Reading Wrap-Up: March 2020

I don’t think I’m exagerating when I say that this has been one of the weirdest months to date. On a lighter note, the current climate is perfect reading conditions. I read eighteen books this month which is a lot, even for me!

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Books I Read:

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M.C Beaton 🌟🌟🌟

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist is the sixth book in the Agatha Raisin series, a cosy murder mystery series following a retired PR-whizz who moves to the Cotswolds. Originally published in 1997, much like the other books, it does feel a bit dated. As the book takes place in Northern Cypress, where Agatha has followed her obsession, ex-fiance, and neighbour, James, the attitudes toward the Cypriots and Turks is a little uncomfortable to read. Strangely it was not as offputting as it has been in some of the other books and I did find myself enjoying it. It isn’t the sort of book that you would drop everything else to read but it’s a fun enough mystery, and sort enough, to keep you reading. I really, reallyhope that Agatha is done with James now because he is just not a good person, and she’s so much better than him. I say that as someone who doesn’t even like Agatha all that much. As I’ve been able to get these from my library I will keep reading, and look forward to the books getting more contemporary as I reach the newer books.

Recursion by Blake Crouch 🌟🌟🌟

Recursion is a sci-fi thriller that revolves around a memory chair, a device with which it is possible to go back in time to relive your life from a certain point. However, once you reach the anniversary of using the chair everyone begins to remember their past lives, which causes chaos and confusion. After reading Blake Crouch’s previous book, Dark Matter I was a bit worried that I would not love Recursion as much. As it turns out I don’t love it as much, but it is still a pretty enjoyable sci-fi thriller. As people remember their past lives, in what the characters dub ‘dead memories’ the book seems to have echoes of Dark Matter which, while an interesting concept, if not conducive to being able to review this book fairly. Regardless of the actual plot this book just did not feel as well written as Dark Matter and if I didn’t know any better I would have said that this had been written first. Overall it is a strange little book and definitely not as bad as some reviews make it out to be. 

Stan Lee Presents Captain America by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I picked this little guy up on a whim when I was browsing a local second-hand bookshop, with very little clue as to what it was. With a little research, I found out that this book, published in 1979, collects a run of Captain America issues, back when he was published under ‘Tales of Suspense’, from November 1964 through to November 1965 (Issues #59-71), along with Avengers #4 (1964, “Captain America Joins the Avengers”). Condensed to the size of a pocketbook Stan Lee Presents Captain America was a great introduction to silver age comics and I could not be more chuffed with my purchase. In fact, I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in vintage Marvel because by giving you a nice little run of stories it’s almost like a crash course for the character during this period. You get to see exactly how the writers were using the character, what was working for them, and also what wasn’t. What was most striking to me as a modern reader was seeing that the team behind this, Lee and Kirby, have such a presence on the page that is so absent in modern-day comics. Reading this book has defiantly made me eager to read more silver age and golden age comics, and even more desperate to get my hands on the Folio Society Marvel collection.

Styx and Stones by Carola Dunn 🌟🌟🌟

Styx and Stones is the seventh book in the Daisy Dalrymple series of 1920s set cosy murder mysteries. Initially, I was a little concerned that there was not going to be any murder in this book, which seems like a strange concern to have. According to the blurb Daisy is investigating a series of poison-pen letters, but fear not there is also a murder to investigate. Because of the additional poison pen mystery, the pacing of this novel was different from the rest, and it was refreshing to have Dunn mix things up a little. As a result, I really enjoyed this on, more than some of the others, and was pleasantly surprised. I do think that it was a shame we did not get to witness an event which happened at the very end which, while a bit stereotypical of the genre, I really enjoy seeing but other than that it was a great addition to the series.

Cover Her Face by P.D. James 🌟🌟🌟

Cover Her Face is the first book in a murder mystery series following Detective Adam Dalgleish. The murder takes place at a country house and has a very Christie vibe to it, which is my prefered sort of mystery. In comparison to the recent mysteries I’ve been reading, The Agatha Raisin series and Daisy Dalrymple books, it is glaringly obvious that P. D. James is a much better writer. The writing alone has the ability to pull you into the book and keeps everything flowing beautifully. However, the reason that it gets the same rating as those books is that the character of the detective is lacking. Had this been a stand-alone I would not have paid much attention, but knowing that there are a whole host of books following Dalgleish is very confusing to me. I loved this book but I could not tell you a single character trait of Dalgleish. The final few pages seemed to be trying to rectify this but it felt a bit out of place by that point. That said I am looking forward to reading more from this series and this author, and hope that Dalgleigh gets a bit more to do in the future.

The Big Four by Agatha Christie 🌟🌟🌟

The Big Four is a mystery novel following the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who I’m sure you have already heard of. The plot surrounds a mysterious organisation made up of four individuals who are up to no good. In comparison to other Christie mysteries, this did seem to veer towards the ridiculous. However, that said I cannot say that I did not enjoy myself quite a bit while I was reading. The Big Four, as a villain reminded me quite a bit of Moriarty, which I enjoyed because all mystery writers owe a debt to Doyle, Christie included. Overall it wasn’t my favourite mystery, and it wouldn’t be the first one I recommend, but if you really like Poirot, and Hastings then this is quite a funny one.

The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence 🌟🌟

After reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover for the first time this year and thoroughly enjoying it I thought I would try another of Lawerence’s novels. The Rainbow follows a couple of generations of the Brangweng family, and that’s pretty much all I can tell you. I lost track of who was who, so there is a big part of this book where I was just very confused. There were a couple of parts which I did find myself enjoying the book, so it’s possible that my rating would change on a reread, and I may adjust my rating. Perhaps reading it as an audiobook was not the best format for this particular story.

American Royals by Katherine McGee 🌟🌟🌟

I had seen this book around, and despite the fact that I didn’t really know what it was about I decided to borrow it from my library on a whim. American Royals presents a world in which America has a royal family, and follows various member from that family in modern-day America. I thought that this would be fun and fast-paced, and the perfect book to read right now but I was a little disappointed. Unfortunately, I was just a bit bored the whole way through. The only reason I finished it so quickly was that I was rewarding myself by reading chapters of another book. The author spends so much time explaining how the royal family works, and how that changes American life, but I just did not care. If I’m going to read about royalty I think I would rather it be either historical or subtextual royalty. Overall it was okay, but I did not grip me the way I wanted it to.

Bound by Hatred by Cora Reilly. 🌟🌟🌟

Bound by Hatred is the third book in the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, an adult romance series that follows a different couple each time. This time was Matteo and Gianna’s turn which I have been really looking forward to because I’ve always thought that they had such an interesting dynamic. I loved getting to see the way that the two characters bounce off of one another, and could not stop reading. We even got to see Matteo’s POV as well as Gianna’s which was extra special as I adore split POVs, especially in romance. The problem I had with the book, which resulted in it getting three stars rather than four, was that I felt the pace was really off. We see a lot of the first book from Matteo and Gianna’s POVs which I would have cut completely as it was not needed here. The ending also felt a little rushed, as though the author wanted to keep toa particular page number, rather than exceeding it. Overall, I really enjoyed this one, despite the pacing, and know that I will look forward to re-reading it one day.

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Books I Re-read:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Luca Vitiello by Cora Reilly 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Bound by Duty by Cora Reilly 🌟🌟🌟

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Books I Reviewed:

Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson 🌟🌟🌟🌟

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee 🌟🌟🌟

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Reviews that are Coming Soon:

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare 🌟🌟🌟

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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What about you? What books did you read this month? Are you on track with your GoodReads reading goal?

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