July Book Reviews

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It’s time to Book It. Share what you’ve read this month and get some good ideas from fellow readers’ book reviews.

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

Last month I was a reading machine. June seemed so much more relaxed and empty-calendared than July. July had company and day camps and just a lot of stuff to do. It has not, unfortunately, been filled with hours on the treadmill or lazy days by the pool

While this month has certainly been a lot busier, I was also more inclined toward watching mysteries than reading them. Watching takes so much less brain power than reading.

I binge-watched most of the past Endeavour episodes as well as season 1 of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and then worked through series 3 of Endeavour that aired in the USA this month. I also discovered Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and after much research and debate, decided to give Acorn TV a try via Amazon Prime. That way I can watch Inspector Morse, Miss Fisher, Poirot, and Foyle solve all kinds of mysteries. I guess we know what I’m doing in August!

That said, I did finish SEVEN books this month which is nothing to sneeze at. Most of them were Agatha Christie which means they are easy reads and nice puzzles to solve. The culprit is usually the person above suspicion, so that makes for a fun game to figure it out. My 19-year old son is also working his way through the Poirot series of books and FishBoys 15 and 14 are also dabbling in them, so it’s fun that we can discuss fun books this summer.

School will bring us no end of not-so-fun books soon enough.

In case you’re worried about my never reading a non-Agatha Christie book ever again, be still. I’ve got a handful of new authors waiting on the Kindle. They’re coming.

In the meantime, here are my July book reviews:

Booking It in July: Book Reviews

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

Peril at End House

by Agatha Christie

Peril at End House features Poirot and Hastings on vacation at the seaside. (I’m beginning to make peace with Hastings. He doesn’t show up in every book, so his naivete is sometimes a refreshing change.)

This time the duo get caught up in preventing a murder before it occurs. A poor young lady of independence and devil-may-care character is the target of several murder attempts. Poirot is convinced he will stop the murderer from seeing success.

There were quite a few surprises here; of which I can’t go into detail so that I don’t ruin it for you. I liked it. 😉

Grade A

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

The Big Four

by Agatha Christie

In The Big Four, Poirot and Hastings are reunited again. Hastings has been away in Argentina, having married his princess and carried her to South America. He surprises Poirot by popping back to the homeland.

The two risk life and limb, working to discover the identity of four people who are dominating the world through crime and manipulation.

Grade B+

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

The Princess and the Goblin

by George Macdonald

I read The Princess and the Goblin to my boys years ago and so this summer it was the girls’ turn. Now that so many kids are independent readers, family read-alouds are few and far between. I realize that my younger kids are not as adept at listening as my boys were, partly because of practice.

I’m hoping to change this in the coming month and get us a lineup of books that will interest them both, and maybe intrigue a boy or two along the way.

I love The Princess and the Goblin. I know it’s allegorical of the Christian faith, but I haven’t quite figured it all out.

Grade A-

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

Three Act Tragedy

by Agatha Christie

Three Act Tragedy was a fun little trip. Hastings is absent, so Poirot drafts other assistants in his quest to solve a pair of poisonings. The 13th guest at a dinner party chokes on his cocktail and dies within minutes. It’s put down to heart attack/old age, until it happens a second time, with very similar guests in attendance.

Pay attention to small details. I think that with a more careful reading I might have been able to solve it. The most minute details are key here.

Grade A-

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

Death in the Clouds

by Agatha Christie

In Death in the Clouds Poirot is asleep on a Paris-London flight when a woman is killed by a poisoned dart, disguised as a wasp. In place of Hastings, Poirot enlists two fellow passengers to help him solve the murder.

Things I love about Poirot: the murders are rarely gruesome; the characters keep their kinky behavior toned down, at least by 2010’s standards; there’s often a romance that the Belgian can encourage in the young people. It makes for a very nice mix and easy reading.

Grade A-

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

The ABC Murders

by Agatha Christie

The ABC Murders takes a very different slant in giving us an occasional 3rd person narration mixed in with Hastings’ 1st person accounts. It’s interesting to see the story told this way. And it will have you on your toes to solve the murder.

It actually reminds me a lot of an Endeavour mystery with its stockings salesman and three apparently unrelated murders.

Grade A-

July Book Reviews | Life as Mom

Murder in Mesopotamia

by Agatha Christie

Murder in Mesopotamia takes Poirot to the middle east where he just “happens” upon an archaeological dig where a murder has taken place. Nurse Leatheran serves as the narrator and the stand-in for the loyal Hastings. She’s been hired to care for the chief archaeologist’s wife, Mrs. Leidner. Mrs. Leidner feels her life is in danger, thus her nerves are shot to pieces.

When she’s found dead, things get serious. And the murder must be solved. Some nice twists and turns here.

Grade A-

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  1. Many years ago, I read my way through Agatha Christie. I also enjoyed Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe. You might enjoy Josephine Tey, fewer books but a bit better writing, as I remember.
    I love Acorn especially for the mysteries you’ve named. I also like “Vera, ” a curmudgeonly detective inspector. I think they describe her as a female Columbo. The shows are based on mysteries by Anne Cleeves, who writes wonderful, complex stories- I enjoy her Vera ones and another series whose detective lives on the Shetland island, very different way of life.
    Have fun.

  2. I forgot to mention in my earlier comment what I’ve been reading, in fact rereading, the space comedies of Lois McMaster Bujold. She is my favorite author — tells a good story and, at the same time, offers something to think about.

  3. Agatha Christie = one of my favorite authors. Poirot? Well, considering I own every book which includes him as a character and the BBC series is still on my shelf after the big purge… you can probably guess how I feel about him too. 😉

  4. I love agatha Christie, she was how I spent my summers as a tween and teen. I should reread as an adult. I tried to poldark this month, but it has been slow going. I don’t love the “behavior choices” that the characters are making, which makes it even harder to read for me. Our month has been insanely busy, so that’s as far as I have made it. I did also start the green ember which would be a great read aloud (SD Smith). I think I’m going to enjoy the book. 🙂

  5. I finally paid all my late fees at the library so I’m glad to find this list of books to try for August! I have “For the Love” (Jen Hatmaker) first in my queue and me and my boys just started “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.”

  6. Love Agatha! You post brought back such fond childhood memories of my mom reading to me, my older brother, and younger sister. We listened to her read bedtime stories at home or while traveling the roads of the world. I thank my mom for instilling in us kids the love of discovering ourselves through reading.
    So many great books like The Mouse and the Motorcycle ( our family is an avid motorcycle riding family), Serpent Tide Series, The Great Brain, Anne of Green Gables, and of course, Judy Blume books.

    1. Sweet that you have those good memories! My parents never read to me once i could read to myself, so it’s a new thing for this generation. 🙂