branches of the Leonides family under it’s massive roof, and they all have their own portions, so it’s almost like several separate homes all in one place. A house divided? It certainly seems like that.

There are so many people to suspect, even though the cast of characters is for the most part limited to the one family, because each of these branches has something going on – expensive theatre productions to stage, a business falling into trouble, people who want more, people who want less, and Charles, as an associate of the police but also as Sophia’s potential suitor, meets them all and tries to weigh up just who could have committed the crime.
Any of these people could theoretically have done it, the opportunity and means were certainly there, whilst on the surface it seems they have no reason to commit such a crime. They all live reasonably comfortable lives and had the support of Aristide in their many endeavours. There’s certainly a lot to speculate about as Charles encounters each member of the family.

The tension builds slowly as the story progresses, offering up an array of potential suspects before each is eliminated and some new revelation comes to light. When it becomes apparent there may be more danger in the future, that the murderer may not be done, the tension mounts towards a conclusion that I didn’t anticipate. I always enjoy it when the final reveal takes me by surprise, and I enjoyed Crooked House with it’s great setting and a cast of characters to keep you guessing throughout.

Booking Ahead: October 2021

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.

It’s time to take another look at my TBR pile and select some reads for October.
As I may have mentioned previously, Readers Imbibing Peril (#RIPXVI) is ongoing throughout this month so I’m going to mention a couple of potential reads for that event. Last month saw an epic TBR list and, of course, I didn’t manage to read even half of the books I listed, so there will be some reappearances this time around, and I’ll scale it down to something a little more realistic. My last Top Ten Tuesday post talked about TBR books, and there were plenty of comments about what people had enjoyed, so here’s a selection of what I’m hoping to read over the next month…

Crooked House by Agatha Christie – It’s been a while since I last read a Christie, and I picked this up after I finished The Secret History. I had no clue what to start next and this cover caught my eye.

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell – The books I’ve read already by Laura Purcell are perfect for autumn reading when the nights are drawing in and you’re ready to settle in with something slightly spooky. I still remember how much I enjoyed The Silent Companions, a book I’d definitely recommend for the dark nights of autumn. I hope this one is just as good.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – Recent winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews, and I’ve had this on my TBR list for a while now, so hopefully this month I’ll finally discover it for myself.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – I’ve mentioned this one a few times already. Really enjoyed The Ten Thousand Doors of January when I read it earlier this year, so I’d like to find time for this soon.


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 for another Booking Ahead.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Autumn 2021 TBR List

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 on My Autumn 2021 TBR List


It’s time to talk all things TBR for Top Ten Tuesday. Readers Imbibing Peril is this month, and ongoing throughout October, so I picked out a number of books I can possibly read for the event. Here are some potential autumn reads…

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell – The books I’ve read already by Laura Purcell are perfect for autumn reading when the nights are drawing in and you want to settle in with something slightly spooky. I still remember how much I enjoyed The Silent Companions and I’ve saved this latest book to read at this time of year.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward – I’m intrigued by this book. I’ve seen so many good reviews that manage to give nothing away. I feel like I’m seeing the book around more and more at the moment so I wonder if I should read it soon to make sure I manage to avoid spoilers.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – Recent winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. I already owned a copy of Piranesi and hope to read it over the autumn months. Perhaps sooner rather than later.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – Another author whose works I’ve previously enjoyed. I’m looking forward to this, especially as the next book will be out very soon, and I like the sound of the school setting.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – I’ve mentioned this one a few times already, so hopefully autumn will be the time I finally give it a try.

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers – Here’s a tiny piece from the blurb for this one – ‘a story of a dark circus and ill-fated love, secrets about Lara’s family history come to light and reveal a curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations. A curse that might be tied to her fiancé’s mysterious fate . . .’.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – The only reread on my list this week. It’s a long time since I read this one and my newfound enjoyment of rereading makes me want to revisit it as I’m sure it was pre-blogging days when I read it the first time.

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier – When Dick Young’s friend, Professor Magnus Lane, offers him an escape from his troubles in the form of a new drug, Dick finds himself transported to fourteenth-century Cornwall. There, in the manor of Tywardreath, the domain of Sir Henry Champerhoune, he witnesses intrigue, adultery and murder.

It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan – A decaying mansion on the edge of a swamp, labyrinthine halls, echoes of the past, a locked and forgotten room.  I might save this one for late October, it sounds perfectly spooky. As does…

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – Maggie returns to a rambling Victorian estate where she spent three weeks with her family before they ended up fleeing in the night. The house later became the focus of her father’s memoir, House of Horrors. Another spooky-sounding read, perfect for this time of year.


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

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Numbers In the Title

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 With Numbers In the Title


For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday we’re looking for books with numbers in the title.
I’ve read all but the last two on my list and if I’ve reviewed (some of these were probably pre-blogging days), I’ll add a link in case anything catches your eye.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

11/22/63 by Stephen King

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


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

Book Review: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Name:  This Is How You Lose the Time War
Authors: 
Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Number of Pages: 
209 (ebook)
Published:  
July 16th 2019 by Saga Press
Genre: Science Fiction

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

My Rating:

4halfdiamonds

My Thoughts:

I was in the mood for something completely different when I picked up This Is How You Lose the Time War. I hardly know where to begin with this one. I was totally engrossed in this story of two agents on different sides of a long and complex war through time and space who take up a correspondence that spans years and sees them go from rivals to friends to falling for each other despite all the things that should keep them apart. So romantic, and the writing was lovely, lyrical, and inventive. I need more books like this.

Red and Blue take up a correspondence, and the novel proceeds in epistolary format, which is something I usually enjoy. This style of storytelling seems to flow well, and it works particularly well here as we fly through times, landscapes and space, each changing so quickly that these letters allow you to just go along with it.
Each new letter is a wonderful work of imagination, from the way it is written (in seeds to be consumed, or tea leaves, or water to be boiled), to the way it’s read (one has an instruction to burn before reading, another is read through a sting, another by the consuming of the previously mentioned seeds).

It becomes clear early on that Red and Blue are obviously fascinated by each other even as their respective sides, Red’s Agency and Blue’s Garden, demand that they hunt and destroy each other across all manner of times and landscapes, and the way the whole thing comes together is well done.
I wondered if I might have trouble following something that jumps around so freely through all manner of times and settings, doubling back on itself, going through vast swathes of time into futures unknown, but in the end it all made sense and I was swept up in the story of these two time travellers.

This Is How You Lose The Time War is probably one of the most unique tales I’ve read this year and I really enjoyed it. It was a book that I found myself wanting more of, and once I’d finished I felt tempted to go back and start all over again. At 209 pages it’s definitely one you could read more than once and probably pick up things you may have missed first time around.
And what of Red and Blue? Can they become more than adversaries on opposing sides of an endless conflict. Will their ending be happy, or will their roles on opposing sides keep them apart forever? Finding out was definitely a memorable reading experience.

Readers Imbibing Peril XVI – #RIPXVI

RIPXVI

The days are growing cooler and the nights are beginning to draw in, which can mean only one thing – Autumn is on its way! I love this time of year, so what better way to mark the changing seasons than by participating in a suitably eerie Readathon? Two whole months of reading to enjoy. Want to know more about RIPXVI? Here you go…

Welcome to the SIXTEENTH year of Readers Imbibing Peril, or RIP, as it is affectionately called. The challenge runs from 1st September to 31st October (but started a little early this year). There are Twitter and Instagram accounts where you can find out more about the various ‘perils’ on offer, and whilst participating you can use the hastag #RIPXVI.

The R.I.P. Reading Event includes books/movies/shows/podcasts that could be classified as:

Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Dark Fantasy
Gothic
Horror
Supernatural

The goals are simple.

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

The Perils

This year there are a number of different events to participate in including a photo challenge, a bingo card, and the opportunity to listen to audio and podcasts (something I’ve rarely done before but may be tempted to try). You can find out more about all the events on offer by visiting the Twitter and Instagram accounts linked above.
To begin with I’ll be attempting:

PeriloftheFictionRead1 PeriloftheScreen

Peril of the Fiction Read:  This is the one that I participate in most often, reading as much from any of the categories mentioned above, and anything else I find during the event that catches my eye.

Peril of the Screen:  This is for those who like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious or gothic fare. It may be a television show, or your favorite film.

A Potential TBR List

I don’t have a definite reading/viewing plan at the moment, but there are a few books I might like to read throughout this event. I may read a selection from the following:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Progress

Peril of the Fiction Read

Peril of the Screen

The Conjuring 2
A Quiet Place Part II


I’m really looking forward to one of my favourite reading events during my favourite season. Are you tempted to join in with #RIPXVI?

Booking Ahead: September 2021

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.

The arrival of autumn usually sees me craving something a little gothic or slightly spooky in my reading choices, and this year is no exception. I always look forward to choosing potential reads for when the afternoons are rainy and cool or the nights are beginning to draw in and I want to get lost in a great read.
There are many titles I’m interested in reading at the moment, so this month I’m going very much overboard with my list, knowing that there’s no chance I’ll read them all in September, but thinking more that they’ll see me through the whole season.
In keeping with a change of reading mood, and Readers Imbibing Peril (#RIPXVI) happening throughout September and October, here are a few (or a lot of) titles catching my eye at the moment…

To begin, books I hope to try in September – gothic, historical, mystery, magical, academic settings, I can’t wait to get started…

The Secret History by Donna Tartt – you know that autumn and particularly September are upon us when this title appears on my TBR list again. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve thought I would like to read this book and yet so far I still haven’t managed to get around to it. It’s always this time of year when I remember it too.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – A magical school setting? Next book available very soon? Sounds good.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – I loved The Ten Thousand Doors of January when I read it earlier this year, so I’d like to find time for this over the coming weeks.

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers – Two timelines – Paris, 1925 and Virginia, 2005 – a circus setting, and a possible family curse. This sounds mysterious and magical.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – I’ve seen a lot of good reviews for this one, and I’ve had it on my TBR list for ages now, so hopefully this season I’ll finally discover it for myself.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – This would be a reread, which I’ve been doing quite a lot recently having never done it before. It’s so long since I first read this. It was probably pre-blogging days because I don’t think I ever wrote about it.

And possibly getting slightly more strange and spooky towards and during October with…

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward – Have seen so many reviews for this that say just enough without giving anything anyway and I’m intrigued. I’ve wanted to read this for a while but kept saving it for this time of year.

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell – I’ve read all of Laura Purcell’s novels so far and enjoyed every one. I think my favourite is still The Silent Companions, which is definitely one I’d recommend for the dark nights of autumn. This latest is another title I’ve been saving for my seasonal TBR list.

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier – It’s a long time since I read anything by Daphne du Maurier and the mention of apparent time travel makes this sound interesting.

It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan – A decaying mansion on the edge of a swamp and plenty of spooky goings-on by the sound of it, this sounds like a great choice for Readers Imbibing Peril.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – Another tale with a possibly haunted house, in this case Baneberry Hall, a place to which Maggie Holt returns after many years to renovate and prepare it for sale.

So, there’s a list guaranteed to keep me reading well into autumn. There’s little chance I’ll read all of these, and I’ll probably narrow my choices down a little for my Readers Imbibing Peril post later this week.


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 for another Booking Ahead.

Series Review: House of Crows (All My Darkest Impulses, Fog Descending, Circling the Drain, Love the Way You Lie) by Lisa Unger

AllMyDarkestImpulses FogDescending
CirclingTheDrain LoveTheWayYouLie

That long-ago summer, four friends came face-to-face with strange, dark events they couldn’t explain away. As they grew up and left town, they all tried to forget. Instead, their secrets shaped their lives, haunting each of them in their own way. Now, in this chilling four-part serial by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, it’s time to come home.

My Rating:

4ddiamonds

My Thoughts:

All My Darkest Impulses – 56 pages
Fog Descending – 60 pages
Circling the Drain – 60 pages
Love the Way You Lie – 76 pages

All books were published on May 27th 2021 by Amazon Original Stories

AllMyDarkestImpulsesAll My Darkest Impulses is the first in a four part collection of short stories that make up House of Crows. I read The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger last year, another short story, and enjoyed it so much that as soon as I saw this series of four connected stories, I knew I’d have to give it a try. Apparently the series is loosely inspired by The Haunting of Hill House and that’s just one more reason it found it’s way onto my endless list of books to read as autumn approaches.

In this first instalment we’re introduced to the house at the centre of it all. Merle House – massive, decrepit, an unwanted inheritance to Matthew Merle, who goes there with his family with the view to making it saleable and being free of the place, for of course, there’s a history attached, one that is teased at in this opening tale, and it involves Matthew and a group of friends during their younger days.
We also meet Claire, one of Matthew’s childhood friends who knows something of the history of Merle House. Years later it still seems to haunt her, and a traumatic experience during work starts Claire thinking that it may be time to return.

Creaky old house, strange noises in the night, visions that may be dreams, things that can’t be possible and yet in the moment they are, all courtesy of Merle House. There’s an air of mystery and menace about the place, and All My Darkest Impulses is a great introduction to what I hope is going to be en entertaining series. After something of a swift conclusion I think I’m going to read the rest of the series right away as they’re all already available, so, on to book 2…

FogDescending Fog Descending is the second volume of the story, and focuses on another of Matthew’s friends, Ian, a man working as a ‘spiritual cleanser‘, ridding homes of negative energy. Ian shared that summer with Matthew and his group of friends, when a girl went missing, and strange things happened.
The narrative goes between Ian, his memories of the past, and continues the thread set up in the first book, resolving that cliffhanger and continuing the tale of Merle House and introducing the Dark Man – a myth, or something inexplicable but real? Who knows?
There are some wonderfully creepy moments in this short tale, all adding to the overall mystery of Merle House and a past that draws this varying group of people back together. It also reveals more about the mysterious Havenwood, briefly mentioned in the previous story, now brought to atmospheric and eerie life as Ian recalls the abandoned place in the woods that he and his friends stumbled across all those years ago. As with the previous story, this one concludes with Ian’s realisation that he must return home, that things from the past need dealing with.
And so, with one remaining member of the childhood friendship group to meet, I’m moving on to…

CirclingTheDrainCircling The Drain, the third in the House of Crows series, and our introduction to Mason. I moved straight on to this volume without reading the blurb, it’s the continuation of one larger story after all, so I had no idea we would meet the adult Mason working with troubled teens suffering from anxiety. He’s doing his best, grateful for the opportunity he’s been given, and trying to make the most of it, so when the past comes calling via one of the group members looking him up online and finding out about a missing girl from years ago, it’s not great news.

The story switches between Mason and the Merle family, back at Merle House, where Matthew’s daughter Jewel is experiencing things that cannot possibly be real, and getting involved with an online friendship with someone called Eldon, apparently a boy she met in an online game, to whom she confides some of her worries and fears.
I enjoyed the ongoing mystery and general air of the supernatural around Merle House, from the weird noises, to Matthew’s late-night wanderings, to the realtor in search of answers about her family’s past.
Mason’s willingness to assist someone asking for help gets him into all manner of trouble and leads to the inevitable return to face the past of Merle House. And so we proceed to…

LoveTheWayYouLie Love The Way You Lie, the fourth and final volume in this enjoyable series. The final book blends past and present, truth and revelations, and things long hidden finally come to light. The myth and legend of the Dark Man is finally revealed as Matthew and his friends reunite once more to try and find Matthew’s daughter Jewel, missing and presumed to have ventured out to Havenwood, and put to rest their shared and troubled past.
It made for exciting reading as the conclusion drew closer. It’s fraught and I couldn’t put the book down, needing to know whether Jewel would be safe and what had really happened to this groups of friends years ago.

I really enjoyed reading this series. The narrative switching between the present and past, the way the group came back together, the darkness at the heart of Merle House, bleak, tragic and awful. I don’t want to say too much more and risk spoilers, but this series is well worth a read.

Book Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Name:  The Devil and the Dark Water
Author: 
Stuart Turton
Number of Pages: 
498 (ebook)
Published:
  October 6th 2020 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Mystery

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. Anyone could be to blame. Even a demon.And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

My Rating:

5diamonds

My Thoughts:

There’s trouble at sea in the latest novel from Stuart Turton. After enjoying The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle so much I had high hopes for this book and it certainly didn’t disappoint with a marvellous blend of murder mystery, eerie and possible supernatural goings-on, and intrigue amongst a varied group of people drawn together within the confines of a ship bound for a long voyage back to Amsterdam. When the ship is threatened before the journey even begins, it sets the tone for what is the come…

I’m not quite sure where to begin as there are many things that made this a gripping read.
It is a great mystery with a slightly claustrophobic air as all those people board the ship bound for Amsterdam. It’s wonderfully eerie as rumours abound that some kind of demon going by the name of Old Tom is actually what threatens the voyage. The air of malevolence and threat from this apparent demon – the presence of a shadowy figure glimpsed at portholes and in darkened corridors, whispers that it may be able to possess people and therefore walk undetected – all adds to the air of suspense and paranoia among the passengers and crew, many of whom are convinced that something evil is onboard the Saardam.

Amongst a memorable cast of characters are Samuel Pipps, Arent Hayes and Sara Wessel.
Pipps is a famous detective, perfect to get to the bottom of the strange happenings, but on this occasion he’s also a prisoner, confined to a darkened hole of a cell within the depths of the Saardam, awaiting his fate as he’s transported back to Amsterdam to face trial for an alleged crime.

Arent is a famous solider, and protector and companion to Sammy Pipps. He reluctantly comes to the fore to pursue leads that Pipps himself is unable to, having previously worked on cases with the great detective. He searches for the truth whilst seeking out his friend and mentor for advice whenever he can, doubting his own abilities after past experiences.

Sara is the wife of the Governer General. Having witnessed the initial threat to the voyage she’s reluctant to endure the journey and put her daughter at risk, but unable to convince her husband not to travel she immerses herself fully in the mystery, trying to find answers whilst exploring parts of the ship she really shouldn’t be venturing to. She’s driven by an urge to protect her daughter and never shies away from potential danger. Sara and Arent Hayes are drawn together despite being very different.

There are some wonderfully written moments which I was going to describe but it’s better to discover them in the reading of the story, a story that really keeps you guessing. Is there anything to this talk of Old Tom, or is it being magnified by a group of scared and superstitious people adrift and under threat from some unknown source?
I found myself trying to anticipate whether there was a human element, someone with a vendetta or reason to cause all this trouble, or whether it’s all so extraordinary that there’s no other explanation than something supernatural, and if that’s the case then how on earth will the passengers of the Saardam survive their journey?
I tried to guess for a while before the narrative just grabbed me and I sat back and went along for the ride. The final third of the novel was all action, as the situation gradually became clear, and I couldn’t tear myself away from needing just one more chapter to discover what would happen next.

I loved The Devil and the Dark Water. A group of people stranded at sea, confined together, the crew awash with colourful characters, from the rich and powerful to the roughest sailors, all at the mercy of someone or something, the ambiguity of the threat, the eeriness, the fact that there is such a mix of people to suspect of the various crimes and many possible reasons for someone to want vengeance, the potential that it’s something supernatural after all, it all made for an exciting read.

Booking Ahead: August 2021

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.

It’s time to select a few potential reads for the month. As predicted, due to reading Wizard and Glass I didn’t have chance to read much else last month, so there’s at least one book here making a reappearance. I’m reading slowly again at the moment, so this month I’m only going to choose a couple of books…

The Wind Through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King – Roland Deschain and his ka-tet—Jake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy, the billy-bumbler—encounter a ferocious storm just after crossing the River Whye on their way to the Outer Baronies. As they shelter from the howling gale, Roland tells his friends not just one strange story but two . . . and in so doing, casts new light on his own troubled past.

In his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death, Roland is sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man” preying upon the population around Debaria. Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, the brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Only a teenager himself, Roland calms the boy and prepares him for the following day’s trials by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother often read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” Roland says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them.” And indeed, the tale that Roland unfolds, the legend of Tim Stoutheart, is a timeless treasure for all ages, a story that lives for us.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.


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 for another Booking Ahead.