Two Shorter YA reviews

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Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher This is the third novel by Pitcher, the first I’ve read, although I own a copy of her prizewinning debut My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. It also fills in the box on my BookBingo Card ‘by an author who shares your first name’… The story is narrated by Tess, a fifteen year old who discovers a… Read more »

My TBR Rainbow: #10 The Medal Edit

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Congratulations to all our Olympians who took part in Rio In celebration, I made a pile of gold, silver and bronze-spined books from my TBR. I chose the three volumes of HP Lovecraft’s weird tales to represent the silver incarnation of Penguin Modern Classics between 2000 and 2007, of which I have many. Interestingly, all the gold paperbacks I have are… Read more »

Emotions run deep in these pearl rivers…

Last Pearl Fisher

The Last Pearl Fisher in Scotland by Julia Stuart I have really fond memories of reading Julia Stuart’s earlier novel – Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo (reviewed here), which was gentle and touching with some delightful comedic interludes. Its portrayal of a couple being driven apart by grief over their dead son was charmingly done. Would her latest… Read more »

Women in Translation month – a French novella

Marie

Marie by Madeleine Bourdouxhe Translated by Faith Evans This gorgeously produced novella with its stunning cover design is turning into one of the sleeper hits of the summer. The cover stood out in the bookshop and I had to buy it – luckily the story inside is just as high quality, (read Jacqui‘s review too). This was my first encounter with Belgian-born… Read more »

Great Characters, Great Adventure, Great Space!

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The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers This SF novel has been one of the great discoveries of recent years – a self-published kickstarter debut that was picked up by a big publisher and then longlisted for the Baileys Prize earlier this year. The book is now shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award. Although it is the… Read more »

My TBR Rainbow #9: Pattern

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Earlier this year I did a series of posts of books from my TBR piles grouping them into rainbow colours (collated here). Time for another – and something different. Spotting a multi-coloured striped spine across the room, I thought I’d look for more. Gosh it was difficult! There are many bicoloured spines – maybe different colours on top and bottom of… Read more »

Two novellas for WIT month

Hen who dreamed

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang Translated by Chi-Young Kim, Illustrations by Nomoco This Korean novella has been a huge bestseller and it’s easy to see why. For a start, the cover is divine, the book is physically lovely with French flaps, and Nomoco’s illustrations preface each chapter. All that before you get to the heart-warming story within…. Read more »

‘Till we have built Jerusalem, In Englands green & pleasant Land’

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The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes What a gorgeous cover, eh? Many among you will recognise the title of this novel as coming from Jerusalem – the celebrated hymn with words by Blake and music by Parry. In fact, Blake’s words are taken from the preface to a much longer work, Milton, a Poem. The short poem we now know as Jerusalem,… Read more »

Two Mental Health Issue-led YA novels…

Rose Tainted

Today, I have two slightly shorter reviews for you of YA novels that explore similar themes: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall The pink cover (available in three shades actually, going from medium to full-on shocking pink) does this novel no favours at all. Concentrate instead on the gilded cage and the heart that doesn’t dare to go out of… Read more »

From the archives: Hotels

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When I go on holiday with my daughter these days, we usually try to find apartments as we disturb each other just too much sharing a room!  But, of course, many of my holidays in the past, and probably in future too, will involve staying in a hotel. Many a novel features characters staying in a hotel – here’s a selection… Read more »

Women in Translation month

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August is Women in Translation month hosted by Meytal at Biblibio, and I’m busy scouring the shelves for a couple of books to read. Meanwhile, here are links to all the WIT books I’ve read since last August – it’s not a long list, but is more than last year. The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalie Sanmartin Fenollera (Spanish,… Read more »

Book Group report: Noir

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The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett To broaden our reading and ensure that don’t keep choosing yet another xxx-prize short/longlisted book each month, we are picking the books we read by topic, and for July it was ‘Noir’. We pick the topic 3 months ahead, then 2 months ahead we pick the book from the titles suggested, max one each…. Read more »

Shiny New Books Issue 11

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Issue 11 of Shiny New Books was published this morning – I got up early to do most of the admin, and then went back to bed! This issue, with everyone still reeling after the Brexit vote, the Shiny Eds had a great discussion about European Culture on the page and screen. It would be lovely if any of you… Read more »

Paris in July: Discovering Antoine Laurain

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Paris in July is an annual event hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea – it’s now in its seventh year. I’ve managed to squeeze in a second Parisian read this month… The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain What a discovery this novel and its author were! Feel-good and completely charming, The President’s Hat was the perfect book to lift spirits. Daniel, an accountant,… Read more »

The lost post archive: The Dark Tower

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Stephen King’s Magnum Opus – The Dark Tower I read the seven volumes, comprising over 4000 pages, of King’s Dark Tower epic fantasy over a period of four years. All the posts were ‘lost’ in my domain transfer. I’ve restored them into their original places in the time-line, linked below. It’s been a couple of years since I finished reading… Read more »

The lost post archive: The World of Ephemera

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Among all my recent ‘lost posts’ (more on that here), are some older series which I’d like to add back into the blog. I plan to add each series of posts back into their original places in the timeline with comments disabled, but with a live linking post here. The first lot I’m republishlng are those on Ephemera, including a series called The World of… Read more »

Love among the penguins – Q&A with Midge Raymond

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My Last Continent by Midge Raymond Today, I’m delighted to be a stop on Midge Raymond‘s blog tour for her fabulous novel My Last Continent from Text Publishing, which is an adventure romance set in Antarctica. Deb and Keller meet as researchers for a few weeks each year to study the penguins while working for an educational cruise company. Theirs is… Read more »

Keeping up Appearances

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A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter This is the first novel by Walter, who has previously been known for her non-fiction including her book on feminism Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism (2011). Now she has turned to fiction, and in A Quiet Life, she has based the bare outlines of her story on the life of Melinda Marling, wife of… Read more »

Paris in July

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Paris in July is an annual event hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea – it’s now in its seventh year. Given recent awful events in France, reading a French novel seemed a good way to show support. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan Translated by George Miller When first published in English translation in 2010, No and Me was a… Read more »

One for Jack Reacher fans…

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Solomon Creed by Simon Toyne Former TV executive, Toyne, is the author of the Sancti trilogy of apocalyptic conspiracy thrillers which, now I’ve read his new book, I’m keen to explore – they sound so much better than Dan Brown. For me, a good thriller is the perfect palate cleanser between more literary fare. The number of formulaic copycat thrillers that grace… Read more »