Category Archives: Authors F

The story of a novel and how I got a quote inside it…

Flintoff

What If the Queen Should Die? by John-Paul Flintoff Today, my special subscriber’s copy of another Unbound book arrived. Unbound are a crowd-funding publisher – read my interview with them for Shiny New Books here to find out more. Once you’ve pledged to one book, it’s very tempting to pledge to another… and another. This is the fourth I’ve pledged to which have… Read more »

A speculative thriller of a Sino-driven LA?

3rd woman

The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland Guardian journalist, Jonathan Freedland has previously written thrillers as Sam Bourne, but for his sixth book he dropped the pseudonym. Possibly, this was because his book is dedicated to his older sister Fiona who died of cancer in 2014, (read a touching article about their relationship here), but that is pure speculation on my part. (I… Read more »

… and those that disappointed

All in all, I’ve had a marvellous reading year, but there were a few disappointments along the way. Of course a book that was meh or a DNF for me, may be just the ticket for another reader, but I hope I’ve explained in the full posts on these titles what I didn’t like about the books. You are very welcome to… Read more »

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part Two – The Blog edit

Yesterday I shared my best reads of 2014 as reviewed for Shiny New Books. Today, I turn my attention to titles reviewed here. The links will return you to my full reviews: – Best Retro-Subversive Laugh-Out-Loud Book Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler So nearly my book of the year, Discovering Scarfolk is just hilarious! Stuck firmly in the 1970s world of public… Read more »

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part One – the Shiny Edit…

This year for the first time, I’ve split my best of list in two. Having read around 130 books this year, there are too many to feature in just one post and there is an obvious split – today’s first part will feature those books that I’ve reviewed over at Shiny New Books.  Forgive me for continually banging the drum, but I’m… Read more »

Three Slightly Shorter Reviews

I’ve got a series of posts lined up for the week in between Christmas and New Year with my hits, misses, finds and stats, so it’s time to catch up with my review pile backlog and some shorter reviews… The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield For anyone who loved the TV series Six Feet Under, this is what it’s like… Read more »

My first Penelope Fitzgerald read…

At Freddie’s by Penelope Fitzgerald Penelope Fitzgerald is yet another of those lauded middle-brow female novelists from the second half of the twentieth century that I had not yet tackled. I’ve long been a champion of Beryl Bainbridge and Muriel Spark; I’ve added Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret Forster, Edna O’Brien, Penelope Mortimer and not forgetting Barbara Pym to my tried and… Read more »

The Great American Dream?

fitzgerald books

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald Having adored Baz Luhrmann’s new film of The Great Gatsby (which I blogged about here), I just couldn’t wait to re-read the book. It must have been a couple of decades since I last read it, and this time, for my third re-read, I was able to use my Folio Fitzgerald set rather than a paperback, which… Read more »

Nick loves Amy, Amy loves Nick, don't they?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn This book is our book group choice for discussion this month – I would normally wait until after we’ve met to put down some thoughts about our reading, but after devouring this novel in two sittings, (I started at bedtime last night, and finished it when I woke up this morning – which did mean I… Read more »

A little London loving – 1960s style…

Georgy Girlby Margaret Forster Margaret Forster is somehow one of those familiar authors, although I’ve read any of her books.  Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve seen several of her books in shops; The Memory Box is a title that stuck in my mind.  Although I’ve no idea how old she is, or what she looks like, I… Read more »

Who is Silvia?

AnnaBookBel   January 1, 2013   No Comments on Who is Silvia?

Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French Shakespeare’s question from The Two Gentlemen of Verona is an apposite one to ask of Dawn French’s new novel, for the title character never says a word, being in a coma after a fall from a third floor balcony. Instead, Silvia’s story is told from many different points of view including her mad hippy… Read more »

Gaskella's Books of 2012

Today is one of those dates that can only happen once every hundred years – 12-12-12, so it’s an ideal time to review my reading year. Yes, in common with many other bloggers, critics and reviewers I’ve picked out the best bits, so here are my personal top ten books that I’ve read in 2012, plus a few close-run titles… Read more »

One man's version of love and betrayal…

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford Subtitled “A Tale of Passion”, Ford’s 1915 novel has one of those first lines that tend to come up in quizzes: “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” We picked it for our book group to discuss in November, after several of us having loved the recent BBC adaptation of Ford’s later… Read more »

The man with a word for everything …

An evening with Mark Forsyth One of the surprise bestsellers last Christmas, thanks to being serialised on BBC Radio 4, was a little book all about etymology – The Etymologicon, by Mark Forsyth.  It is all about the strange connections between words and phrases through finding where they come from, so you can link “church organs to organised crime” and… Read more »

Complicated emotions are explored in this big novel

The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale This was the last novel I finished reading in 2009, and it was solid yet gripping, a satisfying read that explores big and complicated emotions – yet I’ve struggled in my thoughts about how to do it justice in a review. Where to start? Examining the cover gives a clue to the two strands of… Read more »

We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather ?…

Turbulence by Giles Foden Do you remember the old poem ? Whether the weather be mild or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not. This definitely wasn’t the case in the planning for the D-Day landings, for the… Read more »

A three-hanky novel…

If I Stay by Gayle Forman I came to this novel knowing nothing at all about the plot other than it was a family drama; but I had read several recommendations of the book from respected sources. They all said that it was a novel best encountered fresh, that knowing would spoil the enjoyment of reading it. I concur wholeheartedly…. Read more »

An evening with Marina Fiorato

Last night, we were treated to an Italian evening at Mostly Books in Abingdon to celebrate the publication of Marina Fiorato’s second novel which I blogged about here, her first novel having been a hit with us. We had antipasti, biscotti, amaretti, and plenty of Amaretto to wash it all down. I’ve only had Amaretto in puddings before – drinking… Read more »

From bitter almonds comes sweet romance …

Madonna of the Almonds by Marina Fiorato I was delighted to meet Marina a couple of months ago as I had so enjoyed her debut novel, The Glassblower of Murano, which I had blogged about last autumn here. She’s a real character! – half-Italian with a mass of red Titian hair, a northern accent and sense of humour to match…. Read more »

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”

… so said Truman Capote. Going to Venice is like stepping into a time-warp. On the surface, it’s ancient, romantic and beautiful, yet it is mysterious and there’s often a whiff of danger from its history as a great trading city. Much of the paraphenalia of modern living is hidden from the tourist’s view allowing you to wallow in adoration… Read more »