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

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

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

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

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 – 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

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

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

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

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

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

A modern take on Jeeves & Wooster

This post was edited and republished back into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Wake up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames Jonathan Ames is apparently a bit of a cult author in the USA – as novelist, essayist, columnist, storyteller and creator of a sitcom for HBO called Bored to Death. I’d not Read More

It’s a love / hate thang …

Republished into my blog’s original timeline from my missing posts archive. The Martian by Andy Weir One square in my Book Bingo card is ‘Hated by someone you know’. That one was so easy to fill, for a few weeks ago my pal Simon Savidge tried to read The Martian and he ended up not Read More

A case of the ‘sweats’ …

A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading this, the first volume in Louise Welsh’s planned Plague Times trilogy (the second was published earlier this month), for it turned out to be a taut suspense thriller combining a murder mystery with 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 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 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 Read More

Cover Art – The Vivisector by Patrick White

My late Mum had several books by English-born Australian author Patrick White in her collection which I later inherited. All were ex-library copies, well-used, covered in stamps and flyleafs cut out, so once I decided I would never get around to reading them (they look challenging reads), out they went – but I saved the Read More

The unsaid side of obs & gynae

Dirty Work by Gabriel Weston I was profoundly impressed by Gabriel Weston’s literary debut – Direct Red – a slightly fictionalised memoir of her time as a junior surgeon. Her second book, Dirty Work, is a novel that looks at one of the toughest things that obs & gynae surgeons may ever have to do – Read More

Books of the year … so far

As we’re just past halfway through the year, I thought I’d take a quick look back at my favourites so far – all books getting 10/10 from me… I’ll start at the top – my book of the year, so far, is one I’ve recently reviewed for issue two of Shiny New Books. Tigerman was Read More

The Savages are back …

American Savage by Matt Whyman Last summer I had the pleasure of reading one of the funniest YA novels I’ve yet encountered in Matt Whyman’s The Savages – don’t you just love that cover?  Although it was written as a standalone novel, so many people wondered what happened to the family in it, that Matt Read More

Australia & New Zealand Literature Month

ANZ Literature Month, hosted by Kim at Reading Matters is nearly over but I’ve finally managed to fit in a short novel by Tim Winton to take part reviewing, although I have enjoyed reading contributor’s reviews which are listed here. * * * * * That Eye, The Sky by Tim Winton This short novel Read More

Thoughts on my header photo

I’ve been mostly writing reviews for Shiny New Books this week after finishing Frog Music, but wanted to write something on the blog for the weekend… My eye caught my header photo which when taken a few years ago, I compiled a shelf of favourite reads over the years, mostly those getting a full five stars from Read More

Books in Bath and a French Farce

Yesterday my daughter and I went to Bath, it’s only an hour and a half from us, and the delights of the city are many. Yesterday was all about shopping, dining and theatre – we’ve done the heritage bit on previous visits.  We arrived in time for lunch (Nandos), then got stuck into shopping… One Read More

Ancient Animal Antics

Kalila and Dimna: Fables of Friendship and Betrayal by Ramsay Wood The animal tales re-told in this volume originated in antiquity. Written in Sanskrit and known as the Panchatantra, they came out of India over 2000 years ago and were later absorbed into Persian and Arabic traditions. Told in five parts, this volume contains the first Read More

Come dine on – oops – with me…

The Savages by Matt Whyman Not since I read the wonderful book, The Radleys by Matt Haig, (reviewed here), have I found a YA novel such fun.  Just look at the cover – you know it’s going to be hilarious.  You can sense that the Savages are a close family – like The Munsters or 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 Read More