Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Beginnings: The Mystery of the Blue Train

The Mystery of the Blue Train, by Agatha Christie (first published 1928). These are the first lines of Chapter One:
It was close on midnight when a man crossed the Place de la Concorde. In spite of the handsome fur coat which garbed his meagre form, there was something essentially weak and paltry about him.
About the Book:
When the luxurious Blue Train arrives at Nice, a guard attempts to wake serene Ruth Kettering from her slumbers. But she will never wake again—for a heavy blow has killed her, disfiguring her features almost beyond recognition. What is more, her precious rubies are missing.
The prime suspect is Ruth’s estranged husband, Derek. Yet Hercule Poirot is not convinced, so he stages an eerie reenactment of the journey, complete with the murderer on board.
(--Harper Collins)
Initial Thoughts:

This was Agatha Christie's 6th book in her Hercule Poirot series, and my first thought is that the man mentioned in these lines can't possibly be the famous Belgian sleuth. There's nothing paltry or weak about Poirot. But that handsome fur coat does sound like something he might wear.

Also, it's not the most thrilling first paragraph. But I like the sound of this one and I've had it on my TBR shelf for quite a few years now. And you really can't go wrong with Agatha Christie, so I'm looking forward to getting this started.

So far, the summer has been sort of a busy one around here, but I think it's slowing down a little now and I'm hoping to get more reading done in August than I have this month. I guess I need a vacation from my vacation!

Happy Friday, everyone! And have a lovely weekend.

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Well, here we are in the middle of July already. Did I really say that? Hard to believe so much of the summer has just buzzed right by. June was a pretty good reading month for me, but so far I haven't finished any books in July. Too many other fun things going on. (And a few non-fun things, but we don't need to dwell on that.) But even though I haven't finished any books, I've got several going....

The Man Who Couldn't Miss, David Handler's latest entry (no. 10) in his Stewart Hoag mystery series, to be published next month by William Morrow.

Tailspin, a new romantic suspense novel by Sandra Brown, due out next month from Grand Central Publishing.

The Secret Adversary, first of the Tommy & Tuppence mysteries by Agatha Christie (first published in 1922).

I would love to finish all three books this week and get them reviewed, but since I'm the world's slowest reader, I think that would be much too much to hope for. Maybe I should get back to my reading!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.

Monday, July 09, 2018

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

Penguin / Random House / 
Wendy Lamb Books, 2009
Kindle Edition, 210 pages

Description (from GoodReads):
Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world. 
Miranda and Sal are best friends, but when Sal gets punched by a new kid for no apparent reason, he shuts Miranda out of his life. Then she finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper: 
"I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter."
Miranda finds other notes left for her in strange places and she realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that haven’t even happened yet... 
When You Reach Me is a story about friendship and time. It’s an intriguing puzzle with pieces that fit together in the most intricate and unexpected ways.
My Thoughts:

I've had this Newbery Medal winner on my TBR list for almost a decade now. I should thank Bev and the Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge for giving me just the nudge I needed — I was looking for a book for June and this one jumped out at me (Key Word: WHEN). And now I'm sorry I put it off for so long, because this is a wonderful book!

From the descriptions I'd read, I was expecting it to be much gloomier than it turned out to be. Although it does deal with some very serious issues, that's balanced with quite a bit of humor (especially around the subplot of Miranda's mother and her preparations to appear on a TV quiz show) and the characters are all wonderfully human and multifaceted. And then there are all those mysterious sci-fi aspects that I really wasn't expecting — kept me saying "Wow, what next?" right up to the end. I know it's aimed at middle graders, but this is one "kiddie lit" book that can be enjoyed by adults as well.

Rating: ★★★★


Historical Fiction Reading Challenge .
Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge .
Mount TBR Reading Challenge .