November 2021 Wrap Up

Hello!

Well another month is over and I will be officially starting my Christmas reads tomorrow. November wasn’t as good as October on the reading front but I still managed a few books. I have fallen rather behind on my reviews though but I hope to catch up soon.

Statistics

Books

Pages: 78

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Pages: 304

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 158

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Pages: 96

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Pages: 384

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Pages: 320

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Goodreads Challenge: 61/70

Happy Reading

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Chess by Stefan Zweig (Review)

Chess by Stefan Zweig

Blurb

On a cruise ship bound for Buenos Aires, a wealthy passenger challenges the world chess champion to a match. He accepts with a sneer. He will beat anyone, he says. But only if the stakes are high. Soon, the chess board is surrounded. At first, the challenger crumbles before the mind of the master. But then, a soft-spoken voice from the crowd begins to whisper nervous suggestions. Perfect moves, brilliant predictions. The speaker has not played a game for more than twenty years, he says. He is wholly unknown. But somehow, he is also entirely formidable

Review

Well this book was very much a wild card for me. I spotted this book hidden on a bookshelf of much bigger books whilst on holiday in Hay on Wye and although I had never heard of the author I felt drawn to the story. At only 76 pages this book was a quick read for me that I completed in one sitting and it was an interesting read. 

The narrator of the book is an Austrian who is on the cruise ship bound for Buenos Aires. The cruise ship also has on board a world famous chess player called Czentovic who will happily play a game of chess if the money is right. The narrator tells us of how Czentovic is challenged by a wealthy man and so the game of chess begins. However, just as it looks like Czentovic has won, a stranger lends some helpful advice to the wealthy man. After that the narrator finds out all about the stranger and why he is so good at chess.

This short story is beautifully written and is concise and just the right length. I sometimes find that a short story feels rushed and leaves you wanting a longer story but this one is paced perfectly and leaves you satisfied you have read a short story with no details missing. I really enjoyed this story and I plan on reading more books by Zweig. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | 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

Stefan Zweig was one of the world’s most famous writers during the 1920s and 1930s, especially in the U.S., South America, and Europe. He produced novels, plays, biographies, and journalist pieces. Among his most famous works are Beware of Pity, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. He and his second wife committed suicide in 1942.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Borderlands by Brain McGilloway (Review)

Borderlands by Brian McGilloway

Blurb

The corpse of local teenager Angela Cashell is found on the Tyrone- Donegal border, between the North and South of Ireland, in an area known as the borderlands. Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin heads the investigation: the only clues are a gold ring placed on the girl’s finger and an old photograph, left where she died.

Then another teenager is murdered, and things become further complicated when Devlin unearths a link between the recent killings and the disappearance of a prostitute twenty-five years earlier – a case in which he believes one of his own colleagues is implicated.

As a thickening snow storm blurs the border between North and South, Devlin finds the distinction between right and wrong, vengeance and justice, and even police-officer and criminal becoming equally unclear.

Review

I received this book as one of my Willoughby Bookclub books and to be honest it just went on my never ending TBR pile but the other day I was looking for something different and I found this and decided to give it a go. I am so pleased I gave the book the chance because I loved it. 

It took me a little bit of time to get used to McGilloway’s writing style but once I had there was no going back. The opening scene immediately hooked me in and I wanted to know more. The corpse of a teenage girl has been found on the border between North and South of Ireland so first the decision must be made of who has jurisdiction of the crime but eventually it is decided it is the Garda and so Inspector Devlin is put in charge. 

Devlin is an average man, working in a police station that is very lacking in facilities, which leaves Devlin and his team working out of a store cupboard. Devlin is married with two children and a dog but he also has a past that interferes with his marriage at times and I must admit that when this happens in the book it does show that Devlin at times can be a rather weak character. 

As the story progresses another murder takes place with seemingly no link to the previous murder and this adds to Devlin’s workload. At the same time he must protect his family from attack and work out what the mysterious wild cat that is supposedly attacking local sheep actually is. 

As things start to develop Devlin has some difficult decisions ahead and he is unsure of who he can and can’t trust. I loved this book and have bought the following two books in the series which I hope are just as good. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Purchase Links

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

Brian McGilloway is an author hailing from Derry, Northern Ireland. He studied English at Queens University Belfast, where he was very active in student theatre, winning a prestigious national Irish Student Drama Association award for theatrical lighting design in 1996. He is currently Head of English at St. Columb’s College, Derry. McGilloway’s debut novel was a crime thriller called Borderlands. Borderlands was shortlisted for a Crime Writers’ Association Dagger award for a debut novel.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (Review)

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Blurb

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with an apparent drug overdose.

However, the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information, but before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death. Luckily one of Roger’s friends and the newest resident to retire to this normally quiet village takes over—none other than Monsieur Hercule Poirot . . .

Review

Is there anything better than reading a book where the great detective Hercule Poirot is first introduced on the scene by him hurling a marrow over his garden fence? In my humble opinion no and I burst out laughing when it happened. I just love how eccentric Poirot is in the books which they never capture in the TV series, he is far too serious on TV in my opinion. 

The book is narrated not by the usual Hastings but by Doctor Sheppard. The good doctor lives with his sister Caroline who is a spinster who lives to find out all the gossip of their tiny village. This leaves the poor doctor rather exasperated and you can tell his life with his sister is one that he would happily like to escape at times. This means that the doctor jumps at the chance to be the sidekick of Poirot as Poirot investigates the murder of Roger Ackroyd. 

Roger Ackroyd is a very wealthy man with a step son who always needs money and a sister in law and a niece who are now in his care and also want his money. But Roger Ackroyd is very tight with his money, he also knows too much. So when Roger Ackroyd is found murdered his friend Poirot is asked to investigate. 

Poirot has apparently retired from his detective work and is now growing marrows in the country. However, you can tell that he relishes the chance to investigate the crime and leave his marrows to themselves. Poirot is on fine form in this book and I just love how quite often the inspector and Dr Sheppard think that Poirot has lost the plot and is not what he used to be. But in true Poirot fashion that is exactly what he wants people to think. 

Christie throws so many red herrings at you in this book that I spent all my time thinking it’s him! it’s her! I have no clue anymore! I definitely did not see the ending and even now I’m still not sure that the ending is all as it seems. Is Christie still holding something back? I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

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.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie (Review)

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

Blurb

What is The Secret of Chimneys? A young drifter finds out when a favour for a friend pulls him into the heart of a deadly conspiracy in this captivating classic from Agatha Christie.

Little did Anthony Cade suspect that an errand for a friend would place him at the centre of a deadly conspiracy. Drawn into a web of intrigue, he begins to realise that the simple favour has placed him in serious danger.

As events unfold, the combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Sûreté gradually converge on Chimneys, the great country estate that hides an amazing secret. . . . 

Review

This was the next book in my Christie challenge and I think it is probably my favourite so far. I really could not put this book down and just loved all the red herrings that Christie throws at you. 

Now I will be honest there is an element of the ridiculous in this story and usually that annoys me but this time I just found it added to the story. Anthony Cade is doing a favour for a friend because the money is good and because he likes an outrageous adventure and he thinks that this favour will throw him into some interesting circumstances and he is not disappointed. 

As the story moves on Cade is drawn to the house Chimneys which is the setting of a house party for political reasons. Virginia Revel is also at this house party and she is definitely the star of the show. Virginia is a woman that men find themselves drawn to and she knows how to use this to her advantage. She is also a woman who likes a weird experience or adventure and because of this she finds herself dealing with the mysterious events at Chimneys. 

This is essentially a political thriller with a few surprises and some fun characters. The book is fast paced like Bundle’s driving, who I also think was my favourite character. I must admit I did not see the ending at all which was really good because I hate a predictable book. I happily give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase links

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.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Maigret Challenge #1

Hello!

I thought it was time for an update on my Maigret reading challenge. I did read some Maigret books in October so I have a few more books ticked off the list.

  1. Pietr the Latvian
  2. The Late Monsieur Gallet
  3. The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien
  4. The Carter of La Providence
  5. The Yellow Dog
  6. Night at the Crossroads
  7. A Crime in Holland
  8. The Grand Banks Cafe
  9. A Man’s Head
  10. The Dancer at Gai-Moulin
  11. The Two-Penny Bar
  12. The Shadow Puppet
  13. The Saint-Fiacre Affair
  14. The Flemish House
  15. The Madman of Bergerac
  16. The Misty Harbour
  17. Liberty Bar
  18. Lock No.1
  19. Maigret
  20. Cecile is Dead
  21. The Cellars of the Majestic
  22. The Judge’s House
  23. Signed, Picpus
  24. Inspector Cadaver
  25. Felicie
  26. Maigret gets Angry
  27. Maigret in New York
  28. Maigret’s Holiday
  29. Maigret’s Dead Man
  30. Maigret’s First Case
  31. My Friend Maigret
  32. Maigret at the Coroner’s
  33. Maigret and the Old Lady
  34. Madame Maigret’s Friend
  35. Maigret’s Memoirs
  36. Maigret’s at Picratt’s
  37. Maigret Takes a Room
  38. Maigret and the Tall Woman
  39. Maigret, Lognon and the Gangsters
  40. Maigret’s Revolver
  41. Maigret and the Man on the Bench
  42. Maigret is Afraid
  43. Maigret’s Mistake
  44. Maigret Goes to School
  45. Maigret and the Dead Girl
  46. Maigret and the Minister/ Maigret and the Calame Report
  47. Maigret and the Headless Corpse
  48. Maigret Sets a Trap
  49. Maigret’s Failure
  50. Maigret Enjoys Himself
  51. Maigret Travels
  52. Maigret’s Doubts
  53. Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses
  54. Maigret’s Secret
  55. Maigret in Court
  56. Maigret and the Old People
  57. Maigret and the Lazy Burglar
  58. Maigret and the Good People of Montparnasse
  59. Maigret and the Saturday Caller
  60. Maigret and the Tramp
  61. Maigret’s Anger
  62. Maigret and the Ghost
  63. Maigret Defends Himself
  64. Maigret’s Patience
  65. Maigret and the Nahour Case
  66. Maigret’s Pickpocket
  67. Maigret Hesitates
  68. Maigret in Vichy
  69. Maigret’s Childhood Friend
  70. Maigret and the Killer
  71. Maigret and the Wine Merchant
  72. Maigret’s Madwoman
  73. Maigret and the Loner
  74. Maigret and the Informer
  75. Maigret and Monsieur Charles

Just 67 books to go! Time to order some more books.

Please drop me message if you have read any Maigret books.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

October 2021 Wrap Up

Well another month is over and I find myself looking forward to Christmas books but I must resist till December 1st.

October was a really good month for reading. I read 9 books in total which is the best so far this year.

Statistics

Books

Pages: 368

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 134

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 413

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 128

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 336

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Pages: 288

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Pages: 32

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Pages: 76

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Pages: 150

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review to follow

Goodreads Challenge: 55/70

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

In the Shadow of Queens by Alison Weir (Review)

In the Shadow of Queens by Alison Weir

Blurb

Behind every great king stands a queen. And behind every queen, the whole court watches on…

Over the years of his reign, six different women took their place beside King Henry VIII of England as his wife and queen.

But the real stories of the six Tudor queens belong to those who lived among them. Played out in glittering palaces and whispering courts, these are tales of the people who loved and served these women, and those who lied and betrayed them.

Collected together for the first time, In the Shadow of Queens reveals thirteen startling stories from the Tudor court, told by those at the very heart of that world.

Review

I had already read the first few of these short stories on my Kindle but when I saw that the complete set had been put into a book I immediately ordered myself a copy. 

I reread the first few stories and then read the rest of the book. The only story that I really did not enjoy was the very last story. I found it so sad and disgraceful that poor Katharine Parr was not allowed to rest in peace and her grave was opened up and and vandalised so many times over the years. 

I must admit the stories got longer as the book went on which seemed a shame because the first few stories were very short in comparison. I would have liked the first few stories to be longer. I really enjoyed how Weir chose her topics for the stories. They were all connected with the queens in some way but some were based on places and some on people even if they were quite obscure people. 

I also really enjoyed Weir’s notes about what was historically accurate and what bits she embellished by herself. All the stories offered new view points of the queens lives which was really interesting. I particularly enjoyed the story about the infant Mary Seymour which we sadly know so little about. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I am very sad the series have come to end. I will definitely be reading more books by Weir. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

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

Alison Weir was born in 1951 and is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British Royalty.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Wish You Were Dead by Peter James (Review)

Wish You Were Dead by Peter James

Blurb

Wish You Were Dead is a Quick Read short story from bestselling author Peter James. Roy Grace and his family have left Sussex behind for a week’s holiday in France. The website promised a grand house, but when they arrive the place is very different from the pictures. And it soon becomes clear that their holiday nightmare is only just beginning. An old enemy of Roy, a lowlife criminal he had put behind bars, is now out of jail – and out for revenge. He knows where Roy and his family have gone on holiday. Of course he does. He’s been hacking their emails – and they are in the perfect spot for him to pay Roy back . . . 

Review

I got this book because I saw a review of it on bookstagram and thought it sounded good and I do enjoy the occasional quick read. This is also my first book by Peter James and it will definitely not be my last. 

I flew through this book and not because it was a quick read, I just could not put it down. Detective Roy Grace is on holiday but after a long and arduous drive where his son drives him mad with the constant “are we there yet?” The drive ends with a disappointing location which looks nothing like what was on the website and something more out of a horror film. Grace’s wife wants to leave straight away but there is no way Grace is doing anymore driving. 

The first mystery that faces them is where Jack is. Jack is meant to already be at the house but he isn’t and because of no phone line and no phone signal they have no way of contacting him. However, it soon becomes clear that Jack’s absence is not the only odd thing the family are encountering. Somebody else knows where Grace and his family are on holiday and this person is far from savoury and will soon make an appearance. 

The story moves very quickly which is to be expected due to the book being a quick read but this just added to the tension in my opinion. I really enjoyed this book and will be getting more books about Detective Roy Grace. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

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

Peter James is a UK number one bestselling author, best known for his crime and thriller novels. He is the creator of the much loved detective Roy Grace. His books have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

He has won over forty awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award. Many of his books have been adapted for film, TV and stage. 

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I have been very naughty this week and fallen behind with my blog posts. I know I keep saying I will get better but I seem to be getting worse. Hopefully, I will get into a good blogging routine soon.

Anyway, here is what I have been up to.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

I’ve slowed down a little bit on SPQR but I’m still enjoying it and chipping away at it. I just started The Secret of Chimneys last night, so far so good.

Acquired Books

This arrived a couple of days ago, my Christmas reading list has started to build up.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you