Fragile lives

‘Don’t go breaking my heart…’

Fragile Lives by Professor Stephen Westaby I love doctors’ memoirs and those of surgeons in particular. Stephen Westaby’s contribution to the oeuvre, while I’m not accusing him in any way of lacking humanity – far from it, his book is full of emotion and care for his patients – his approach to the challenge of Read More

Room film tie-in

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Room

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. This month’s starting point is: Room by Emma Donaghue This is a book that I haven’t read (nor have a particular desire to read). However, if the movie adaptation came on Read More

name of the family

Meanwhile at Shiny…

…I’ve had several reviews published recently. In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant Sarah Dunant’s latest novel chronicles the last year of Pope Alexander VI’s life. He was, of course, head of the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. His mad and vicious soldier son Cesare, and daughter about to be thrice-married Lucrezia complete Read More

fatal-tree

Meanwhile, over at Shiny…

I have two reviews from the past couple of weeks, I haven’t shared here yet… The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott Jake Arnott’s novels are moving back in time. He started in the 1960s and 1970s with his Long Firm trilogy, (the first of which I reviewed here), then he moved back to WWII followed Read More

old-buildings

Shiny Linkiness

I can promise more reviews before Christmas, but in the mean time, here are some more links to my reviews in the latest issue of Shiny New Books… Old Buildings in North Texas by Jen Waldo This compact novel had me chortling from the first page. Olivia is a recovering from a heart attack and Read More

revolutionary-road

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: Revolutionary Road

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 – Never Let Me Go to Electricity by Ray Robinson). This month the starting book is Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. Now this is a 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

cabin-10

The first of two top notch psychothrillers…

After my disappointment last week reading The Girl on the Train (see here), I persevered to seek out a psychological thriller that I did like – and cor blimey – two came along at once, here’s my review of the first … The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware Ruth Ware’s second novel takes the classic Read More

farewell-to-ice

We’re doomed! Or are we?

A Farewell To Ice by Peter Wadhams One theme that has emerged in much of my reading of late is that of icy and mostly northern climes. From Beryl Bainbridge’s Titanic novel Every Man for Himself to Midge Raymond’s Antarctic penguins in My Last Continent to Eowyn Ivey’s Alaska in To The Bright Edge of the World, then Stef Read More

lying-in-wait

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

a Quiet life

Keeping up Appearances

A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter This is the first novel by Walter, who has previously been known for her non-fiction including her book on feminism Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism (2011). Now she has turned to fiction, and in A Quiet Life, she has based the bare outlines of her story on the life Read More

Wheatley 1a

A Soviet Adventure with Dennis Wheatley

The Forbidden Territory by Dennis Wheatley Earlier this year I reported on an afternoon spent at the Groucho Club arranged by literary agents PFD, hearing about the novels of Dennis Wheatley (and John Creasey).  I finally managed to make time to read a Wheatley … The Forbidden Territory was Wheatley’s first published novel in 1933. It was an instant bestseller Read More

first light

First Light – Unbound Launch Party

First Light – a celebration of Alan Garner, ed Erica Wagner I will get back to book reviews very soon, but the book launch I attended last night was very special – and apologies – but I will be name-dropping! I love Unbound books and their crowdfunding publishing model, (see here for a Shiny interview I did with Unbound’s Read More

gold fame citrus

The end of California dreaming?

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins I adore speculative fiction. Show me a post-disaster scenario or near future alternative society and I’m all over it, as they say. Given the puffs on the cover for the author’s first book of short stories, Battleborn, and knowing only that this novel is set in a near-future California Read More

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Celebrating John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley

Yesterday I went to another of literary agency PFD’s salons at the Groucho Club, this time to celebrate the books and lives of John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley.  Authors who were read by everyone at their peaks, hugely influential with totally different lives and styles – yet as we discovered, they have a lovely connection… Read More

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Shiny Fiction Linkiness

Time to share my Fiction reviews from Issue 8 of Shiny New Books with you – four very different but enjoyable books, click through to read the full reviews, links within the text refer to my previous reviews: The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre Best known for his Verhoeven trilogy, Lemaitre has turned from contemporary fare to the end Read More

Paying guests

Trapped in genteel poverty

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters When we chose the second title for the Shiny Book Club, we wanted something totally different to the first (The Bees, which I reviewed here). It had to fit our criteria of being a Shiny New Book Read More

Grey Squares

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 Read More

Grey Squares

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 Read More

Grey Squares

A novel of fragile youth and Sylvia Plath…

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer Meg Wolitzer is best known for her quirky feminist novels about gender politics. I admit I’ve not read any of them, although the comedy aspects of her novel The Position appeal, in which a couple’s children discover that their parents are the creators of a sex manual featuring themselves, this event having Read More