Meet Martine McDonagh…

Martine McDonagh is more than a little bit rock ‘n’ roll – she was manager of British indie pop band James for nearly ten years – designed their daisy logo, and sang backing vocals on their big hit ‘Sit down‘. When Myriad editions offered me a copy of her first novel I have Waited and You Have Come to review – a… Read more »

‘The honey and cider-vinegar way to health’

Folk Medicine by D.C. Jarvis M.D. Sorting through a pile of old small size paperbacks that came from my mum’s, I came across this gem. My mum was fascinated by health matters in the press, and prone to believing in all sorts of fringe medicine. She had her hair tinted several shades lighter because she read that the browner the… Read more »

A new imprint from Head of Zeus and a lovely launch title for it…

The White Hare by Michael Fishwick Head of Zeus, not content with launching their Apollo imprint for reprints last year, have now launched another. Zephyr will be for children’s books and I’m delighted to be the penultimate stop on the blog tour for its launch title, The White Hare, a novel for 12+ by Michael Fishwick. It’s a lovely thing too, with… Read more »

Reading Ireland Month

March is Reading Ireland month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Niall at The Fluff is Raging. Being half-Irish (my mum was from Belfast) and thus eligible for an Irish passport should the UK go totally to the dogs, I couldn’t not join in, especially after my post about Irish actor James Ellis’s later schooldays last week (see here)…. Read more »

Meanwhile at Shiny…

…I’ve had several reviews published recently. In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant Sarah Dunant’s latest novel chronicles the last year of Pope Alexander VI’s life. He was, of course, head of the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. His mad and vicious soldier son Cesare, and daughter about to be thrice-married Lucrezia complete the trio, with Niccolo Macchiavelli… Read more »

The World of Ephemera: Before Z Cars…

Time for some more ephemera, Found in amongst a pile of old theatre programmes, this edition of the school mag of M.C.B. – Methodist College Belfast from June 1949. My mum went there, and must have been in the sixth form when this edition was published. Sadly, despite being a classics scholar and singer she doesn’t get a mention, but… Read more »

Hurrah! Jackson Lamb and the Slow Horses are back

Spook Street by Mick Herron A new Jackson Lamb novel from Mick Herron is a cause for celebration. Spook Street is the fourth in this fabulous series. (See my reviews of the first, Slow Horses and third, Real Tigers.) Every person who works in the secret service backwater of Slough House is a character, from Lamb, their farting, non-pc boss who knows everyone… Read more »

It’s been a busy week…

I am nearly in possession of a newly rebuilt conservatory. The old one was single glazed and rotting away – you could see the outdoors at the corners of some windows where the wood was falling off. I managed to get a good deal to have all the glass replaced with UPVC, latest technology with the heat reflective glass on… Read more »

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Fever Pitch

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. This month’s starting point is: Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby Now although I adore Hornby, this is a football book, so I’m unlikely to read it although as soccer books go, this is the one I… Read more »

Not Peake’s peak…

Mr Pye by Mervyn Peake I devoured the three volumes of Gormenghast as a student one summer – that was decades ago. I’ve always meant to revisit it as Karen has done recently, but would really like to find a less pressured time so I can enjoy it again at leisure. However, I spotted another Peake novel on my TBR… Read more »

Meanwhile, over at Shiny…

I have two reviews from the past couple of weeks, I haven’t shared here yet… The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott Jake Arnott’s novels are moving back in time. He started in the 1960s and 1970s with his Long Firm trilogy, (the first of which I reviewed here), then he moved back to WWII followed by the early years of… Read more »

Weekend ramblings

AnnaBookBel   February 26, 2017   1 Comment on Weekend ramblings

After three days without an internet router the week before last, I’ve been playing catch-up at reading all your blogs this week and also concentrating on Shiny New Books – our first month in our new format is nearly over. it’s going well too – and we have some wonderful posts coming up for you (natch!). I now need to… Read more »

The World of Ephemera: A Swiss Folklore Evening

I love ephemera, (you can see a summary page of all my previous posts on the subject here), and I can’t resist sharing more bits with you as I find them. Today, we’re off to Switzerland, Luzern to be precise, and what could be more exciting than going by motor launch on the lake to one of the lakeside resorts… Read more »

Three Short Takes

AnnaBookBel   February 18, 2017   4 Comments on Three Short Takes

The Wall by William Sutcliffe Although published as a YA title, and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2014, this novel has crossover appeal – and should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand more about Palestine, Israel and the West Bank settlements. Thirteen-year-old Joshua lives in a town called Amarias in the ‘Occupied Zone’. One day, when he… Read more »

Over at Shiny New Books

Harriet and I are beginning to settle into our new routine over at Shiny New Books. We are now publishing new content each Tuesday and Thursday (with occasional other days in the mix to accommodate blog tours etc.). If you don’t have time to visit regularly, why not sign up to the newsletter to receive our monthly roundup. Please do… Read more »

Unputdownable, but…

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough Sarah Pinborough is an author I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I have some of her reworkings of classic fairy tales on my shelves, and she’s written a variety of other dark and sexy books for adults, plus YA. Behind Her Eyes falls into the adult dark, psychothriller mode. The blurb on my… Read more »

Two Short Takes

AnnaBookBel   February 10, 2017   3 Comments on Two Short Takes

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty I had been planning to read Apple Tree Yard well in advance of the then imminent TV series (preferring to read the book first), but only just made it in time. Suffice it to say, this was a thriller that I raced through in a couple of sessions, finding it unputdownable. This isn’t strictly… Read more »

Catching up – Jan and Feb Book Group reviews

I thought it was time I started reviewing the books I’ve read this year, so today I’m catching up with our book group reads discussed in Jan and Feb. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis This was the first book I read this year, managing to squeeze it in just before we met a few days into January. Lucky Jim was published in… Read more »

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Fates and Furies

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. (Here’s my one for last month.) This month the starting book is Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Fates and Furies is a novel I’ve yet to read. If you look at the reviews on Amazon, they’re extremely… Read more »

The new look Shiny is here!

The new style Shiny New Books is back with new reviews for you We have a new site design and a new way of sharing our content with our readers. We’re changing from our former ‘magazine’ format, in which we published lots of new pages in big batches every couple of months (and giving you too much to read in… Read more »