Vlogs

My Favourite Agatha Christie Book

I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie! I’ve loved a cosy Murder mystery since I was probably way too young to be reading them but it’s Agatha who I love the most.

November puts me in the mood for cosy mysteries, so I thought I would share my top five Agatha Christie books. Each of these can be read and enjoyed with no previous knowledge of Agatha Christie. If you have a favourite murder mystery, please let me know

My wee vlog

I have a mission to cultivate my own full collection of her releases and it’s going ok, I’m quickly running out of space! For now, I have a skinny bookshelf full but I don’t I’ll need to do some shuffling since there’s a new hardback being released soon and I need it!

Reviews, Scottish Reads

The Gloaming

Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay.

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

I couldn’t resist picking up another Kirsty Logan book!

I listened to this via audiobook and I think that was a perfect choice for this book. The writing was just gorgeous! It was dreamy and like a fairytale.

I loved the world building. This was set during modern times but the island was filled with magic and folklore which made it feel otherworldly.

The island itself felt like a character. It had human characteristics. I really enjoyed that. I did enjoy the human characters too. They weren’t all likeable, they were flawed but they were enjoyable to read about.

I think my favourite character was Pearl. Pearl had shown up on the island as somewhat of an outsider, fallen in love and started a new life. The life that she and Mara would build was so exciting and unusual.

Actually, Islay might have been my favourite character. She was ambitious and dreamed of life away from the island. She was also abrasive and rude. I did quite enjoy her interactions with Pearl who was trying so hard to impress and Islay was having none of it.

The book flipped back and forward between modern day, Mara’s childhood, and the early days of her parents’ relationship. I loved reading about the relationship between her parents, the boxer and the ballerina. It was just so sweet.

The main subject of this book was grief. The family were trying to cope with their own loss and it was affecting them all differently. I loved the way that when it came time to die, the islanders climbed to the top of the cliff where they would be turned into stone. They became statues. I thought that was quite comforting to be able to see their form.

In between the main body of this book, folklore elements were sprinkled. The book included selkies and mermaids. I love the story of the selkies! Selkies who took the form of seals but could shed their coats and take the form of a human. If their coat was stolen, they would be trapped in human form forever. An utterly heartbreaking myth!

I’d love to know if the island was alone in being magical or if the rest of the world had the name otherworldly vibes.

This is now my fourth book by this author and it’s safe to say that they are a firm favourite of mine. I’ve never been disappointed!

Vlogs, Wrap Ups

October Wrap Up

Another month has come to an end so here I am with a wee wrap up! Plus stats because I absolutely love reading stats. I had many rereads this month so these very positively affected my stats and I’m ok with this!

My Wrap Up Vlog

I read a total of 22 books this month which is utterly ridiculous!

I loved

All the White Spaces – Ally Wilkes

Interview With the Vampire- Anne Rice

I really liked

Cutthroat Cupcakes- Cate Lawley

The Final Girls Support Group – Grady Hendrix

Hex – Jenni Fagan

Hex Appeal – Kate Johnson*

Things We Say in the Dark – Kirsty Logan

I liked

Edge of the Grave – Robbie Morrison

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven – Juno Dawson

How to Kill Men and Get Away With It – Katy Brent*

Marple: Twelve New Stories – Various Authors

The Sinister Cabaret – John Herdman*

Not For Me

Frenzy Island – Richard E Rock *

The Girls Who Disappeared- Claire Douglas*

Moon of the Crusted Snow – Waubgeshig Rice

A Pale Box on the Distant Shore – P.J. Nwosu *

There’s Only One Danny Garvey – David F Ross

Rereads

Carmilla – Sheridan le Fanu

Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde – Robert L Stevenson

Frankenstein- Mary Shelley

Powers of Darkness – Valdimar Ásmundsson

Non-Fiction

Talking With Serial Killers – Christopher Berry-Dee

*#gifted

Reviews, Vlogs

Reading Spooky Books

I was either super smart or super silly as I decided to spend a week reading a seasonal read every day. Seven spooky or at least, Halloween-esque books! Anything scary, spooky, creepy, or vaguely Halloween themed was eligible for this self imposed challenge.

I also went on a wee book haul that I couldn’t resist! In my defence, the majority of the books were holiday purchases but I can easily find an excuse for breaking my book buying ban. I was doing so well!

My vlog

Books included in this blog are:

Carmilla by Sheridan le Fanu

Cutthroat Cupcakes byCate Lawley

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

A Pale Box on the Distant Shore by P.J. Nwosu *

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

The Final Girls Support Group by Grady Hendrix

How to Kill Men and Get Away With It by Katy Brent

*gifted

Reviews

The Final Girl Support Group

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

I was so intrigued by this book. I’m a huge fan of films like Scream, Halloween, and Friday the 13th. I suppose they’re slasher films but as a total wuss, I do Google all the spoilers first. I refuse to get caught out by a jump scare. This book definitely appealed to my love of slasher films!

I really enjoyed all of the main characters. They each had their own coping mechanisms, they did what they needed to in order to go on after surviving their individual massacres. They felt well rounded and felt like real characters. I loved that while they drove each other up the wall, they loved and cared for each other. I didn’t expect found family joy but I got it. A pleasant surprise! I absolutely loved the way that the character names nodded towards the characters/actors of the Final Girls of so many enjoyable scary film series. This was such a nice touch.

This book was super fast paced and so easy to consume! When the book reached just after halfway, the pace picked up even more and it was just pure excitement and danger.

I absolutely loved the first and last 45%…but the middle 10% I hated. I hated the middle so much that I genuinely considered giving up on the book entirely. I was encouraged to continue and I’m really glad that I did. Although I’d recommend skipping all of the chapters in the police station to anyone going in. I just think the book would be fantastic without those chapters.

Due to the nature of this genre, there were a lot of moments of violence. I didn’t find the violence to be too gratuitous or gory. I’m really not one for blood and gore and I feel like this book gave just the right amount of gore while remaining in the spirit of the source material.

This just felt like reading a scary movie. It was full of twists and turns and I just did not see the reveals coming. I was so sure that I knew who the baddie was, I was certain! I was also wrong, wrong, wrong. When the reveal came I audibly gasped!

I have seen a few reviews where people were unhappy with the ending of this book but I loved it. It felt like the perfect ending to this book.

This was my third book by this author so I’m feeling pretty confident about reading more books by Grady Hendrix as I’ve enjoyed each of their books that I’ve read so far.

Scottish Reads, Vlogs

Reading Scottish – October Wrap Up

As is standard, I’ve read some Scottish fiction and I’m here to chat about it. October was a very productive month for me and Scottish fiction and I read 5 books by Scottish authors. Two of these books were put aside especially for October because they felt spooky.

My Vlog

This month I read mentioned:

There’s Only One Danny Garvey – David F Ross

Things We Say in the Dark – Kirsty Logan

The Sinister Cabaret – John Herdman*

Hex – Jenni Fagan

Edge of the Grave – Robbie Morrison

*gifted

Reviews

Interview With the Vampire

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

To the shock and surprise of my closest friends, I have not previously read this book. As a lover of vampire fiction and gothic fiction, it makes sense that I’d have read and loved this book way before now. However, I was always to scared to read this book.

Back in 1998, my sister and I decided to watch the film adaptation, Interview With a Vampire. I was so scared! I wanted to watch it but was so scared that I had to listen to music via headphones while reading the subtitles. I listened to Hanson’s debut album on a discman, very 90s! So Hanson will forever make me think of vampires! I did enjoy the film but I couldn’t sleep for a long time so I was very apprehensive. I’m older now and not a great deal braver but I found the book to still be scary but I knew a lot of what was going to happen, so I managed to sleep soundly without the aid of Hanson.

The entire book takes the form of an interview with flashbacks. Louis just remembering his life in New Orleans and Paris, before choosing a life of solitude. I feel like I really got to know him as a character and to feel sympathetic towards him. He worked so hard to maintain a level of humanity which was so unlike Lestat who had sired him.

Louis and Claudia had a relationship which did sometimes lean towards the ick. Mainly due to Claudia being forever in the body of a 5 year old. I found her to be the most sympathetic of the characters as she was turned at such a young age. She never really had a chance to live.

I found the sections in Paris to be so exciting and fast paced. Meeting the other vampires was just so terrifying and just felt like there was danger at every turn. My memory of the film was a bit hazy so I couldn’t remember much of the plot other than there being a lot of blood, so my enjoyment was not reduced for having seen the film.

The writing was just exquisite and I felt myself just happily consuming it.

I found this book to just be so tense and I really was kept guessing what was going to happen. I couldn’t put it down and I finished this book within a day, I regret nothing! Other than waiting so long to read this book and I will be making my way through the series as soon as I work my way through so other reading goals.

Reviews

Cutthroat Cupcakes

Seems improbable to Lina, but when an attractive detective snaps cuffs on her and accuses her of witchy crimes she’s forced to reconsider.

The murder weapon? A cupcake topper sold in Lina’s shop, Sticky, Tricky Treats.

The method? A killing curse.

The curse’s origin? Lina…sort of.

Except Lina hadn’t a clue that she was a witch, and certainly didn’t know she’d accidentally cursed some of her confections.

She’s got to catch the killer who used her magic to murder or possibly face a conviction as an accessory. Now, if only the wizard detective assigned to the case weren’t such a distraction.

I have read this author before. I read one of her Vegan Vamp books and it was a really enjoyable read so I must admit that my expectations were a little high for this book. I can happily reveal that they were met!

The characters were so endearing. Lina ran a sweetie shop that had Halloween vibes, she seemed like such a likeable character. Whimsical! Bastian was a gruff detective. The grumpy to her sunshine. Sabrina and Miles were the perfect side characters, I just loved them and would honestly read a whole series about those two.

This book reminded me of the kind of Christmas film I love. Characters having whimsical professions? Yes! Non-believe meets a believer and learns to see the world differently? Yes! Fun side characters! Yes! Only mild peril? Yes! A will they/won’t they mystery? Yes! All I needed was a baddie trying to cancel Halloween or something and it would have been complete.

Was this book super predictable ? It was. I saw the twist coming very early on but that’s ok. It’s a cosy mystery and the joy of cosy mysteries, for me, is the setting, the relationships, and the investigation. The mystery is also important but because the book covered the investigation, that provided all the enjoyment I needed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it gave me everything that I wanted. I wanted a fun read with likeable characters and I got that. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the rest of this series as I am alway keen to read some cosy murder mysteries.

I couldn’t resist reading this book with a wee pumpkin spice latte in the rare October sun

Reviews, Vlogs

Autumn Mixtape Readathon Results

I am a huge lover of autumn. I’m a sucker for a cosy knit, cinnamon, soups, and falling leaves. My favourite colour is also mustard yellow (and green), so autumn just speaks to my soul. So when four of my favourite instagrammers, three of whom are also my favourite YouTubers (one isn’t on there, otherwise I bet they’d be a favourite too), announced that they were doing an autumnal themed readathon…I was in!

Spoiler: I read all of my prompts 💕

These are the books that I read and chat about in my vlog:

Hex Appeal – Kate Johnson*

The Girls Who Disappeared- Claire Douglas*

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven – Juno Dawson

All the White Spaces – Ally Wilkes

Powers of Darkness – Valdimar Ásmundsson

If you have seen any of my previous vlogs, you may notice that these were not the five books that I’d planned to read. I swapped two and I regret nothing!

I love a themed readathon and finishing these books left me feeling very accomplished. However, next time I will try to avoid picking multiple 400 page books because I was concerned that I may not get them all finished.

Reviews, Scottish Reads

Hex

IT’S THE 4TH OF DECEMBER 1591.
On this, the last night of her life, in a prison cell several floors below Edinburgh’s High Street, convicted witch Geillis Duncan receives a mysterious visitor – Iris, who says she comes from a future where women are still persecuted for who they are and what they believe.

As the hours pass and dawn approaches, Geillis recounts the circumstances of her arrest, brutal torture, confession and trial, while Iris offers support, solace – and the tantalising prospect of escape.

I have previously read two books by Jenni Fagan- I really enjoyed Luckenbooth but I didn’t overly enjoy The Panopticon. So I wasn’t too sure whether I was going to enjoy this or not. I had received so many recommendations from friends so I was excited but also apprehensive. Well, this book goes into the pile of ‘books I really enjoyed’, I may go as far as to say that I loved this. I think I did.

This was such a short book. A teeny, tiny novella of around 100 pages but it still packed such a punch! I was almost overwhelmed by emotions. I sobbed pretty constantly for the last 20 pages or so.

I really enjoyed the characters of Geillis and Iris. I feel like I really got to know Geillis, she was a young woman who helped people. She made the mistake of drawing attention from the wrong person and then found herself convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death. She was such an endearing character and I just found myself really warming towards her. She was such a sympathetic yet strong character. Iris was a modern woman but another tragic soul. I would have enjoyed getting to know her a little bit more but there is a limit to what can fit in a wee novella.

I really enjoyed the mystical elements of this book. I enjoyed the magic and the use of magic in this story.

I loved the way that the two women bonded in such a short amount of time. I loved their relationship and the way that they brought each other comfort in a time of great need.

Despite knowing that this book was set the night before Geillis was to be put to death, I just found the ending to just break my heart. I am always seeking a happy ending and I suppose I hoped for one from this book despite being aware enough of the last to know that I was maybe setting myself up for disappointment.

I found the descriptions of the torture that Geillis suffered to be really upsetting to read. This book was so well researched and the factual elements just made me so angry that they ever happened.

I just through that this was such an emotional book. It showed that while separated by centuries, the women faced similar struggles and as a society we haven’t really moved as we perhaps like to think we have. This really made me think and feel.