Lobster

Not just any old day at work…

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan I read one of Stewart O’Nan’s early novels, The Speed Queen, when it came out in paperback in the late 1990s. I remember enjoying it, but I didn’t come across him again until I picked this novel up somewhere – I’m going to have to read more Read More

SHORT STORIES TWITTER2

PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year shortlist – Julianne Pachico

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico I’m finally finding my feet with short stories after decades of not really getting them; collections like The Lucky Ones are responsible for this change of heart, for the stories within these covers are stunningly good. Pachico was born in Cambridge, but grew up in Colombia, and that is Read More

SHORT STORIES TWITTER5

PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year shortlist – Sara Taylor

The Lauras by Sara Taylor I do love a road-trip novel, as long as it’s not On the Road, which I dutifully read and yawned through in my twenties. I feel like I’ve read a lot of American road-trip novels – but it appears the majority were pre-blog including Lolita, Fear and Loathing in Las Read More

Lie of the Land

Amanda Craig at Shiny…

The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig I’ve long been a fan of Amanda Craig, always loving her book reviews in the Times/Sunday Times and then her novels – I still have a couple to catch up on on my shelves which will be a pleasure. Meanwhile I recently read and reviewed her latest, Read More

Novels about Learning to Drive

Two books about Learning to Drive…

While reading the first of this pair, I was perusing my shelves and found another book that was nominally about starting late in ‘learning to drive’ so the obvious thing was to read both and review them together. These books were especially appropriate to my own situation – I didn’t take my car driving test Read More

Garcia Girls

Catching up – Jan and Feb Book Group reviews

I thought it was time I started reviewing the books I’ve read this year, so today I’m catching up with our book group reads discussed in Jan and Feb. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis This was the first book I read this year, managing to squeeze it in just before we met a few days into January. Read More

lying-in-wait

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

Last Pearl Fisher

Emotions run deep in these pearl rivers…

The Last Pearl Fisher in Scotland by Julia Stuart I have really fond memories of reading Julia Stuart’s earlier novel – Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo (reviewed here), which was gentle and touching with some delightful comedic interludes. Its portrayal of a couple being driven apart by grief over their dead son was Read More

long way to a small angry planet

Great Characters, Great Adventure, Great Space!

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers This SF novel has been one of the great discoveries of recent years – a self-published kickstarter debut that was picked up by a big publisher and then longlisted for the Baileys Prize earlier this year. The book is now shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Read More

lingua franca

‘What’s in a name?’

Lingua Franca by William Thacker William Thacker? That name sounds familiar… a little digging and he was revealed as Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill. Whether William Thacker, author likes sharing his name with the film character, I’ll probably never know … but this William Thacker is a name to watch out for, especially as Read More

look at me

Three shorter reviews

Trading Futures by Jim Powell Matthew Oxenhay is having an existential crisis. He set his hippy ideals behind him long ago, swapping them for a career in the city, wife, kids, nice house in a nice London suburb. Then it was his 60th birthday, and shortly afterwards he lost his job, but his boss let Read More

last act of love

Learning to let go …

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink Shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize (read more about that here), Cathy Rentzenbrink’s book about her and her brother is the kind of memoir that hits you with a wallop. Once started, it won’t let go – I read it in one sitting, going from shock to being Read More

SNB logo medium

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

lumberjanes 1

This year I’m going to read more graphic novels and started with these…

Lumberjanes I & II by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis, co-created by Sharon Watters and illustrated by Brooke Allen Vol I – Beware the Kitten Holy There was a lot of talk in 2015 about the Lumberjanes – espcially since the comics have been collected into softbacks for our delectation.  Two volumes are currently available comprising 4 Read More

lifechanging

I dared to read the book…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo A few days ago, I posed the question Dare I read this book? Do read the earlier post for an introduction to this best-selling self-help book by the new young Japanese queen of decluttering. Well, your comments certainly emboldened me and I put the TBR Dare to one side Read More

lifechanging

Dare I read this book?

There are few things guaranteed to put fear into a book- lover’s life than the idea of getting rid of some books, and other stuff of course.  My mind is starting to turn to the idea of downsizing – at some undecided point in the future – not now, but my house is so full of ‘stuff’ Read More

look to the lady

My introduction to Margery Allingham

Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham You may recall that last November I went down to London for an afternoon hosted by literary agents PFD to celebrate the authors Margery Allingham and Eric Ambler (see here).  Barry Pike, the chairman of the Margery Allingham Society recommended Look to the Lady as the best place to start with her Albert Read More

three-bedrooms

A double dose of Simenon including his most autobiographical roman dur…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon Last month I had the opportunity to meet John Simenon, Georges’s son at an event celebrating the prolific Belgian author and his work. Apart from all the Maigret novels, Simenon was famed for his romans durs (hard Read More

plague-times-1

A case of the ‘sweats’ …

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. 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 Read More

plague-times-1

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

long firm

Annabel’s Shelves: A is for…

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Arnott, Jake – The Long Firm Thank you to everyone who suggested authors beginning with ‘A’ for the first read of my Annabel’s Shelves project. Atwood was a very popular suggestion, and I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have Read More

list of my desires

A French charmer

The List of My Desires by Grégoire Delacourt Translated by Anthea Bell As can be seen from my annual stats review (here if you like that kind of thing!), the country I visited the most to read in translation from last year was France. I suspect that’s going to continue this year too, for I have Read More

Concrete Island

"I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me"

Love & Fallout by Kathryn Simmonds Tessa is one of those middle-aged women that do causes. She co-runs a (failing) green charity running workshops for schools and colleges and she’s always got a local campaign on the go – this time saving the playing field from development. She doesn’t take much time for herself (or Read More

Concrete Island

5 Characters in Search of a Theme Song

Love, Love Me Do by Mark Haysom Looking at the title and cover of this book, I was expecting something light-hearted, a little bit sixties rock’n’roll, a bit Nick Hornby-ish if you will – and involving a caravan. Well the last bit was right, less so the others. The title, that of the Beatles’ first Read More

Concrete Island

I get inside the Groucho Club (briefly)!

Just under a month ago, I blogged about the crowd-funding publisher Unbound and how much I was enjoying pledging my pennies towards getting books published – being a ‘Book Angel’ definitely appeals to me.  (Incidentally, I’ve just done Spotlight on Publishing article with Unbound which will be in the new edition of Shiny New Books Read More

LoTF

From Paradise to Hell …

This post was edited and republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive.   Lord of the Flies by William Golding Conceived, so I’ve read, as a response to the Utopian and rose-tinted worlds of Swallows and Amazons, and in particular, Ballantyne’s Coral Island, Golding’s Lord of the Flies, published in Read More

Lucky Bunny

Doing what comes naturally …

This post was edited and republished into its original place in my blog timeline from my lost posts archive. Lucky Bunny by Jill Dawson Jill Dawson is one of those authors who appears to write a different book every time, although when you look underneath, there are links.  The Great Lover tells the story of poet Read More

LIttle Stranger

Book Group Report – The Little Stranger

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s timeline in its original place from my lost posts archives. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters This made a great choice for a book group (as long as you have the time to read it’s 500+ pages), because we all had differing ideas on the mystery Read More

Last dragonslayer

Fforde does YA and it’s Ffabulous Ffun!

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde Jasper Fforde has written a new book, and if it wasn’t for heroine being two weeks short of sixteen, no swearing, and no overt classic literary references, you’d be hard pushed to know that it was for young adults.  I expect that many grown-ups will read it anyway and some Read More

living-dead-2

Sookie Stackhouse #2

Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris Living Dead in Dallas is the second in the hugely successful Sookie Stackhouse series of vampire novels by Charlaine Harris. If by any chance you’ve not encountered them before, either as books or in their TV incarnation True Blood, I suggest you start here with the first. In this second novel, Sookie is Read More