Reading Update – June 2020

Work and life have been very busy lately, so this post is a little later than I intended, but here it is, my June reading update.

I read 5 books this month. 5!! And I started book 6 as well. I was proud of myself for reading about 4 books the last few months but it has been a long long time since I read more than that in one month and it felt good. What also felt good is that I quite enjoyed all of them, it really has been a good reading month for me.
Before we get into the books though, can we just take a moment to think about the fact that it is July, which means we are officially over halfway through the year. I honestly can’t really believe it, I feel like time absolutely flew by. For most of us this is probably the weirdest year we’ve had so far in our lives, and I am glad that, at least here in the Netherlands, things are starting to feel sort of normal again. Anyways, I plan on doing a little Just A Chat post in the near future to talk about it all, and just ramble on for a bit about everything that’s been on my mind lately or happening in my life lately (not that that’s a whole lot), this post is about all the books I read this month, so let’s get right into it shall we?

The Golden Ball And Other Stories – Agatha Christie

It was an offer the St. Vincents could not refuse – a splendid mansion, complete with servants, with nothing asked in return! But where was the host? Why was the mysterious butler as tight-lipped and enigmatic as the Sphinx? Most of the family, basking in elegance, is content to ask no questions, but young Rupert St. Vincent suspects a sinister trap, and will not rest until he has unmasked the mastermind behind it all.

As you can very clearly see from this photo I went on an Agatha Christie binge read this month. I started with this short story collection and worked my way through the three books I bought last month, and now I am all out of Agatha Christie books again which means I will need to buy some more soon. But not before I finish some other books, of course.
Anyways, about this book. Overall I enjoyed it. The stories were fun and clever, and the whole collection kind of reminded me of how I enjoyed M.R. James’s ghost stories. I wasn’t not absolutely blown away by them, I think I prefer her full length books, but it was entertaining enough. What I liked about this collection is that there are ghost stories woven in with the crime stories, and them there are some not really crime stories in there as well. I feel like I got the clues before they were revealed with most of these which always kind of pleases me with Christie books. I’d say all of these are simple, easy reads, but clever nonetheless.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Moving Finger – Agatha Christie

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of shameful secrets – a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate-mail causes only a minor stir.
But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note says ‘I can’t go on’, but Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Soon nobody is sure of anyone – as secrets stop being shameful and start being deadly.

I then read my very first Miss Marple, which I very much enjoyed and actually read in about 24 hours. The story is very well written – what do you expect from a Christie – and I liked the characters and the setting a lot. It is written through the eyes of a man who (temporarily) moves from London to a small English country town because he needs to heal from an injury and surgery, so the doctor ordered some paece and quiet in the country. Obviously the hate mail starts, and people start dying, and the main character kind gets himself involved in the whole thing so there’s not much peace and quiet for him. But you know, it kept him busy. Anyways, for a big part of the book I was so sure of someone’s guilt, and although I often went “hmm that person could’ve done it as well”, I always went back to my one suspect. Turns out I was horribly wrong, but it doesn’t matter because it was a very clever solution. One thing that very much surprised me is that Miss Marple comes into the book quite late, she only makes an appearance in the last few chapters. I’m so used to Poirot coming into the story early on that I really thought she would too, but apparently not. Although, this is my first Miss Marple so maybe it is an exception. Anyways, that didn’t bother me at all, I was very much entertained by the story and I now want to read many more Miss Marple stories.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

Effia and Esi: two sister with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow: from the Gold Coast of Africa to the plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem. Spanning continents and generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – an intense, heartbreaking story of one family and, through their lives, the story of America itself.

I took a brief break from my Agatha Christie binge to read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and.. wow, what a book. I started with one chapter one night and then stopped reading for a few days because my brain wasn’t feeling it. And then I picked it up again and finished it in a day. Firstly, this book is absolutely beautifully written, and the flow of the story made it hard to put down. Every chapter follows a different person, working its way through the generations, starting with two sisters in Ghana in the 18th century who follow very different lives. It is almost like every chapter is a short story in its own right, but everything is connected as well. It kind of left me speechless, not really knowing what to say about it, but in a very good way. It is such a sad story, heartbreaking, but heartwarming as well and it definitely left an impression. I wasn’t sure if it would be a book for me going in to it, but I am so glad I read it because it was 100% worth it. If you haven’t read it yet, please give it a try!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Murder Is Announced – Agatha Christie

The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn are agog with curiosity when the Gazette advertises: ‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.’
A childish practical joke? Or a spiteful hoax? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, the locals arrive at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out and a gun is fired. When they come back on, a gruesome scene is revealed.
An impossible crime? Only Miss Marple can unravel it.

I enjoyed my first Miss Marple so much, that I decided to move right along to the second one. I again enjoyed this book, although not as much as The Moving Finger. This is still a fun, enjoyable read, a typical Agatha Christie, but I had a bit of a harder time getting into the story and I also did not connect with the characters as much as with the first one, possibly because it jumps between characters a lot more. Miss Marple arrived at the scene earlier this time, and she did seem like such a kind, likable character. I am proud to say though that I suspected the person that did it from quite early on, but like with most of the Christie stories I didn’t figure out why or how this person did it, and with the backstory I was also way off. It was still a very clever story though and I am glad I read it. I will also continue to read more Miss Marple, because I am definitely getting into it now.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Taken At The Flood – Agatha Christie

A few weeks after marrying an attractive young widow, Gordon Cloade is killed in a bombing raid during the London Blitz. Overnight, young Rosaleen has inherited a vast fortune.
The rest of the hard-up Cloade family is less than happy, however. When the dead man’s sister-in-law tells Hercule Poirot that she has been warned by ‘spirits’ that Rosaleen’s first husband is still alive, the detective finds himself caught between a fortune and some bitter relations who would prefer to see the widow Cloade join her late husband on ‘the other side’…

Let me start by saying that I did not see the end of this book coming at all. Absolutely nothing. I usually kind of half guess certain bits in the Agatha Christie books, but with this one I was completely wrong, but that definitely did not make it less enjoyable. I mean, I did go back and forth with “did he do it, did she do it” but I never settled on a suspect and even if I had, I probably would have been wrong. The whole backstory with this one as also not even near my mind, even though looking back you do get enough clues to figure bits of it out. But like I have said many times already, I feel like I have enjoyed every book I’ve read of hers so far, and with this one it’s no different. It was nice, after two Miss Marple’s, to read a Poirot again, they really are different books with different characters. It does make me kind of sad though that I worked my way through my little Christie collection so quickly and it will be hard not to order 5 more right away. Anyways, another very clever story with twists and turns I did not see coming at all.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Rules Of Magic – Alice Hoffman

From the beginning, Susanna Owens knew her three children were unique. Franny, with her blood red hair, who can commune with birds. Jet, shy and beautiful, who knows what others are thinking. And Vincent, too charismatic for his own good. Susanna needed to set some rules of magic: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes… and certainly, absolutely, no books about magic. And yet, despite the warning handed down through the family for centuries, that love will be their undoing, the Owens siblings will break every one of these rules and discover who they truly are.

Lastly in June, I started reading the prequel of Practical Magic. I was very excited to start this because I enjoyed the first book a lot more than I thought I would, and although I have a feeling I will enjoy this one as well, I seem to just not really be in the mood for a read like this at the moment. I want something a little more lighthearted, a little funnier, because this book is definitely a little more serious, although still dreamy and romantic. The Rules Of Magic follows the aunts of the first book when they were teenagers, which is a story I am excited to follow. Just not now. I did get about 20 pages in and I do hope that later in June I will pick this back up, but for now I want to dive into something else. So basically you are witnessing me abandoning a book… Oops?

June was a freaking amazing reading month for me, but I don’t expect July to be the same. My goal is to at least finish my Goodreads challenge this month, as I only need to read 3 more books for that. I should probably start to read one then, I guess..

Thanks for stopping by ❤


Thanks for stopping by ❤