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

When Eight Bells Toll

For the love of good old-fashioned adventure…

Here’s the thing. Now we’re through the beginnings of the computer age, and are in the global communications age – don’t you think that (most) modern thrillers have got too technological? And with those technological advances, plots become bogged down with it all, there’s so much telling about the technology necessary to explain what’s happening Read More

6 Degrees Slap

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: The Slap

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, the Six Degrees of Separation meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. This month’s starting point is: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas I’ve not read this book, but shall go with nationality of the author as my first link. Read More

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The Horrible History of Historical Hospitals

A Cabinet of Ancient Medical Curiosities by J.C. McKeown I’ve been dipping into this book for some weeks since it arrived unannounced, and each time I’ve picked it up it has entertained magnificently. I took heed and  loved the warning at the end of McKeown’s introduction: For best results, read not more than two chapters Read More

Narcissim for Beginners

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 Read More

Wall

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 Read More

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This one gave me the creeps…

I See You by Clare Mackintosh I see you. But you do’t see me. You’re engrossed in your book; a paperback cover with a girl in a red dress. I can’t see the title but it doesn’t matter; they’re all the same. If it isn’t boy meets girl, it’s boy stalks girl. Boy kills girl. Read More

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Bookish Delights

Yesterday I was delighted to be invited to attend a bloggers afternoon at the Groucho Club hosted by literary agents PFD to meet and hear some of the authors shortlisted for this year’s Sunday Times/Peters Fraser Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award – and you couldn’t hope for a more diverse collection of literary styles Read More

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4 Stories, 13 views…

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann My first encounter with McCann, this volume contains some of his shorter fiction: a full novella and three short stories of varying lengths. The titular novella has thirteen short chapters, each prefaced by lines from a poem about a blackbird that inspired the title (Thirteen Ways of Looking Read More

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Books Are My Bag & a local book sale – My super Saturday book haul

It’s Books Are My Bag BAMB day at independent bookshops in the UK. Each year the BAMB team commission a limited edition bookbag. Last year was Grayson Perry’s typically challenging but great fun design – see right. This year, however, they have commissioned a bag you can take out without having to check which side Read More

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More Shiny linkiness …

It’s been a couple of weeks since Issue 3 of Shiny New Books went live, so I thought I’d highlight the other fiction reviews I wrote for it to you – I hope you’ll click through to read the whole pieces… At the moment, we’re busy putting together our Christmas special which will be out Read More

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Looking for 'Chap Last'

Thinkless by Sophie McCook It’s not often that I respond to a direct request from an author to review their book, but Sophie McCook wrote me a lovely note and she and her book sounded worth investigating. Thinkless comes from small publisher Limehouse Books in London, and Sophie who is based in Scotland has written for Read More

Cop Hater Roseanna

Old reviews from 2011: The start of two dogged detective series…

Cop Hater by Ed McBain Ed McBain is the author who really created the police procedural novel, with his series of fifty-five 87th Precinct books written between 1956 and 2005. In the introduction to Cop Hater, he tells how he came up with the idea of a squadroom of police officers, all with different characters, whom together Read More

savannah-grey

Evolution goes mad in this YA horror tale

Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish The cover of this book attracted me – it’s not black for a start, and the green combined with autumn leaves is a winner.  The taglines suggest something nasty… but combined with romance, and the figure on the cover, you could be forgiven for expecting a rather soft supernatural tale.   Read More

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My Books of the Noughties

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends, and got everything you wished for. I’m still mid-way through the round of family visits, so here’s a post I prepared earlier. Yes it is a list – I’m going to inflict my Books of the Decade on you – all five Read More

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How can you cheat death when you’re only 14 …

The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean One of my friend Julia’s recommendations, this is yet another wonderful crossover book by children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean. Surely it must be her turn as Children’s Laureate soon … Imagine your aunt had prophesied that you would die at the age of fourteen, and worse still that Read More

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What do you do when love is the only thing left?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy The Road by Cormac McCarthy is the third novel I’ve read this year that is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The others were Far North by Marcel Theroux (reviewed here) and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban (reviewed here).  In the post-nuke timeline, The Road is set in the years immediately Read More