It is time for the second seasonal round up and it means I am halfway through my challenge of trying to read 50 books in 12 months. I started the challenge in September 2017.
At the start of summer I was zooming along, meeting my aim of one book a week. I picked up a few duds along the way and tried to persist with them but they slowed me down. Ideally I would have read 25 books by now but that is not the case. All hits and misses are outlined below.
#1. About Last Night – Catherine Alliott
I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while and sadly I was underwhelmed. I didn’t find it funny or irresistible as the cover suggests. This book took me longer than some of the previous ones I’ve read in this challenge as it wasn’t keeping me interested. The story is kind of dull and there’s not a lot going on. Molly has swapped London for rural Herefordshire and when a relative of her late husband’s leaves a London townhouse in her possession she has to decide whether she will go back to her London lifestyle or make a go of her country life. Along the way the reader meets three potential suitors for Molly and one of the things that kept me reading was to see which one she chooses. The story is long winded but if you’re a fan of this author you’ll probably like it.
#2. After the Funeral – Agatha Christie
I read my first Agatha Christie mystery in the Spring roundup and instantly knew I wanted to read more. As someone who watched the stories on TV before reading them I didn’t realise how quick and easy the books are to read. The stories are well thought out and explained and all loose ends are tied up. I briefly remember this episode of Poirot and was almost certain I knew who the culprit was – I was correct.
#3. The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah
I have been on a real Agatha Christie murder mystery kick lately and I discovered Sophie Hannah has written two ‘new’ Hercule Poirot mysteries (I’m hoping for more). The character of Hercule Poirot is captured beautifully and Sophie Hannah does a brilliant job with him. Poirot has a new sidekick, Edward Catchpool who works at Scotland Yard, and the books are told from his point of view. This mystery was exciting, gripping and had plenty of twists and turns. Sophie Hannah’s books are longer than Agatha Christie’s but the story doesn’t feel drawn out. If you’re a Poirot fan, you’ll love them!
#4. The Anxiety Toolkit – Alice Boyes
This book was a quick, easy read but personally I didn’t find it called out to my anxiety. The quizzes at the start of each chapter were useful as it gave you an idea how much each chapter would relate to you and what you might like to take away from that section. I thought the book would include more tips on how to cope with different types of anxiety but it seemed to generalise rather than give specific examples. It didn’t teach me anything about anxiety, for example how many people suffer from it or the common types.
#5. Closed Casket – Sophie Hannah
This is the second ‘new’ Hercule Poirot novel. The story is typical Poirot, the mystery takes place at a grand, upper class house and there is a whole host of suspects. The story is simple and revolves around figuring out whodunnit. Catchpool returns as Poirot’s sidekick and together they find the culprit. I really, really hope Sophie Hannah writes more Poirot mysteries!
#6. How To Find Love In a Bookshop – Veronica Henry
This book was an easy, enjoyable read. The story centres around Emilia who takes over Nightingale Books after her father passes away. Emilia battles trying to keep the shop open with her personal life and we meet some of the bookshop’s customers along the way and learn the books they all cherish. The story felt very real and believable and I will look into other books by Veronica Henry as a result.
#7. Billy & Me – Giovanna Fletcher
I read this book in four days. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the way the delicate moments and emotional conversations are written. Sophie May is the lead character who works in the local tea shop, lives with her mum and doesn’t have a lot of friends. When actor Billy Buskin comes to town and sweeps Sophie off her feet, her quiet life starts to turn around. Sophie has to cope with media scrutiny, actor life with Billy as well as her own insecurities. Part of the reason I liked this story so much is because I can relate to some of Sophie’s insecurities. As a reader you’re rooting for Sophie and you want her to be happy. I won’t spoil the book for you but the ending doesn’t disappoint.
(Any unfinished books will not be included in the total yearly count).
#1. A Is For Arsenic – Kathryn Harkup
I have been enjoying Agatha Christie’s books lately and I thought this non-fiction offering would be just as interesting. Agatha Christie was famous for using various poisons in her stories and this book talks about how they work and references the Agatha Christie stories the poisons are used in. When I borrowed the book I didn’t realise it would be so science based. I find the asterisks and all the footnotes hard to follow, there are multiple on each page. I got 50 pages in before deciding not to continue. Life’s too short to read books that don’t interest you. If you like science you would find this interesting but I’m more into creative stories.
#2. Highland Fling – Katie Fforde
Katie Fforde is an author whose name I’ve seen pop up a lot but I’d never actually read any of her work. I briefly browsed through a list of her books and what they are about and settled on Highland Fling. The story sounds right up my street but this book doesn’t have any action and I almost felt like as I was reading it I didn’t know what was happening. I made it two thirds of the way through before realising I’ve been reading this book for almost a month, (usually I can finish a book in a week) and I’m not enjoying it so I should move onto something else. How long it takes me to read a book is a sign of whether I like it or not.
Books finished in summer = 7.
Total number of books read = 16.
Other posts in the series:
Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post?