BotY1

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

book_red_question_marks-svg

Year End Review #2: The Disappointments

There are always some books that just don’t live up to expectations.  Here are a few that didn’t gel with me for various reasons – plus my nominations for silliest thriller of the year. The DNFs I had a good year again with just 2 DNFs – books that I got a way into before Read More

book_red_question_marks-svg

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

Moskva Ice

Two excellent thrillers – Moskva and The Ice

Moskva by Jack Grimwood You may know Grimwood through his literary novel The Last Banquet written as John Grimwood, or his fantasy/crime novels written as Jon Courtenay Grimwood. I’ve not read any of them, although I do own The Last Banquet, which I remember was very well received. It’s certainly going up my pile, having Read More

book-piles

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

Belle Sauvage

Back into Lyra’s world…

The Book of Dust, Volume 1 – La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman My, it was good to get back into Lyra’s world. That familiar, yet unfamiliar universe – where humans have an animal counterpart, their daemons; the setting is sort of contemporary, yet steampunky, with landmarks we know set alongside ones that could be Read More

IMG_0114

The Young Writer of the Year Ceremony

So it was back down to London yesterday evening for the ceremony of the Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. The ceremony was held in the wonderful ‘Red Room’ of the London Library at St James Square near Piccadilly and all those Christmassy lights. The room gradually filled with all those involved Read More

SHADOW JUDGE WOB

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

SHORT STORIES TWITTER2

PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year shortlist – Julianne Pachico

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico I’m finally finding my feet with short stories after decades of not really getting them; collections like The Lucky Ones are responsible for this change of heart, for the stories within these covers are stunningly good. Pachico was born in Cambridge, but grew up in Colombia, and that is Read More

IMG_6498

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

SHORT STORIES TWITTER6

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

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

bedlam stacks

Shiny Linkiness

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley I reviewed Pulley’s first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (reviewed here) for Shiny a couple of years ago, and recently reviewed her second The Bedlam Stacks there too. I loved both books, but after the delight that was Watchmaker,  Stacks goes even further in developing the relationship between Read More

How Hard Can It Be

She’s Nailed it!

How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson Allison Pearson’s first novel,  I Don’t Know How She Does It, published in 2002, was an instant bestseller and one of the defining women’s novels of the time about the pressure to have it all.  Her protagonist, Kate Reddy, was a successful fund manager in the City, Read More

Keyes & Pope

Aug/Sept Book Group Report: SF & Naval books

Our book group didn’t meet in August as nearly everyone was on hols, so last night we had two books to discuss. The way we pick our books is to  chose a theme two months ahead, then research and next month  present our suggestions, of which one gets picked eventually. SF: Flowers for Algernon by Read More

imaginary friends

Philip Pullman essays – a single from Indie Booksellers Week

Imaginary Friends by Philip Pullman I know we’re a few weeks past Independent Booksellers Week now, but you may still be able to get a copy of this single essay by Philip Pullman, published as a little book for IBW and only available in indie bookshops. Each year a different essay about books and reading Read More

new sorrows of young w

A cult German modern classic

The New Sorrows of Young W. by Ulrich Plenzdorf Translated by Romy Fursland I won this book from Lizzy’s Tenth Blogiversary  giveaway back in February – thank you! I chose it from those she offered purely because of the cassette tape on the front which I was hoping would set it in the 1970s/80s – and Read More

Porter and Bonfiglioli

In Short – some capsule reviews

A pair of shorter reviews for you today – both books are short and begin with G. That’s where their similarity ends though, they couldn’t be further apart in their style! Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter This prize-winning book from 2015 is hard to categorise, other than short – it’s as Read More

Gull

Reading Ireland Month

March is Reading Ireland month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Niall at The Fluff is Raging. Being half-Irish (my mum was from Belfast) and thus eligible for an Irish passport should the UK go totally to the dogs, I couldn’t not join in, especially after my post about Irish actor James Ellis’s later Read More

Mr Pye

Not Peake’s peak…

Mr Pye by Mervyn Peake I devoured the three volumes of Gormenghast as a student one summer – that was decades ago. I’ve always meant to revisit it as Karen has done recently, but would really like to find a less pressured time so I can enjoy it again at leisure. However, I spotted another Read More