3 shorter reviews – Bissell, Hunter, Ross

Barnhill by Norman Bissell After the end of WWII, George Orwell left London to live in a remote farmhouse on Jura in the Hebrides. It was there at ‘Barnhill’ that he brought together all the ideas that had been fermenting in his brain into the book that became 1984. Bissell’s novel tells the story of Read More

Book Group read – ‘Turtle’

Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman Our theme for our August book had been a random one – ‘Turtle’! There were a few potential choices, including Russell Hoban’s Turtle Diary, and Terry Pratchett of course , but the book we finally picked was Alice Hoffman’s 1992 novel Turtle Moon. Hoffman is a prolific but always enjoyable Read More

20 Books of Summer #5 & #6 – Greer & Hustvedt

I’d expected to read more books in July than my list shows, having been on ‘school holidays’ since July 5, (although slaving at home on and off for a fortnight on the School magazine). But then I look at my bed – which is where the books I’m reading tend to sit – and there Read More

Book Group report – July – ‘Fire’

After the Fire by Will Hill This was our book group choice for July. Our theme was ‘Fire’ – and we all liked the sound of this novel inspired by the Waco cult, not realising that it was a YA book at the time. Over the years we have read a handful of YA novels, Read More

Two recent science books

Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity by Jamie Metzl Genetic engineering is a controversial topic, and news coverage is generally lacking in proper detail or hopelessly biased one way or another. There are so many scare stories, alongside the fantastic developments that will undoubtedly be helpful to mankind. The words ‘genetic engineering’ Read More

Two from the Library – one yeah, one meh…

One of the great things about borrowing books from the library is that you can take a chance on books – which is what I did recently with a whole load of poetry and novels. The only problem then, is that you might not enjoy them all. Here are thoughts on two of them – Read More

Crime Panel Event Night at Mostly Books

Last night was a very special event at Mostly Books – the first time I can remember that four wonderful authors crammed into this small shop with as large an audience as could be fitted in! They were: William Shaw – author of the excellent Alexandra Cupidi series of Kentish crime novels (and the Breen Read More

Review Catch-up

I’m so behind on my reviews, here are two shorter ones… Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole my Ma by Kerry Hudson This debut novel was our book group read this month. The title is rather off-putting, sounding like a C&W ballad, but it is apt – for the main Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Dry

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … The Dry by Jane Harper One of the best debut crime novels Read More

Review Catch-up: Heller, Murakami & Levy

Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller I recently re-read this for Book Group, and was reminded by what a fine novel it is. The affair between a naive art teacher and a fifteen-year-old pupil is a tough subject, given that Heller makes her protagonist quite sympathetic in a way, but the real villain of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: How to Be Both

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … How to Be Both by Ali Smith I have a confession to Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist

The shortlist for this interesting prize (the official website is here) was announced first thing this morning. What is this trend for announcing literary shortlists at 00.00 these days? Anyway, I am rather excited by it, as I’ve read and really enjoyed three of the six titles. Without further ado, here is the shortlist, with Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them… #2

I’ve consulted my master spreadsheet again to bring you some more of my capsule reviews from my pre-blog years. Again, these are all from 2006 or before… Bringing Out the Dead by Joe Connelly This autobiographical novel is relentless, I read it in two sessions, only ending the first as I was completely drained. A Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper Sadly, this book isn’t out in the Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them…

I’ve kept a master spreadsheet of what I’ve read every year since 2006, two years before I started blogging. There are entries on it from 2004 too, but not a full reading record. While I’ve only kept good stats since around 2010, I did used to write capsule reviews of those pre-blog reads on the Read More

‘La Serenissima’ a city of masks…

The Hourglass by Liz Heron People pass by on the fondamenta, a canal’s breadth away, and hear the strains of Mozart through the open window. An old recording, its tempo fast, the trio of singers still clear, the insistence on women’s faithlessness unmistakable behind the music’s effervescence. È la fede delle femmineCome l’araba fenice… A Read More

Two new crime thrillers – Harper and Spain

Today I have a review and a Shiny link for you – both thrillers published today. The Lost Man by Jane Harper Let me get the Shiny link out of the way first. The Lost Man is Harper’s third crime thriller, set in the Australian outback. Whereas her first two featured Aaron Falk, a cop Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Fight Club

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik Not a book I’ve read, but I Read More

Two from the Library… yes, you did read that correctly!

I finally got a new library card last month, after not having borrowed from there since my daughter was a toddler when we used to visit weekly to stock up on picture books. I do need to spend less, to buy fewer books, but not zero – I couldn’t possibly do that! So I’m hoping Read More

Review Catch-up #4 from 2018

This really is the last pair of books I read in the tail end of 2018 – from here-on in it’ll be 2019 reading all the way! But first two book group choices: Firstly the book we read over Christmas and discussed last week, and then February’s book – I’m writing about it now so Read More

Review Catch-up #1 from 2018

I’ve got a pile of books I finished reading in 2018 that I haven’t reviewed yet. Some deserve their own posts, but here’s a pair of shorter write-ups. The Atlas of Disease by Sandra Hempel This is a curious book – ostensibly an ‘atlas’ produced using the latest data available, in which the author charts Read More

Year End Review #6: My Books of the Year!

And finally, in my review of my reading year, it’s my Books of the Year. I always save this post for last, in case there’s a late entry. I’ve given up trying to keep the list to a dozen and have ended up instead with a baker’s dozen, plus some runners up. All of these Read More

Year End Review #2: The Disappointments

The DNF and the DNGS This year I was perhaps, lucky in my reading – there was only one book that I gave up on having got a little way in, despite its fab cover, and that was The Testament of Loki by Joanne M Harris. I won’t dwell on this, but you can read Read More

Year End Review #1: The Discoveries

I’m kicking off my review of my 2018 reading year by sharing a few of the authors I discovered for the first time and now want to read much more of. Kent Haruf Others have praised this author for years and I truly don’t know why I resisted reading him.  I finally picked up Our Read More

The Last 10 Books Tag…

I got this via Simon (see his answers here) but it originated with Rick at Another Book Vlog. I couldn’t resist… The last book I gave up on There are a few books that I never really got started with, like Iris Murdoch’s The Nice and the Good, but the last one I read a decent chunk of Read More

Novellas in November Part 1

This year I’m joining in with Novellas in November, a long-running tag now sort of shepherded by Laura at Reading in Bed.  I absolutely love novellas, that extra length over a short story, of say up to 150 pages, gives space for development of plot and characters, but still requires the author to move things Read More

RIP XIII – Book 2

Dead Funny – ed. Robin Ince & Johnny Mains Horror Stories by Comedians This little book is my second read for R.I.P. XIII (more about that here). It comprises sixteen ‘horror stories written by comedians’ and was published by Salt in 2014, and followed up two years later by Dead Funny: Encore. Short stories and Read More

NYRB Fortnight (belated) – Alfred Hayes

I spotted that Lizzy was hosting an NYRB fortnight rather late in the actual fortnight, but I started reading this slim volume on the last day, so it counts in my book! My Face For the World to See by Alfred Hayes Hayes, who was born in London but emigrated to the US as a Read More

A standalone thriller that’s far from Slough House…

This is What Happened by Mick Herron This is going to be a short review… Mick Herron is the author of the utterly brilliant Jackson Lamb series of spy novels, following the workers of Slough House, where agents get put out to pasture. (If you haven’t read them, see here, here and here!)  He’s taken Read More

Review catch-up:

Playing review catch-up, I have three rather different books for you today… Don’t Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin It’s ages since I read this book which I got from the Faber spring party where Vlautin, who is in a band too, sang and played his guitar for the audience. Since then, the film Read More