Christmas Shiny Linkiness …

Today, I’d like to direct you over to my reviews in the Shiny New Books Christmas Inbetweeny.  By the way, have you tried our Shiny Advent Quiz yet? Ideal as a post-prandial competition… But back to my reviews as these books are all too good to leave off mentioning here too: The Islanders by Pascal Read More

Not just a novel of any letters…

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher This novel certainly has one of the most attractive covers I’ve seen in a while – it rather gave me the urge to start colouring it in, but I restrained myself! (Interestingly, between the proof and the finished article, I can see that quite a few of the letters have Read More

The Prisoner meets 1970s public information films – be very afraid…

Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler I love reading creepy novels in autumn, and this year I’ve had the pleasure of not only reading the fabulous Horrorstör (see here), but also the even creepier Discovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler. Anyone will be able to enjoy this book, but to really get the most out of it, Read More

More Shiny linkiness …

It’s been a couple of weeks since Issue 3 of Shiny New Books went live, so I thought I’d highlight the other fiction reviews I wrote for it to you – I hope you’ll click through to read the whole pieces… At the moment, we’re busy putting together our Christmas special which will be out Read More

My new reviews at Shiny New Books

The third issue of Shiny New Books came out on Monday. Now it’s time for me to highlight some of my reviews that appear therein and point you in their direction. As it ended up, I didn’t write as many reviews for this edition, but I shall still split them into a few posts in Read More

The world of espionage is a different place now…

The Director by David Ignatius It’s a while since I’ve read a spy novel set inside the various American intelligence agencies, and they make the British MI5 and MI6 seem totally straight-forward in their organisation of roles and responsibilities in comparison. This novel is set mainly in the CIA, an independent agency, which itself has many 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

Today's post is brought to you by the letter…

Simon T of Stuck in a Book has started off a new meme… he will assign those wanting to take part a random letter, and you then choose your favourite things beginning with that letter in these categories: Favourite Book Favourite Author Favourite Song Favourite Film Favourite object. … and I got a D So Read More

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #7

The Dark Tower Book 7: The Dark Tower by Stephen King I reached the Dark Tower! It’s been a long time a-coming, but I have finally reached the end of Stephen King’s epic fantasy series The Dark Tower. I began reading the books back in May 2011 in a readalong with Teresa and Jenny at ShelfLove. It was to Read More

Be of good cheer! (No, not that type of cheer)…

Dare Me by Megan Abbott An image of pony-tailed cheerleaders is arguably the ultimate cliché when we think of the most popular girls at High School in the USA.  Most teen films portray them as bitchy, and not big on brains. They are there to look like clean-living girls next door, to strike poses, but Read More

‘The sleep of reason brings forth monsters’

Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus & Julian Sedgwick, John Higgins, Marc Olivent It’s a rare thing for me to read a graphic novel – in fact the only one I’ve read since starting this blog was The Crow by James O’Barr, (see here). When I finished reading that, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to Read More

What a nasty yet unputdownable novel! Book group report …

I didn’t mean to leave such a gap between posting – but that first week back at school is always a killer.  The kittens don’t help either, those attention-seeking little bundles of fluff! Still, I have been reading and have more books read to write up, which is a good thing as I’ve just started Read More

An experiment in greed

This is my second post for Simon’s tribute to his late Gran – Greene for Gran. Last week I reviewed England Made Me, an early novel from 1935, which I hadn’t read before. This week, my second is Doctor Fischer of Geneva or the Bomb Party, one of his later books published in 1980, a Read More

An absolute pleasure to dip into …

The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield I’m so glad I finally decided to give this book a go, as it has been a real pleasure to dip into over the past couple of weeks.  As I already reported here, I was smitten by this book from its opening pages.  Having obtained an Read More

A “perfick” entertainment…

It’s not often that you can successfully combine a phrase and idea from a Shakespeare sonnet – number 18 as it happens. You know the one that begins: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease Read More

A new heart of darkness?

The Devil’s Garden by Edward Docx Set primarily in the last inhabited river station up a tributary of the mighty Amazon, The Devil’s Garden conjures up strong visions and parallels. You immediately think of other ‘jungle’ novels – Heart of Darkness being the obvious one of course, and indeed they do share some heavy themes. Read More

If you go down to the woods today …

The Devil’s Beat by Robert Edric Reading the blurb of the latest novel from Edric, I had visions of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece, The Crucible, updated to the early 20th century but actually, it has more in common with The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale. Four girls claim to have seen the Devil while Read More

Another different Italian Inspector!

Death and the Olive Grove by Marco Vichi, translated by Stephen Sartarelli This is the second of Vichi’s novels featuring Inspector Bordelli of the Florentine police.  I’ve yet to read the first, but I don’t think it really mattered. It was first published in Italian in 2003, the English translation was published this year. When Read More

The Baroness takes on Austen

Death Comes to Pemberleyby P D James Novels that take on the classics have a chequered history, and will always be subjected to increased scrutiny to see if they live up to the premise.  Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and Gone with the wind, for instance, have all had prequels, sequels and adapations written with varying degrees Read More

Memories are made of this?

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner Sally Gardner is moving up through the ages with her books. She started off with illustrating and writing picture books, then she wrote a series of Magical Children novels for younger readers, before writing several brilliant historical novels for older children (see my review of The Red Necklace here). Read More

Zombie mayhem to scare your pants off

The Enemy and The Dead by Charlie Higson Last month I had the privilege of interviewing Charlie Higson for Gaskella – see my write-up here.  He was in town for a big schools event, promoting the third volume in his series of horror books for teens.  So far, I’ve read the first two – The Read More

The case of the nasty young man

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Dirty Snow by Georges Simenon Translated by Marc Romano and Louise Varèse For most of us, Simenon is famous, justly, for his creation of Maigret, the pipe-smoking French detective that appeared in over a hundred novels and short stories from the 1930s Read More

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #2

The Dark Tower Book 2: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King It’s month 2 of the Dark Tower Readalong hosted by Teresa and Jenny at Shelf Love.  If you want to catch up with the first book, click to my review here, as I won’t re-explain what happened before. Book 2 starts exactly where we left Roland, the Read More

An author I’ll always look out for …

Daniel Woodrell …is barely known in this country, but has started to increase his profile a little with the release of a highly acclaimed film (it won at Sundance) made of his 2006 novel Winter’s Bone.  He’s actually written eight novels, all of them set in the area he knows best – the Missouri Ozarks – Read More

The Death of King Arthur vs. Le Morte D’Arthur

The Death of King Arthur by Peter Ackroyd I am a huge fan of all things Arthurian – having always enjoyed books about myths and legends by Roger Lancelyn Green et al as a child, it was seeing the 1981 film Excalibur that turned this interest into a bit of an obsession.  I read most of the old Read More

A Gothic spine-chiller for kids, adults too!

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley Priestley is an accomplished author and illustrator of children’s books, fiction and non-fiction. The past couple of years, he has specialised in horror stories for children. He’s written a series called Tales of Terror which have been well-received, (I know Scott Pack is a fan). The cover of his latest novel is brilliant Read More

Tracey Beaker meets the Famous Five

Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John Lauren St John is the author is a series of books for older children set in Africa. The White Giraffe and its sequels are heartwarming and well-loved, although I admit we’ve not read any of them (sadly, my daughter is not a fan of what she considers ‘animal tales’).  However her Read More