Christmas on Becca's Books | Christmas Reading by Simon Pert

~ Christmas Reading ~

By Simon Pert

Christmas time is a fantastic time, for some of us, to take a break from the stress and strain of normal everyday life and grab a few days of relaxation.  Personally myself I am at my happiest with a glass of wine, a warming fire and a favourite book to read.  For several years now I have always picked a favourite book from my shelf to re-read over Christmas.  So I thought if I may, I'd like to offer you some recommendations of some of old favourites of mine and some new ones.  The collection of writers here are some you may know and some you may not, even way they are a collection of wonderfully talented writers that you should get to know!
I have always been a huge James Herbert; however one book stands out above the rest, The Magic Cottage.  The perfect slice of magic, love, suspense and horror.    Like James Herbert, Stephen King was a major influence on my early life with regards to reading.  I was an avid fan, still am.  One of my favourite books that King has written and which I constantly revisit, is Bag of Bones.  It is a just a wonderful read.
And so to something new...Peter James.  A very recent book of his called The House on Cold Hill, I love the themes of the book, the haunted house, things that go bump in the night, but all brought bang up to date for the now.  And like Bag of Bones before, from the very first page to the thrilling end, it is just such a great read.  I found myself not wanting the book to end and more so shouting at Mr James himself, you can't do that, you can't to that...oh but you have!
And as the saying goes...and now for something completely different.  I have been a long standing fan of Mike Gayle ever since he released his first book, My Legendary Girlfriend.  Now I am predominantly a crime/thriller/and occasional horror reader so seeing Mr Gayle's book on my shelf may be something of a strange occurrence.  But to be honest Mike Gayle's books are THE perfect antidote to a bad day at work.  I find myself laughing out loud at his take on life and things that happen to us all, good, bad and indifferent.  These are books that everyone can enjoy, cut them open and you would find an insight in the strange world of the male mind.  Having recently turned forty myself this book was apt and was a follow up to Turning Thirty which was equally brilliant.  The story centres around a man whose life is collapsing as he approaches his fortieth birthday and how he reassesses everything in the run up to this date.  A warm and funny and poignant often satirical look at life today.
My final three recommendations are from three female writers who have written books that simply grabbed me by the throat and did not let me go.  I read Hilary Davidson's first book in the Lily Moore series, The Damage Done, and was drawn by the character of Lily Moore, her resilience, her boldness, her vulnerability and her feistiness.  After the first few pages I was a fan. 
The books of Jo Chumas are a wonder and again perhaps not always books I would have chosen.  Yet her description, her characters, locations, plotting all simply pull you in and don't let go.  The Hidden is a wonderful book which I loved by I have to say I really enjoyed After Rafaela, it read like a movie in my mind.  I could see the characters coming to life, the twists and turns, the places that were described.  It was another case of when the book was over my heart gave a heavy thud.
Eva Dolan I discovered recently and with my liking for Crime/Thriller's, Long Way Home slipped perfectly into my reading list and onto my bookshelf.  Part of the Zigic & Ferreira series, Eva Dolan writes with pace and plotting that keeps you turning the pages long after your eyes protest tiredness and you know you have to work the next day.  Within a few pages I was hooked on the series and have since read book two in the series and eagerly await number three.
A friend of my recommended The Devil In The Marshalsea book to me earlier in the year.  I'm not one generally for historical books but then again it was a thriller, a whodunit so perhaps it was right for me.  And wow, from the start I was hooked and could not put the book down.  It changed my opinion of reading historical crime books and so please do give it a read.
And finally, a good Christmas read, for me anyway, would not be complete without the Queen of Crime herself, Agatha Christie.  And Then There Were None has been and will always be one of my all-time favourites, the stranded visitors trapped on an Island with no way of escape and then the first one dies...compulsive reading and a lesson in plotting and keeping the reader hooked.
So there are some of my recommendations for reading this Christmas.  Grab a copy of any of them and I promise you will have a great time with them. 
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2016, happy reading.

List of Books Mentioned:
Haunted - James Herbert
Bag of Bones - Stephen King
The House on Cold Hill - Peter James
Turning Forty - Mike Gayle
The Damage Done - Hilary Davidson
After Rafaela - Jo Chumas
Long Way Home - Eva Dolan
Death in Marshalsea - Antonia Hogdson
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie


I was an avid reader from an early age, and spent much of my formative years reading the likes of Agatha Christie, Stephen King, James Herbert and Richard Laymon. In recent times I have read more Nordic crime, Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbo as well as Peter Robinson's DCI Banks.

When not writing I work at a law firm on an IT support desk, a job I have been doing for nearly twenty years. 

I live in Salisbury, Wiltshire where I frequent many coffee houses most noticeably my current favourite, Boston Tea Party.

Writiing is something I am deeply passionate about and I am at my happiest when writing and at my most frustrated when not.

You can find Simon Pert on Twitter | simonpert.co.uk

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