The Weekly Brief

Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone has had a good weekend.

Here is is what has been happening on the blog during the week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

As you can see I have been a bit quieter this week on the blog but next week will be better, I promise as I have a few book reviews to post and updates on my reading challenges.

Happy Reading.


Friday Poetry: Spike Milligan

Happy Friday!

The chosen poem today is just a short one by Spike Milligan but I think it is rather apt for the amount of rain we have had recently.


There are holes in the sky.
Where the rain gets in.
But they're ever so small.
That's why the rain is thin.

Spike Milligan

Happy Reading.

Photo is of some of the flooding we saw on our walk.

WWW Wednesday: 27/01/2021

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Happy Wednesday!

I have had another great week reading and so far I have read some really good books to kick off 2021. So here is what I have been up to…

What I am Currently Reading

I have just started this and so far it is ok. One of my favourite Star Trek characters is Deanna Troi so it is nice to read about her.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

The House on Vesper Sands didn’t really knock me off my feet but it was ok. The Mysterious Affair at Styles was fab and I just adored Poirot.

What I Think I will Read Next

These new books are tempting me greatly so it will be one of these next.

There is my WWW Wednesday, please drop me a link to your post and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading.

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For more info please check out Jana’s blog.


I love discovering new authors so I thought this was a good post for me take part in. So here are my 10 authors that I discovered in 2020.

The Countess of Carnarvon

I read Christmas at Highclere just before Christmas and I loved it and I really enjoyed The Countess of Carnarvon’s writing style and decided that 2021 would be the year I read some more of her books.

Stephen Fry

I have never read any of Stephen Fry’s books before but owned quite a few and I read my first one, Mythos, in 2020 and it will definitely not be my last.

Mike Gayle

I discovered Mike Gayle last year through a book club that was set up through a local bookshop. I quickly read through the book Half a World Away and then promptly read All the Lonely People. I will definitely be reading more of Mike Gayle and highly recommend him.

Madeline Miller

I read The Song of Achilles and it was a true stroke of genius that I adored.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I read Mexican Gothic and it really stuck with me. It is one of those stories that you just keep thinking about.

Beth O’Leary

Beth O’Leary’s The Flat Share was recommended to me by my best friend and I laughed my head off whilst reading it and now O’Leary will definitely be an author I turn to again.

Alison Weir

I read my first Alison Weir last year and then read loads of Alison Weir books and bought loads as well. She has become one of my favourite authors.

I only have seven authors that I discovered last year but they were all firm new additions to my TBR.

Please drop me a message if you want a chat about these authors. Please drop me link to your TTT and I will head over for a visit.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (Review)

The Mysterious Affair at Style by Agatha Christie 


Hercule Poirot is intrigued by the details surrounding the murder of wealthy Mrs Inglethorp, mistress of Styles Court. This was Agatha Christie’s first Poirot novel, published in 1921.


This is my first full length Christie novel that I have read and is part of my challenge to read more Christie novels and not just the short stories. I love watching adaptations of Poirot and Miss Marple on TV and so I was really excited to read my first full length novel and the first ever Poirot novel. 

I was pleased to see that Hastings was his usual bumbling self who is always wrong but convinced that he is right and that Poirot is wrong and going senile in his old age. He really made me laugh in this book and his random outbursts were hilarious.

Poirot was a massive surprise and I absolutely adored him. He is so eccentric and you never know what he is going to do next. My favourite scene has got to be where he goes off skipping with joy down the lawn. He is a truly brilliant character which is ten times better in the book than on the screen. 

I really enjoyed the story and it really kept me on my toes because once I thought I had worked out who the murderer was I got it completely wrong and the story went in a different direction. We also got a glimpse of the famous Inspector Japp and although we didn’t see much of him it was a good introduction that I am sure we will see more of.

The edition of the book I read also had the original ending that Christie had written as well as the one published and I must admit after reading both I much prefer the one that is published rather than the one Christie originally planned. The two endings are very good but I really like where Poirot and Hastings sit down and sum everything up and talk over the case at the end of the published ending.

This is my first full length Christie novel and it will definitely not be my last and I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons. I just loved all the twists and turns and Poirot’s bright green eyes.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was an English writer known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. She also wrote the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap. She also wrote 6 novels under the name Mary Westmacott.

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell (Review)

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell


It is the winter of 1893, and in London the snow is falling.

It is falling as Gideon Bliss seeks shelter in a Soho church, where he finds Angie Tatton lying before the altar. His one-time love is at death’s door, murmuring about brightness and black air, and about those she calls the Spiriters. In the morning she is gone.

The snow is falling as a seamstress climbs onto a ledge above Mayfair, a mysterious message stitched into her own skin. It is falling as she steadies herself and closes her eyes.

It is falling, too, as her employer, Lord Strythe, vanishes into the night, watched by Octavia Hillingdon, a restless society columnist who longs to uncover a story of real importance.

She and Gideon will soon be drawn into the same mystery, each desperate to save Angie and find out the truth about Lord Strythe. Their paths will cross as the darkness gathers, and will lead them at last to what lies hidden at the house on Vesper Sands. 


This is a new author for me and I must admit I was really excited to read the book. When I started the book I really struggled to initially get into it and to start with I did not get on with the character of Octavia, I found her very annoying. Thankfully I kept reading and eventually started to get into the story.

The thing which annoyed me the most was the lack of detail in the book. Octavia and her brother clearly had a back story but we never got to hear what it was. We knew that Inspector Cutter had a story but we never got to hear it fully and there were massive holes in the story that were not fully explained. I really wanted to know more and to be honest that is why I kept reading but I never got those answers.

My favourite character was Inspector Cutter, he was obviously a man who had seen a lot of life and a lot of crime and he knew how to get the answers and results he needed. He had some fantastic lines and I must admit I did laugh quite a lot when reading his interactions with Gideon.

Gideon was an interesting character and I enjoyed seeing how his character developed through the book. He started off very naive but as he worked with Cutter he got to know more of how the real world worked and also realised that his constant talking was not the best thing to be doing.

I enjoyed the book overall but I will be honest I would not read it again. It really had the potential of being an excellent story but it was just lacking. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 


Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Paraic O’Donnell’s first novel, The Maker of Swans, was named the Amazon Rising Stars Debut of the Month for February 2016, and was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards in the Newcomer of the Year category.

Friday Poetry: Eleanor Farjeon

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is having a good day and that you are all looking forward to the weekend. My chosen poem today is an adventure through the imagination.

The Distance

Over the sounding sea,
Off the wandering sea
I smelt the smell of the distance
And longed for another existence.
Smell of pineapple, maize, and myrrh,
Parrot-feather and monkey-fur,
Brown spice,
Blue ice,
Fields of tobacco and tea and rice,

And soundless snows,
And snowy cotton,
Otto of rose
Incense in an ivory palace,
Jungle rivers rich and rotten,
Slumbering valleys
Smouldering mountains
Rank morasses
And frozen fountains,
Black molasses and purple wine,
Coral and pearl and tar and brine,
The smell of panther and polar-bear
And leopard-lair
And mermaid-hair
Came from the four-cornered distance,
And I longed for another existence.

Eleanor Farjeon

Happy Reading

This and That Thursday


I hope everyone has had a good week so far.

Here is what my week has entailed.

Zoom Quiz

We took part in our first Zoom quiz on Saturday and it was great fun. It was so good to have some social fun, even if it was online. Our team came 7th out of 9. The rounds consisted of:-

  1. General Knowledge
  2. Abba
  3. Cheese
  4. Famous People
  5. Shakespeare Plays
  6. Space
  7. Dogs
  8. Royal Family
  9. Music
  10. Sitcoms

Our best round was Abba. I thought I would share the Shakespeare questions with you all and see what you all think. They are all cryptic clues to different plays.

  1. Farce of mistakes
  2. Everything’s satisfactory which terminates satisfactory
  3. Honourable duo from a city of love
  4. Greek statesman, sovereign of a Phoenician city
  5. The subjugation of the fishwife
  6. The trader of Veneto’s capital
  7. The sequel to “The Life and Death of King Richard 2nd”
  8. The convivial consorts of Maidenhead’s neighbour
  9. Priam’s son and Calchas’s daughter
  10. Pumbaa’s friend from the capitol of Greece


I have been getting into my piano playing and I am thoroughly enjoying the new challenge of the pieces. I am hoping I get good enough to do the grade 6 exam this year.


I have finally got back into my exercise and I must admit after a big kettlebell workout on Tuesday I am still aching. I have also started watching the series The Expanse from the beginning whilst using my exercise bike.

TV series

We have almost finished the first series of 24 and I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the show and I think it is really cleverly done.

So there is my week. I hope you enjoy the Shakespeare questions.

Happy Reading