Category Archives: Authors W

Keeping up Appearances

a Quiet life

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 of Melinda Marling, wife of… Read more »

A Soviet Adventure with Dennis Wheatley

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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 and as the first in… Read more »

First Light – Unbound Launch Party

first light

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 Caitlin). I also love, nay… Read more »

The end of California dreaming?

gold fame citrus

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 that is being reclaimed by… Read more »

Celebrating John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley

2016-02-20 Creasey Wheatley Salon (1024x576)

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…  It was a real pleasure to… Read more »

Shiny Fiction Linkiness

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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 of the Great War for… Read more »

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 the 1970s world of public… Read more »

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 banging the drum, but I’m… Read more »

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 ramifications that last through the… Read more »

Minimalism ain't all it's cracked up to be …

Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles This debut novel, published last year, was one of those books I was instantly desperate to read, but somehow couldn’t fit in at the time. The title promised quirkiness and humour, two qualities I adore in a novel. I’m glad I finally read it, for I enjoyed it a lot… Oskar is a successful… Read more »

What a stinker! But in a good way…

Mr Stink by David Walliams After watching the BBC’s enjoyable TV version of Mr Stink at Christmas, I was inspired to read the book to see what Walliams, who adapted his own book for the TV, and put in a cameo as the Prime Minister, was like on the page. I had read somewhere that the book was more ‘Dahlesque’,… Read more »

A woman scorned …

My First Wife by Jakob Wassermann, translated by Michael Hoffman They often say that truth is stranger than fiction. This novel is apparently no fiction – it’s one of those ‘all names have been changed’ type books!  My First Wife was published posthumously in 1934, and was a thinly veiled account of the author’s first marriage – and that marriage… Read more »

Kill or cure

AnnaBookBel   September 10, 2010   No Comments on Kill or cure

The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood (and the Duchess of Northumberland). The Duchess of Northumberland is the mastermind behind the wonderful Alnwick Garden adjoining her family’s ancestral pile, Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland. I visited last year and found it a wonderful attraction. One of the (many) highlights of the Garden is the Duchess’ special project – The Poison Garden. Every… Read more »

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 star books, published in the… Read more »

Boldly Going …

There are lots of great programmes on the TV at the moment celebrating the 40th anniversary of landing on the moon. I was nine when it happened, and remember watching the landing on the telly and being entranced by the whole event. I will still watch anything about space and I have many books on the subject, so I am… Read more »

Grim but gripping …

Once Upon a Time in England by Helen Walsh This book was totally gripping from the outset – the life experienced by the working class family within is truly grim; an unremitingly bleak existence, reinforced by a series of poor decisions and having to live with the consequences. Each time they pick themselves up, something else seems to happen to… Read more »

The Childrens’ Laureate’s choices

There was much on the news and in the papers about the Childrens’ Laureate’s choices of best children’s books to celebrate 10 years of having the post – Long may it continue. The five Laureates, past and present, each chose about twelve books which were whittled down to seven. In the media, much is being made of the fact that… Read more »

Tempus Fugit – Time flies when you’re having fun!

Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson There is much to like in Winterson’s novel for older children (upwards). I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope it might have a sequel some time. This fast-moving Fantasy/SF novel, (it’s a bit of both), about the power to control time, owes a lot to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. It has a sparky young heroine,… Read more »

“Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die”

Numbersthe debut novel for teens (and up) by Rachel Ward is a book very much concerned with life and death, and the quote above by Tennyson, seems to me to capture its essence in a nutshell perfectly. Told in the first person, this is Jem’s story of the time spent with her friend Spider. Fifteen year old Jem doesn’t really… Read more »