Six Degrees of Separation: Atonement

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Our starting book this month is … Atonement by Ian McEwan Shocking, I know – but I’ve not read it!  I have seen the film though – and one Read More

Paris in July 2018 – Vernon Subutex returns…

Paris in July is an annual tag hosted by Thyme for Tea which I love doing each year.  Here’s my first contribution… Vernon Subutex 2 by Virginie Despentes Translated by Frank Wynne This is a sequel to Vernon Subutex 1, which was a real discovery for me in 2017 – you can read my review here.  Read More

An artist’s memoir of childhood in London and Hollywood …

Unaccompanied Minor by Alexander Newley My review of this memoir by the son of Joan Collins and Anthony Newley is my first of the year for Shiny New Books. Newley is an artist and frequent self-portraitist, and this account of growing up in this dysfunctional story was illustrated and enriched by many of his pictures 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 saved this post for last, because since Christmas, I have just read a book which had to be added to this list. I tried to keep the list to a dozen, but it’s ended up as 14 – but Read More

Year End Review #1: My best discoveries of 2017

  The best authors who were ‘New to me’ in 2017 Today in the first part of my review of the year, I’m going to highlight the new to me authors, several of whom have been writing for years, that have made themselves must-reads for the future. It’s inevitable, but my first discoveries are three Read More

2017 in First Lines

This is a fun meme, giving a snapshot of one’s reading through the year – not necessarily an accurate sample, but fun. The title links will take you to my reviews. January:  Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis ‘They made a silly mistake, though,’ the Professor of History said, and his smile, as Dixon watched, gradually Read More

The PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2017 – Shadow Judges’ winner!

It’s been a busy month since the members of Shadow Judges panel for this year’s Young Writer of the Year Award received our parcels of the five shortlisted book (above).  Clare, Dane, Eleanor, Rebecca and I have read the lot, blogged about them, discussed them between ourselves and some of us got to meet most of Read More

PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year shortlist – Claire North

The End of the Day by Claire North Claire North came to our attention via the bestseller that was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. But she is no tyro author; she has four novels and a trilogy of e-novellas under her mantle as North, six adult fantasy books before that writing as Kate Read More

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

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

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

20 Books of Summer #8 & 9 – Nichols & Kay

Crazy Pavements by Beverley Nichols Knowing that Karen and Simon are both fans of Beverley Nichols, it was about time I read one of his books – I picked this one up a couple of years ago, so it was ideal to go into my 20 Books of Summer pile.  Nichols was a prolific writer: Read More

20 Books of Summer

This year, rather than do Book Bingo, I’m going to join in with Cathy of 746 Books and do the 20 Books of Summer challenge. I’ve chosen my 20 books. All are books I’ve acquired, not review copies. I make no apology for none of them being chunky – but choosing slimmer volumes, it might Read More

Two books about Learning to Drive…

While reading the first of this pair, I was perusing my shelves and found another book that was nominally about starting late in ‘learning to drive’ so the obvious thing was to read both and review them together. These books were especially appropriate to my own situation – I didn’t take my car driving test Read More

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. (Here’s my one for last month starting at Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.) This month the starting book is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. 1. The Girl with the Read More

Two shorter reviews with missing bodies…

Today I have a couple of shorter reviews for you. Both novels I enjoyed reading very much, but ones I don’t want to say too much about to avoid spoiling the drama should you read them! Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent I read Irish author Liz Nugent’s first novel, Unraveling Oliver, a couple of years ago, Read More

Book Group report: Food

John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk Our Book Group is reading by category this year. When choosing our ‘Food’ book two months ago, we narrowed it down to three books initially and then picked one out of the hat. The three were: The Vegetarian by Han Kang – prize-winning Korean novel John Saturnall’s Feast by Read More

Book Group Report: Travel

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby In an effort to get more variety into our reading, we’ve started a subject cycle. We pick a topic to research, then next month everyone comes with a suggestion or two on that subject and we whittle them down to a handful to draw a Read More

Catching up on reviewing…

My to be reviewed pile is larger than I like and I don’t want to forget the books – so here are some shorter reviews for you: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics This is one scary novel – published as a YA book but is definitely not for younger teenaged readers! The story is narrated Read More

Two shorter YA reviews

Republished back into my blog’s timeline from my ‘lost post archive’. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach The world is going to end in ten chapters (weeks?) time when an asteroid called Ardor will crash into the Earth. If you’re a teenager, what are you going to do? There may be no future, so Read More

A Japanese Nightmare

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothumb Translated by Adriana Hunter This unsettling novella has an apt title. When I looked it up to see where it might have come from, I found a bible quote (also the source for a work Read More

We followed our men to Los Alamos …

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit This is not a novel about the development of the atom bomb, but rather the development of the community surrounding the laboratory which produced the bomb. Most of the scientists who worked at Los Alamos were seconded to the military from all over the country in 1943 Read More

A nasty piece of work is Oliver…

Apologies for not getting any posts up for a few days – it’s been a bit hectic – what with a first aid training course, back to school and all that entails, plus of course a wonderful quick trip down to London on Wednesday to have tea at the Wolseley Restaurant on Piccadilly with my Read More

Where is your North?

Soonchild by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Alexis Deacon This was the last book that Russell Hoban finished before his death in 2011. It was published posthumously by Walker Books as an illustrated short novel for a teen audience, and it is dedicated to Hoban’s grandchildren who are probably the perfect age to read this modern folktale Read More

“The extraordinary happens every day”

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness Having wept like a baby during reading Ness’s last crossover novel, A Monster Calls (my review here) – a story about a young boy coming to terms with love, death and grief, and incorporating magical elements and fables, The Crane Wife – his first full adult novel seems a natural progression. The Crane Read More

Rewarding YA reading for Grown-ups! Let me persuade you…

I’m in my early fifties prime (!) and I’m not afraid to say that I love reading modern YA books now and then … but only good ones, naturally.  By using the term ‘YA’ here, I’m distinguishing them from those books we usually call ‘children’s classics’ (which still appeal to readers young and old alike).  I’m 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, Read More

Carnegie Longlist 2013

The longlist for the 2013 Carnegie Medal has been announced and I was please to see quite a few books I’ve already read on it, plus several in my TBR pile – and of course in an ideal world I’d like to read all of them! The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding Read More