Book Reviews

Book Review: The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

Happy Monday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today. I am bringing you my review of The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah, one of the books in her new Poirot book series.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will do my best to not include any spoilers.

The Mystery of Three Quarters Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was the third of Sophie Hannah’s Poirot books that I have read and in this one Poirot finds out that someone has sent seemingly unconnected people letters accusing them of being a murderer and they have been signed as if by Poirot himself. I found this premise very interesting, it throws the reader into the suspense from the first page and that is one thing I really enjoy in mystery books, I like to feel apart of the mystery from early on.

The Mystery of Three Quarters Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Of course the main character in this book is Poirot. I have always loved anything to do with Poirot, since I was a child and I used to watch all the David Suchet episodes on TV on a Sunday while eating my lunch and of course I have read many of the Agatha Christie books. I think it’s where my love of crime fiction started.

The Mystery of Three Quarters Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It must have taken a lot of research for Sophie Hannah to begin writing these books because there have been a lot of adaptations of Poirot but I think that she captures his mannerisms and speech very well.

The Mystery of Three Quarters Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave this book four stars overall because I enjoyed this one just as much as the rest of the other two in the series I have read.

Blurb/Synopsis:

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot, the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in the London of 1930.

Hercule Poirot returns home after an agreeable luncheon to find an angry woman waiting to berate him outside his front door. Her name is Sylvia Rule, and she demands to know why Poirot has accused her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. She is furious to be so accused, and deeply shocked. Poirot is equally shocked, because he too has never heard of any Barnabas Pandy, and he certainly did not send the letter in question. He cannot convince Sylvia Rule of his innocence, however, and she marches away in a rage.

Shaken, Poirot goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man called John McCrodden who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy…

Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Tags

Folklore Book Tag

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today. The book tag I am doing today is the Folklore Book Tag which I found on laurensboookshelf.com but was created by lisa @A Whisper of Ink. It looks like it will be a very fun tag so I am looking forward to sharing my choices here.

The 1: A book with an ending that left you speechless

Ooh that’s starting with a difficult one… I think I am going to go with Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell because the first book in the series ends in a way I wasn’t expecting but obviously I can’t say how it ends here because of spoilers

Cardigan: A book that makes you feel happy and sad all at once

I am going to go with The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, there’s two different timelines within this book and both of them constantly made me feel happy and sad when I read it.

The last Great American Dynasty: A book with a fascinating and well-told story

I have to choose Cecily by Annie Garthwaite for this one, it is one of my favourite books of 2022 so far and it is haunting and just overall brilliant.

Exile: A book you wish you hadn’t read

I am afraid this has to be The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, I just did not enjoy it and I still own the rest of the series.

My tears ricochet: A book that made you cry uncontrollably

Books don’t make me cry like that, I might tear up but not cry uncontrollably so I don’t really have an answer for this one.

Mirrorball: A book that feels like it was written just for you

This is definitely The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, I love the magic of this book and it feels like it was the perfect book for me.

Seven: A childhood book that makes you feel nostalgic

The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton, I always loved this series as a child and I still love to reread them now.

August: A book that reminds you of summer

I honestly can’t think of a book that makes me think of summer, I am sure that as soon as I post this book tag three of them will come to my mind but right now I have no answer.

This is me trying: A book that deals with loneliness and sadness

the first book that comes to mind is Holding Up The Universe and I read that when I was in secondary school a while ago and I can’t remember it all that well.

Illicit Affairs: A book that gave you a book hangover

most recently Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, I’m not sure why other than I didn’t love the book but I didn’t read for nearly two weeks after that book.

Invisible String: A book that came into your life at the exact right time

Caraval by Stephanie Garber definitely, I read it at a time when I was searching for a really great book about magic, fates and sisters.

Mad Woman: A book with a female character you adore

I know I have just used it but I have to go with Scarlett from Caraval, she is a headstrong yet caring female character.

Epiphany: A book that was haunting

Ooh another one I don’t have an immediate answer for… I think I have to choose City of ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Betty: A book couple that fills you with yearning

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

Peace: A book character you’d die for because you love them so much

I think I would have to say Elisabeth from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Hoax: A book that you thought you were going to love but didn’t

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz. I loved Moonflower Murders by the same author but this one just didn’t have the same enjoyment unfortunately.

That’s it for the Folklore Book Tag, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

Happy Monday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today. I am bringing you my book review of The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood.

As always in this book review I will be giving star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will do my best to avoid any spoilers.

The Marlow Murder Club Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have to be honest, I went into this book with some preconceptions. First was that I had already read The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman a while before this and I had heard that they were similar and they were a bit, the characters were in the older age group and the overall tone of the book is quite light. For me that was the end of the similarities which I was happy about because I ended up enjoying The Marlow Murder Club more then The Thursday Murder Club. The other preconception I had was that Robert Thorogood wrote a lot of the Death In Paradise episodes and my friend and I have seen every single episode, we love the series, actually we compete over it to see who gets the most right by the end of each series. I was worried that the book would feel like a repeat of one of the episodes, and personally that meant that I was a bit disappointed by the ending of this book because, without spoiling anything, I was able to guess the ending early on because it was a similar plot to one of the episodes.

The Marlow Murder Club Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Judith Potts is the main character (there are more of them in the group later in the book but I won’t spoil anything) and I really felt like I could relate to her, an elderly lady who can’t help herself but be nosy. That’s definitely going to be me. It’s really hard to talk about the characters in this book without spoiling anything so I won’t say too much more but I will say I loved the energy of Judith Potts and her friends, this book was a great introduction to them and I hope that we will see more of them in coming books.

The Marlow Murder Club Writing and Dialogue

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As I said earlier, this book has a very light tone to it, there’s a lot of comedic elements to it which was something that I thought worked really well for the mystery in this book.

The Marlow Murder Club Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall, I gave this book a rating of four stars because I enjoyed the gathering pace of the novel and I thought the mystery was well-plotted, the only thing I didn’t enjoy was the ending and how similar it was to the episodes of Death In Paradise.

Blurb/Synopsis:

To solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero…

Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep herself busy she sets crosswords for The Times newspaper.

One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don’t believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself, and is soon joined in her quest by Suzie, a salt-of-the-earth dog-walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar.

Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.

When another body turns up, they realise they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Monthly TBRs

August TBR

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today. Today I am bringing you my August TBR, there’s a lot of fantasy on it this month which I haven’t been reading a lot of in the past few months so we will have to see how that goes but overall I am pretty excited about the books on my TBR for the month.

August TBR

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Library of the Unwritten by A J Hackwith

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Kingdom of The Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco

Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Crownbreaker by Sebastien De Castell

Six Tudor Queens by Alison Weir

House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas

By the Book by Amanda Sellet

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

Small Favours by Erin A Craig

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

That’s it for my August TBR, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Monthly Wrap Ups

July Wrap Up!

Happy Monday bookish people! I know this post is going up on the first day of August when I usually post them at the end of the month I am writing about but July was quite the month! First there was YALC and Comic Con which I don’t really want to say that much about because it will turn into a rant, I did not have a good experience there this year because of the organization and well, they had no idea what to do with people who have disabilities so the less said about it the better. Then I found out I had gotten covid from YALC and I was so poorly, I still am a bit even a month on, I couldn’t do much. I rounded the month out with a trip to Bristol and a trip to Hampshire so I am pretty exhausted.

A good thing that happened this month is that I opened my Etsy shop! I have been thinking about this for a while and I have finally done it. I am creating bookish bookmarks, on card, wood and made of resin. If you’d like to visit my shop is TheBlindScribe

Anyway, my reading this month wasn’t great, I read some okay books but no books that I was really invested in. My book reviews of the books I did read will be coming on Mondays throughout August!

  • The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood – I did read this and actually I quite enjoyed it but I had one very specific issue with it which I will talk about in my book review of it.
  • A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn – I did not read this book
  • Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li – I did not read this
  • The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson – I did not read this book either
  • Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano – I haven’t read this book
  • The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton – I haven’t read this book yet either
  • Nine Lives by Peter Swanson – I did not read this
  • Daughters of Night by Laura Shepard Robinson – I started this book a while ago but I haven’t continued with it yet
  • The Three Dog Problem by S J Bennett – I did read this!
  • The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah – I also read this book!
  • The Perfect Escape by Leah Konen – I did not read this book

Overall, I read three books this month which considering how poorly I was and how much has been going on this month is pretty good, I’m happy with it.

That’s it for my July wrap-up! I hope you all enjoyed it, my August TBR is coming on Friday!

guide dogs

Guide Dogs, meeting my first dog

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today.

Today I am talking about the next step in the Guide Dog process where I finally got to walk with an actual dog.

It might sound silly, especially when I am talking about waiting for a guide dog, but I never particularly wanted a dog. I love animals of course but usually just to look at, dogs can be very quick and loud and unpredictable and having limited sight makes it a really difficult experience to be around dogs. So, honestly I was pretty worried about having to interact with an actual dog.

My first meeting was with a yellow Labrador called Jojo and she was a beautiful dog. She bounded into my house as soon as the door was open. It was an interesting experience because I wasn’t sure how I would react around the dog and her being in my house to start with, as this meeting also included answering questions although these were more like how do you think you will work with the dog and are there any barriers to you being able to look after the dog. While we were having our chat, Jojo was entertaining herself and sniffing around everywhere, giving my hands and legs a good lick where she could.

The next thing that happened was Jojo was put back in the car while the woman from Guide Dogs and I practiced a walk with her holding the harness to see if – relying only on what I could feel – I could follow the movement in the harness. So, she was holding the harness at the level that a dog would be at and while doing this she was teaching me the positions I would be using for my feet, hand gestures and the words I would say to the dog when we were walking. This actually didn’t feel as ridiculous as I thought it would, you become so focused on learning what they are teaching you, you forget that there’s no dog in the harness yet.

Then when we got back to my house it was time for me to walk with Jojo. I’ve had a cane for a couple of years now, long enough I don’t remember when I first got one, and it was strange to be going out without it. It’s almost like leaving my comfort behind. There’s really a lot to learn all at once, like how you have to hold the harness, feet positions, looking up but knowing to look out for signals from the dog as well. It was a lot. But what surprised me the most was the feeling that came over me during the walk. It was honestly like I had found something I had been missing for years. Like if they took the dog from me then in that moment I wouldn’t know how to go back to the cane again, it would be too uncomfortable. It was a really emotional experience to realize that this was exactly what I needed and there was no way for me to explain that to someone else unless they were going through the same experience I was, and I don’t know any other visually impaired people at the moment. It shocked me and after the dog had left for the day I missed it, I missed the feeling of protection and freedom it gave me. It felt right for me.

This decision went to panel the week after. It was terrifying waiting for those unknown people to again be deciding my future, especially because this time I knew what it felt like to have that help even if it was only for a short walk. Thankfully, they decided in my favour and I was officially put on the guide dog waiting list.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Dangerous Women by Hope Adams

Happy Monday bookish people! I hope you’re all having a good day today. I am bringing you the book review for Dangerous Women by Hope Adams.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Dangerous Women Plot

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In this book the reader is transported into the world of a Women’s convict ship on it’s many weeks travelling across the sea to Australia for a new life. Then one of the women gets murdered. Not only is this book highly atmospheric, it has layers of tension, imagery and mystery and it is one of my favourite books of 2022 so far. I have recently been loving the historical mysteries and this novel fits in that genre perfectly. There’s not a lot I can say about this plot without spoiling anything because it is full of twists but I can say that if you like mystery books I would definitely recommend this book to you.

Dangerous Women Characters

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In this book you are mainly focused on the women as the main characters, and there are quite a few of them with their own important link to the plot, you also see the captain often. By following these characters I got very attached to a few of them, in particular the group of ladies who are part of the sewing group. This book, although it has a strong plot, is very character driven which I think works very well.

Dangerous Women Writing and Dialogue

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is told from multiple perspectives which adds a very interesting layer to the mystery because you as the reader are learning things that the other characters might not know. I’m not usually the biggest fan of multiple perspectives but for this book it works.

Dangerous Women Overall

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave this book four stars overall because it was a fast-paced, high stakes historical mystery and I enjoyed it.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Nearly two hundred condemned women on board a sailing ship bound for Australia. One of them is a murderer. From debut author Hope Adams comes a thrilling novel based on the 1841 voyage of the convict ship Rajah, about confinement, hope, and the terrible things we do to survive.

London, 1841. One hundred eighty Englishwomen file aboard the Rajah, embarking on a three-month voyage to the other side of the world.

They’re daughters, sisters, mothers–and convicts.

Transported for petty crimes.

Except one of them has a deadly secret, and will do anything to flee justice.

As the Rajah sails farther from land, the women forge a tenuous kinship. Until, in the middle of the cold and unforgiving sea, a young mother is mortally wounded, and the hunt is on for the assailant before he or she strikes again.

Each woman called in for question has something to fear: Will she be attacked next? Will she be believed? Because far from land, there is nowhere to flee, and how can you prove innocence when you’ve already been found guilty?

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

guide dogs

Guide Dogs: First meeting in person

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today. I am back talking about what happened next in the process of getting a guide dog.

Last week I talked about how after first getting in touch with guide dogs I went through two telephone conversations to discuss if this would be the right thing for my needs. Then came the fist meeting. I had a woman from the Guide Dog team visit me at home to see how I moved around in my local area. I felt a bit like a dog myself, going out for walks with someone watching everything I did. It also felt like a test which put me on edge, I guess it is like a test actually because they are seeing if you have the need for a dog, well whether one would actually benefit you and it is a process that needs a lot of boxes to be ticked. You have to be able to walk at least 40 minutes a day to prove you could work the dog because it would still need to be walked and it would still need to play and go on free runs and things like that.

When the woman arrived we went straight into the walking portion of the meeting where I had to walk a route that I would often walk and show how I would use my cane and how I would avoid obstacles. It felt really intense but that’s just because I don’t like being watched or bringing any attention to the things I’m not able to do so it was a difficult meeting for me, but the woman was really lovely and it is very clear that they only want what is best for you.

After the walking there were more questions to answer and there was this questionnaire where you had to give yourself marks for how much you struggle with different activities and that was probably the worst part for me, it feels like you’re reminding yourself of how hard your life is when on average you spend most days ignoring it because that is your life, you don’t usually break it down into categories, you just get on with it because you don’t have a choice.

Something I learned from this first meeting was not to force yourself to try and see the obstacles, you just have to be completely honest about what you can and can’t do because they need to know what areas you need the help in. One of the biggest areas for me was confidence, and being independent.

After this meeting it was decided that I had enough of a need for the services and my case went to it’s first panel. I got a phone call the afternoon of the panel day where they let me know that it was decided I should continue in the process and I would receive a phone call anytime within the next month to book in a date to have a meeting and a walk with an actual dog. It was a strange experience to let an unknown panel of people decide if I really needed the help I was looking for, it’s like putting your whole future in the hands of these people. I don’t think I would have been upset exactly if they had said I shouldn’t continue but it would have been a bit awkward.

In next Friday’s post I will be talking about what happened in my first meeting with a guide dog.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Happy Monday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today. Today I am bringing you a book review for my last June read which was Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Hot Dog Girl Plot:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was really excited to first get into this book. It had been on my wishlist for a long time until a friend sent me it and I was excited because, although it was a romance novel which isn’t my usual genre, it was set at a fun fair type location in a small town and I mean the cover showed a girl dressed up as a hot dog. I thought there would be some great comedy elements to it. There were a few of these and I was surprised how there were also serious topics running through the story too which balanced it out nicely. Honestly I wanted to see more of the setting, it was mentioned in passing but it never seemed to be as big a feature as it felt like it should have been. That is something I felt the book was overall, the story was okay but each of the elements could have been explored more. For me, if I read romance I like a good build up, this book didn’t allow for that.

Hot Dog Girl Characters:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The two main characters in this book were Elouise and Seeley who are best friends. For the first half of this book I loved the characters, they had well thought out distinct personalities but by the time it got to the second half of the book I couldn’t understand their motivations anymore and for me personally there seemed to be a lot of actions that came out of nowhere and I lost any connection I had to the characters.

Hot Dog Girl Writing and Dialogue

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was definitely a high point for this novel. The writing style changed depending on the tone it was creating and that really helped me as a reader sense the emotions that would be felt.

Hot Dog Girl Overall

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I gave this book three stars overall because it was an okay story but I wasn’t as invested in it as I think I could have been.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Jennifer Dugan’s sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love–and themselves–in unexpected people and unforgettable places.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

guide dogs

Getting Started With The Guide Dogs

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you’re all having a good day today. Okay, so I know I usually post bookish related posts on Fridays, but I thought it might be interesting for other people, especially people who are visually impaired and who might be thinking about getting started with guide dogs to know what has happened so far in my process.

For today I am going to talk about what happened when I first got in touch with the guide dogs team.

So, I began this process back in November 2021. It had been on my mind a lot for the past year or so and I’d often had family members and friends say to me ‘why haven’t you applied yet?’ especially as my sight started to get worse and I lost the sight in my left eye. For me it was one of those things where I hadn’t accepted it, I didn’t want to accept that this was how I was always going to be now. I’d never had good sight but each time I lost a bit more it was like everything had to change and it got pointed out more often how much help I needed. I often felt like I was just another job on everyone’s list because it wasn’t just I’m going out to see my friends anymore, it was always I’m going out but I have to be with at least one person and they have to look after me and it was talked about all the time like ‘look how much I have to do to look after you’, that’s the way it always felt with people. So I didn’t want to accept it, I’m not happy about it accepting it now but it came to a point where I just said to myself, look at yourself and admit that you need to see what other types of help could be out there for you. That’s when I got in touch with Guide Dogs.

The way I did it was through an online form on http://www.guidedogs.org.uk on the getting support page. From there I had to wait for someone to get back in touch with me by email. I have to admit, I forgot a little bit that I had put in the form until the email came, even though it was only a few days. When I did get the email is when all my anxiety started to kick in, I had to book in a telephone conversation – the first of two official telephone conversations as it turned out – and I absolutely hate talking on the phone. I can’t hear properly and I get really flustered so I didn’t really want to do it. But deep down I knew that I had to.

The day of the first phone call I was very nervous and it ended up taking about 50 minutes. There were questions about my medical history, what my eyesight is like and also what I was actually looking for from this service. I originally didn’t know that there were other services they would offer other than the guide dog but I wanted to go into the whole process with a completely open mind and that’s what I told them, I only wanted to go through with the whole process if it was definitely the right thing for me.

So, the first phone call happened and it felt good to discuss why I was starting the process with someone who had no bias on the outcome. The next step was having the second phone call which was with a member of the closest team to me which happened to be Exeter. This phone call was pretty much the same questions but more in depth if that makes sense. The phone calls were basically making sure they had all the information about me they needed to be sure that I had a visual impairment and that they would have services that could help me.

After the second phone call came the first in person meeting, which I will be posting about next Friday!