1968-club-1

It’s the 1968 Club! #1

The 1968 Club, hosted by Karen and Simon  is the latest decade and year combo selected for a week of reading books published in that year. I’ve read two for this week (so far), and my first review is of: Colonel Sun by Robert Markham Colonel Sun is the first James Bond continuation novel published Read More

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Young Writer of the Year Award 2017 – First thoughts…

Well, the Shadow Panel is truly underway. We even got namechecks in The Sunday Times which was a lovely surprise. Now we have the hard task of getting down to the reading. I thought I’d post some very preliminary thoughts about each book. I’ve dipped into them all briefly – and finished one – can Read More

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Young Writer of the Year Award 2017 shortlist

After posting earlier this week about my involvement on this year’s shadow panel, today I am delighted to be able to share the shortlist of five books, one of which will win the PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for 2017. Without further ado, they are: Minoo Dinshaw: Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Read More

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Your help needed please…

The above was very much an experiment in doing a quiz, but also, I’d love to get your opinions on quiz question writing styles as I don’t know what stats I’ll get from the plugin yet.Particularly interested in multiple choice vs plain test of knowledge. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks. 0

McInerny Viskic

Two shorter reviews – McInerny and Viskic

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerny I read and reviewed McInerny’s debut, The Glorious Heresies back in January, and although she paints a bleak picture of life for the dispossesed in Cork, the novel fizzed with sweary, gritty humour. I enjoyed it a lot, and was looking forward to The Blood Miracles. One of the Read More

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The Peters Fraser Dunlop Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Prize 2017

A couple of years ago, Literary agents Peters Fraser + Dunlop (PFD) held a series of literary salons celebrating classic authors whose estates they handle in the UK. (which I’ve posted about before (here, here and here). These salons have been among the event highlights of my year. However PFD don’t only deal with dead Read More

Clockwork

A book I read pre-blog … and Philip Pullman

Clockwork by Philip Pullman In a wonderful interview and Q&A  article in the Guardian on Sunday (do go and read it), author Sarah Perry asks Pullman what he’d most like to be remembered for, and his reply is his novella Clockwork. Then children’s author SF Said then asks why Clockwork?  Pullman replies: It is the most perfectly Read More

Princess Bride 30

The Princess Bride turns 30!

Although Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman’s novel preceded the film, my first experience of romantic comedy fairytale The Princess Bride (1987) was on a small screen. I missed it at the cinema as it came out during a period in which I rarely went – but I did rent the VHS video from my local blockbuster – those Read More

Bollen Destroyers

Hints of The Night Manager meets Mr Ripley …

The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen I enjoyed Bollen’s second novel, Orient (reviewed here) very much indeed. It was a chunky thriller set on Long Island in the incomers versus long-term residents mould, so I awaited his third with great anticipation. I was glad too to see that it came in at just under 500 pages, Read More

All the Wicked Girls

Second novel blues? Only the cover!

All the Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker Former financial trader Chris Whitaker’s first novel Tall Oaks (which I reviewed here) was a confident debut – a tale of small town American life with a great cast of characters surrounding the central mystery of a missing child. It’s been nominated for the CWA John Creasey New Read More

Quick Suggs Kehlmann

Review catch-up

I am still behind on my reviewing, even though I seem to have unlocked my reviewer’s block – so today, I have a trio of short reviews for you… The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick This is a rare case for me of having seen the film before I read the book. I loved Read More

Taste of blue light

What happened to Lux Langley?

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles As a portrait of a troubled teenager suffering from the after effects of trauma, the cause of which is not disclosed until near the end, this novel takes the current vogue for YA novels about mental health and runs with it well with a great first line: Read More

Lagom

This year’s Hygge is Lagom…

Lagom by Lola A. Åkerström Last year’s bestseller  The Little Book of Hygge showed us one Scandinavian aspect of living well and being happy. That book was well-designed and a cozy pleasure to read. Not for nothing are the Danes known as being the happiest nation (read my review of Helen Russell’s The Year of Read More

Release Patrick Ness

Blogging about reviewer’s block has ‘released’ me…

Release by Patrick Ness The other day I wrote about my reviewer’s block and how I had a pile of superb books waiting to be reviewed from earlier in the summer. This was one of them… Only the fact that I’d never read Mrs Dalloway blinded me to the power of the first sentence of Read More

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A Weekend Miscellany

I need to get my reviewing mojo back! In the pile of books sitting beside my laptop are some absolutely brilliant novels I read over the summer, but haven’t felt able to write about – yet! Sometimes I really struggle to get started when drafting a book review. Do you ever get periods like that? Read More

Magicians Lie

Smoke, mirrors and a little real magic…

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister Books about magicians, circuses, music hall and vaudeville are irresistible to me – especially those featuring magicians.  I recently reviewed Edith and Oliver by Michelle Forbes (click here), which is set in the British Edwardian music-hall and features an ambitious young magician from Belfast. England had its music-hall tradition Read More

cows

A sassy pageturner – smart, fun and thought-provoking

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter Although I don’t really believe in having guilty pleasures as far as choice of reading goes, I don’t read much what marketers call ‘women’s commercial fiction’. When I do read a book that falls into this category, it does feel like a guilty pleasure though and I revel in it, Read More

Science of Food

An Exploration of What We Eat and How we Cook

The Science of Food by Marty Jopson You may be familiar with Marty Jopson from the occasional science films he does for programmes like The One Show.  He may have become an entertaining science boffin on telly and stage with his live show, but he has a PhD in cell biology and his mother was Read More