One of my favourite things about the new year is setting some fresh goals.
Last year I set far too many specific goals which ended up being a little unachievable. I’ve learned my lesson and am still setting a lot of goals but they are less specific and hopefully more achievable.
I will still be participating in Read Christie and reading 23 specific books for 2023 but that’s where the specific reads end.
I’m aiming to complete 5 book series this year but I’m not certain which ones. I’m going to leave that open just now and hopefully they will just happen during the year as I have a few final books in a few series that I’ve preordered.
In addition to these goals, I’m hoping to read books with titles covering A-Z as well as participating in a Buzzword challenge.
I’m so excited for all these goals and a fresh year!
They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they’re sixty years old, four women friends can’t just retire – it’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller.
Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.
When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death.
Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman–and a killer–of a certain age.
I was originally a little bit apprehensive going into this book. I love a book with strong female characters but I don’t read a lot of assassin/secret agency books. I was very pleasantly surprised and I had a great time with this one!
I had been very excited to read this one as I am a sucker for a female led story and female friendship.
I really enjoyed the characters. The main characters were 60 year old women and I felt that their interactions were so reminiscent of when I’d see my mum chat to her friends. I really appreciated that the characters weren’t described as being wee old ladies! They had known each other for 40 years and when they got together they somewhat regressed and silly in jokes and their dynamic felt very realistic. I was so worried that they’d be described as being a bit doddery and delicate as so often happens when people write older characters but these characters worked for me.
I do feel like I kept forgetting one of the main characters as there was a bit of development that I felt was lacking. There was the main character, there was the woman who was mourning her husband and was ready to retire, the other two characters merged into one. I kept forgetting there were four main characters and not three.
The story was told through dual timeline. I love a dual timeline! We flipped between a modern day setting where the women were being hunted down and were unsure who to trust and 1979/80. In the flashback sections, I got to learn about the society and how the women were recruited and trained.
I could have happily read an entire book about the founding of the Sphinxes! I wish there were more flashbacks.
There was a betrayal on this book and it felt very obvious who was behind it. I also felt that I saw the twist coming very early on. This disappointed me a little as I think the book could have gone down a different route and done something shocking to the plot.
I really enjoyed this though. I enjoyed the characters, mature female friendship, and women using their skills to win the day. I enjoyed the way that they put their years of work to good use and were forced to work without their usual resources. I highly recommend this one!
Once it hits 29th-31st December my reading is all about finishing off any books that are partially read. I don’t want to carry a book through years, it makes me feel uncomfortable. So I tidied up my active reading list, by reading them, and this allowed me to choose my favourite books of the year. I was reluctant to choose until I’d finished everything because what if one final twist turned an ok book into a favourite?
I also got my stats. I love reading stats and I use both Goodreads and Storygraph so the pages read don’t match. As storygraph was closer to the page numbers when I was logging the books at the time of reading, I’m going with those page figures as being the most realistic. The number of books read was the same across apps and in my own handwritten notes.
I had a fantastic year of reading but did have way too many low books that I should have given up on because my average rating got brought down. I had 44 books that were rated 2 stars or less and I wonder if I knew that I was never going to enjoy them enough to give a 2.5 or above…I did but I hoped to be proven wrong.
One of my reading goals for 2023 is to dnf more!
With Vlogmas over, I’m going to be going back to having reviews as well as vlogs. December was all Vlog but I have missed reviews
This year I participated in Read Christie again this year and it was so much fun having a set read to enjoy. I also enjoyed being able to chat about each read when the month came to an end.
Of course, I had to rank them. Nobody asked for this but I did it anyway. So I have ranked all twelve of the Read Christie picks from least to most favourite. The top 5 spots were exceptionally difficult to determine but I’m happy with the positioning.
I will be participating in Read Christie again in 2023 and I’m so excited that next year will be themed around methods and motives which I think is going to be really fun.
For the last few years, my Boxing Day highlight has been the Waterstones sale which gives 50% off of hardbacks . This year was no different.
I was very lucky and received some money for Christmas. That became ‘book money’ which let me approach the sales feeling poised and ready to invest in my reading future.
My partner and I actually arrived before the shop opened so we queued for a few minutes with the other 4 people in Aberdeen that were after a bookish bargain at 10am on Boxing Day.
We were in and out in 16 minutes which feels like a record! To be fair, the branch here is pretty small and there aren’t usually that many hardbacks, so it was easy to spy what books were included in the deal.
I came away with 9 books plus a calendar (one book was a cookbook that wasn’t in any deal). My boyfriend got 4 books and none of them were on offer. I now have two Waterstones credits to use as I was only one stamp away from getting 1 credit.
I do wish I got some of the memoirs I was tempted by but I really haven’t read a lot of non fiction in 2022 that it felt as if those books would be bought to just sit on my shelf and that didn’t feel in the spirit of the season.
I will accept murder mystery collections in lieu of turtle doves! I received Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie last Christmas from my parents but I didn’t manage to get it read before the end of December so put it aside for this year. I know I could have read it after then but it included some Christmas stories and I don’t like reading Christmas tales outside of November/December.
I managed to finish that book way quicker than expected so had time for a second book. I had recently picked up a copy of Christmas is Murder by Val McDermid. This was to be my first book McDermid book and this was the right choice.
I have a sneaky suspicion that both of these books will make it onto future December reread reading piles!
I am so happy that I managed to tick off one more book from my 22 in 2022 list. With the benefit of hindsight, I can agree that I set too many separate goals for 2022. I was never going to be able to get through all 22 books plus 26 books for my A-Z challenge, plus the Agatha Christie books I like to read, bookclubs, series goals…a smarter person would have merged some of these goals but I did not. So this is the last book I’m ticking from my 22 in 2022 but there are still 4 that remain unread. I’m ok with this.
I really enjoyed the setting of this book! I picked this book up because I was drawn to the concept of a ghostly granny with unfinished business and possession skills!
I think I jinxed myself. All month I’ve been gleefully talking about how wonderful my December reading has been. How I’ve adored everything and just had the best reading month in a long time. Well this Vlog, is all about my pride coming before my fall.
I had one book that I decided to give up on because December isn’t the month to force a read. I tried to give it 100 pages, got to 50 and declared myself done. I also had a disappointing read which was such a shame as I’d been so excited to read it.
That’s ok though because I tried. Here’s hoping for good things from my next book!
In this Vlog I read two utterly fantastic books. I am so giddy about how amazing this month has been for books so far…I’m also scared that I’m overdue a duff book. Statistically I should have had at least one but I’m trying to just enjoy the excellent month so far.
My plan was to read The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning. It was a 400 page book so I assumed it would take me the full 3 days to read. However, I finished it in about a day and a half. This left me time to read Right to Remain Silent by Nicki Bell which was a sweet romance novella. I heartily recommend both of these books!