Edith and Oliver

The Magician and his Wife

Edith and Oliver by Michelle Forbes I managed to miss Forbes’s debut, Ghost Moth, which received rave reviews – something I should remedy having read her second novel. Edith and Oliver is set in the world of the Edwardian music hall and after a flash-forward prologue, begins with a memorable morning after the night before Read More

Eminent Hipsters Donald Fagen

20 Books of Summer #4 The Nightfly writes…

Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen Steely Dan is one of my favourite bands. It was all the fault of Mick at our Youth Club, whom I adored from afar. This was the mid-1970s and he had a copy of the Dan’s new fourth album Katy Lied (1975). Fagen has a rather distinctive voice which is hard Read More

Equilateral

20 Books of Summer: Book the 1st

Equilateral by Ken Kalfus Before I get to Equilateral, I’d like to tell you about my previous experience reading Ken Kalfus, pre-blog. Back in 2006, friend Mark lent me a copy of Kalfus’s second novel, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country.  I remember being quite shocked by it – although I soon got over that – for Read More

English Guide to Birdwatching

Meanwhile at Shiny…

An English Guide to Birdwatching by Nicholas Royle I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Professor Nicholas Royle through reading and reviewing his second novel for Shiny New Books, and then the Q&A we did. An English Guide to Birdwatching is in essence a novel exploring (English) human relationships through ornithropomorphic means – the Read More

1951-Club

Graham Greene for the 1951 Club

The 1951 Club… …is the fourth in Simon and Karen’s reading years series – and I must say, I’m looking forward to the next decades!  1951 produced a plethora of books on my shelves. I could pick from Asimov, Bradbury or Wyndham in SF&F and there was Mitford’s Blessing, Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, Taylor’s A Read More

English Animals

Is this how others view Little England…

English Animals by Laura Kaye Reading this sparkling debut, in which Mirka, a young Slovakian woman, finds herself working for an English couple in the depths of the countryside, I couldn’t help thinking of what it was like to listen to The Archers for the first time. All those posh folk going on about pheasant Read More

apple tree yard

Two Short Takes

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty I had been planning to read Apple Tree Yard well in advance of the then imminent TV series (preferring to read the book first), but only just made it in time. Suffice it to say, this was a thriller that I raced through in a couple of sessions, finding Read More

The Reader on the 6-27

I’m still reviewing books read in 2016…

With concentrating on best of posts after Christmas, I got seriously behind reviewing books the I’d read, so here is a ‘twofer’ finishing up my fiction list and leaving just one non-fiction book read in 2016 left to review… The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent Translated by Ros Schwartz Guylain Vignolles 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

europe-in-autumn

Catch-up – two shorter reviews

My pile of books read but not reviewed yet is taller than I like, so here are two shorter reviews to catch up a little. Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson Only Hutchinson’s second novel, but you can tell the author has been writing other stuff for ages. Europe in Autumn, published in 2014, is the Read More

nakano-thrift-shop

Shiny Linkiness

Today I’ll highlight my fiction reviews from the latest edition of Shiny… Bodies of Water by V.H.Leslie This novella is all about the power of water, and specifically the river Thames. A dual-timelined story in which Kirsten buys a riverside apartment in a development that had been a Victorian hydrotherapy sanatorium where Evelyn had been Read More

Garrick Entertainer

Branagh at the Garrick

The Entertainer by John Osborne Having a potentially wet weekend to myself, no chance of the planned car boot sale taking place, I looked to find myself a theatre ticket for a day out. I went to the Garrick to see Ken Branagh’s company do Terence Rattigan’s Harlequinade last December (see here). I wanted to book for the Read More

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Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Titanic

Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge My first review for BBRW 2016 is a re-read for me – but no ordinary re-read. The Folio Society has produced a gorgeous new edition of this novel which includes Beryl’s own paintings, the first time her text and paintings have been published together. Every Man For Himself was published in Read More

third-voice

To infinity …

The Explorerby James Smythe This brilliant novel’s beginning happens near the end of the story… Cormac Easton is the only remaining living astronaut on the spaceship Ishiguro. Cormac is not even a proper astronaut – he’s a journalist; his part in the team is to observe and document the voyage, to blog and film and send the Read More

Ella Minnow Pea

Living without your ABC

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn This was our book group’s choice for April into May. Ella Minnow Pea was my suggestion – I read it ages ago, then it popped into my mind after a blog post discussed it a month or two ago (sorry I can’t remember whose blog to credit it).  After last Read More

An Education film tie-in

An Education – See the film, read the book

Usually I always read the book before the film, but in the case of An Education by Lynn Barber, I saw the film on DVD first. In this case it didn’t matter, for the events that were adapted for the film, composed just a chapter in her memoir.  It was originally written as an article for Granta magazine and Read More

emily-the-strange-book

This black covered teen novel rocks!

Emily the Strange: Lost Days by Rob Reger and Jessica Gruner, illustrated by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker  I bought this book last year for my nine year old – it’s written for young adults, but we fell in love with the cats. After a quick flick through, there was no subject matter to worry Read More

Evermore (422x640)

Another OK-ish teen paranormal romance

The Immortals: Evermore by Alison Noel Let me tell you what I liked in this book: + There is a ghost that steals every scene she’s in; + The heroine has psychic powers that she struggles to control; + There are no vampires; + The heroine is not quite as squeaky clean as a certain Read More

third-voice

Three from the archives …

Let me introduce you to three books I particularly enjoyed reading back in 2006 … Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen Life in a travelling circus was hard, and when anything happened to upset the equilibrium it became brutal, as this well-researched novel details. These crises come one after the other here making this book Read More