Reviews

Killers of a Certain Age

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!

Vlogs, Wrap Ups

2022 Wrap Up – Reading Stats and Favourites

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?

My Favourite Books

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.

My storygraph totals

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.

44 books rated 2 stars and under

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

Vlogs, Wrap Ups

A Year of Reading Agatha Christie

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.

This pile of books was very heavy!

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.

My first pick for Read Christie 2023
Reviews, Scottish Reads, Vlogs

Two Wintery Murder Mystery Collections

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.

Squeezing in some festive murder mysteries

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!

Reviews, Vlogs

Black Water Sister

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.

A wee reading vlog

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!

Reviews, Vlogs

The Girls I’ve Been and The Audacity

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!

Reviews, Scottish Reads, Vlogs

The Shadow Glass and Right to Remain Silent

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.

Any excuse to share my festive cheeseboard

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!

Reviews, Vlogs

Reading Festive Poirot Novels

I haven’t been feeling super festive lately. With Christmas fast approaching, I was keen to try to get myself into the festive spirit. This meant that I read not one but two Poirot novels. My two favourite festive Murder mystery collections (for now as I do have two more short story collections I plan to read before Christmas).

Trying to feel festive with Poirot

I’m often at my most content with a good murder mystery and this was such a delightful reading experience. I may be feeling a little festive now.

Reviews, Scottish Reads, Vlogs

The Edinburgh Skating Club

My review and some of the festive sights of Aberdeen

I bought The Edinburgh Skating Club a few months ago and put it to the side for December. It felt like it should be read in December or at least winter, when there’s snow and ice because the book heavily features ice skating on a frozen loch. Well this week we have had a very cold spell and got some snow and ice and it felt like the right time to pick this book up.

I feel like I haven’t seen anyone talking about this book which is such a shame because I really enjoyed this. This was a lovely wee read and such a quick one too.

Please note that in the review I use the character names from the blurb in order to avoid giving any spoilers.

Reviews, Vlogs

The Ballad of Never After

In this vlog I read a book for my Elf prompt, a book with a map. I chose to pick up The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber. I absolutely loved Once Upon a Broken Heart and preordered this book but only just go it around to reading it. What a fool I was,‘I should have read this straight away because I utterly adored it!

My Vlog featuring the most gorgeous hardback!

We also got some snow, I did some self care, and I spent time with friends. Ultimately, I feel like I lived my best life in this vlog and am delighted.