Importance Music Girls

The Importance of Music to Girls

By Lavinia Greenlaw I adore books that cover musical memories from the 1970s and 1980s, the formative years of my teens and twenties. The 1970s in particular, despite all the horrors they’ve thrown up since, are my musical heartland. Lavinia Greenlaw is a poet and author and is just a couple of years younger than 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

i-see-you

This one gave me the creeps…

I See You by Clare Mackintosh I see you. But you do’t see me. You’re engrossed in your book; a paperback cover with a girl in a red dress. I can’t see the title but it doesn’t matter; they’re all the same. If it isn’t boy meets girl, it’s boy stalks girl. Boy kills girl. Read More

irene-pierre-lemaitre

Camille Verhoeven Irene Frank Wynne Pierre lemaitre maclehose

Irène by Pierre Lemaitre Translated by Frank Wynne Irène is chronologically the first novel in Pierre Lemaitre’s trilogy featuring Parisian police detective Commandant Camille Verhœven, yet in the UK it was published second, after Alex and is followed this spring by the third volume, Camille. I reviewed Alex in 2013 (click here) and it was the best crime thriller I read all that Read More

Beatlebone

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

Beatlebone

The Intruders were in my TBR!…

The Intruders by Michael Marshall British author Marshall began writing stylish SF novels as Michael Marshall Smith – winning the Philip K Dick Award for his debut Only Forward, which I’ve been meaning to re-read for years! After a few more, he dropped the ‘Smith’ and moved into the world of creepy thrillers winning plaudits Read More

Beatlebone

C'est fun, but c'est n'est pas Les Mis…

Illumination by Matthew Plampin Given the love for all things French and 19th century at the moment thanks to the film I still haven’t seen that is Les Misérables, it was a good time to read a revolutionary novel. Illumination is set later than Hugo’s masterpiece,  during the Siege of Paris of 1870-71 in the Franco-Prussian Read More

Injury Time

Dinner Parties – A Risky Business!

Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge Dinner parties… Love ’em, loathe ’em – but from the mid 1970s to perhaps as far as the late 1990s they were a symbol of the middle classes. The kitchen-sink drama moved into the Dining Room. Acceptance of your position in the hierarchy by giving dinner parties was soon replaced by Read More

I am Scrooge

Bah Humbug!

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas by Adam Roberts Given that Yellow Blue Tibia by Roberts was both the maddest and best SF book I read this year, I had high hopes of this zombie take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a bit of fun this festive season.  Would it live up to the fun I had Read More

Indemnity Only

Don’t call me Vicky! Meet V.I. Warshawski …

Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky. Meet V.I. Warshawski – friends get to call her Vic, never Vicky. Indemnity only is the first in a series of 13 novels featuring the sassy Chicagoan PI. One evening she meets a new client, a banker, who wants her to find his son’s missing girlfriend. Vic goes to the boy’s pad to Read More

davidcassidy

How can I be sure?

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson Rarely in recent times has a book called out to me as much as this one. You see, in common with the teenagers in this novel who are all fanatical David Cassidy fans, I was too. David was Godlike, with his shell necklaces, feathered hair, and whispery voice.  You Read More

shapton

An extraordinary look at two ordinary lives

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris: Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry by Leanne Shapton Shapton’s book deserves to win prizes for its concept which is totally unlike anything I’ve ever seen (or read) before.  It’s the story of a relationship from start to finish, but presented in the Read More

illusionist

Smoke and Mirrors?

The Illusionist by Jennifer Johnston Jennifer Johnston is Dublin-born, and won the Whitbread prize for her novel The Old Jest in 1979; The Illusionist was published in 1995.  It tells the story of Stella and Martyn who meet on a train, fall in love, get married, have a child, fall out of love, then Martyn Read More

Beatlebone

My Literary Hero

Paul Auster I finished reading his latest book Invisible a week or so ago. It is a great novel and displays many of his favourite tricks and his characteristic verve in the writing. I also re-read his first novel The New York Trilogy – a linked set of metafiction detective novellas, which I found as Read More

Beatlebone

A vivid dissection of middle-class life

In a Summmer Season by Elizabeth Taylor Many have told me that I should read the books of Elizabeth Taylor – an author I’d not heard of until the publication of Nicola Beauman’s recent biography The Other Elizabeth Taylor by the wonderful Persephone Books. Published in 1961, it follows one summer in the lives of a Read More

Beatlebone

This novel snaps, crackles and pops with electricity

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt This Orange prize short-listed novel has had some mixed reviews. To be honest, it’s a bit of a mixture itself, refusing to be easily genrified being: part fictionalised biography of mad physicist Nikola Tesla, part love story, part time-travel SF/fantasy, and part mainstream novel set in New Read More

Beatlebone

A Cinematic treat for readers of all ages…

The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick This book has a fascinating concept. It’s a chunkster of over 500 pages that can be read in just a couple of hours for over half the pages are pictures – black and white pencil drawings mostly. But it’s not a Read More

Beatlebone

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

I have my Secret Santa to thank for reading this book – it was unputdownable, a wonderful choice – thank you! The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman is a quirky, modern fairy tale taking its inspiration from the Brothers Grimm. A young girl wishes her mother dead, and then when it happens, she lets it Read More

Beatlebone

The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

This book is definitely one of those love it or loathe it novels. You’ll either love it – for the clever plotting and gradual reveal of what has happened to its family, or loathe it primarily because many chapters are written in eight year old Finn’s phonetic speaking voice, where things like changing an ‘a’ Read More