Ship

A waterworld

This post has been edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. The Ship by Antonia Honeywell I’m on a watery/eco-thriller/dystopian reading binge at the moment, set off by picking up this novel – I couldn’t resist the colourful cover with its silhouette of a broken London landscape and a nod Read More

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When the third part of a trilogy falls a little flat …

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive Something Nasty in the Woodshed by Kyril Bonfiglioli You may remember my enthusiasm for the reprints of the first two wickedly funny and totally non-PC Charlie Mortdecai books by Kyril Bonfiglioli last year; if you don’t, see my write-ups: Read More

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Scandi-crime time…

Spring Tide by Cilla & Rolf Börjlind On Thursday 23rd April, it is World Book Night. Once again, I applied to be a ‘giver’. I picked a book from the list, and wrote my case for being awarded a batch of copies to give out. I was delighted to be accepted and even more pleased to get Read More

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Three Slightly Shorter Reviews

I’ve got a series of posts lined up for the week in between Christmas and New Year with my hits, misses, finds and stats, so it’s time to catch up with my review pile backlog and some shorter reviews… The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield For anyone who loved the TV series Six Feet Under, Read More

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A post Cold-War spy drama

A Spy’s Life by Henry Porter Many moons ago I read Henry Porter’s first novel Rememberance Day (2000) which was a fast-moving spy thriller and I enjoyed it very much indeed. Finally, years later, I’ve read his second – another standalone spy-thriller about an ex-spy who finds out that you can never truly leave your former Read More

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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

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Romance in a Paris Cinema – a feelgood recipe for success?

The Secret Paris Cinema Club by Nicholas Barreau Although I rarely read full-on romance novels, I couldn’t resist this one. It has all the feelgood ingredients one could ask for – an old cinema, a beautiful woman in a red coat, a classic boy meets girl/loses girl/finds girl (one hopes) romance – and it is Read More

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Book Group Report – Jean Teulé

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé Our book group read for July into August was actually a re-read for me. We’d wanted something quick and light as due to our schedules we only had three weeks between meetings instead of our usual four or five. I had read Teulé’s 2007 novel, published in English translation Read More

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Echoes of Le Carré with a sense of humour …

Slow Horses by Mick Herron The other night I was meant to be going to my local bookshop Mostly Books for an event with Mick Herron, winner of the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger for his novel Dead Lions. Instead I ended up in MIU with my daughter who managed to break the fifth metatarsal in her left foot when she Read More

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“Marvellous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World”

Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik What would we do without man-made materials?  We can’t live without them these days. Mark Miodownik, whom some of you may recognise from his regular TV appearances on Dara O’Briain’s Science Club on BBC2, wants to tells us all about the things our man-made world is shaped from. Mark, like me Read More

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Where is your North?

Soonchild by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Alexis Deacon This was the last book that Russell Hoban finished before his death in 2011. It was published posthumously by Walker Books as an illustrated short novel for a teen audience, and it is dedicated to Hoban’s grandchildren who are probably the perfect age to read this modern folktale Read More

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My first encounter with Richard Brautigan …

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. It was last summer when Karen at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings was participating in the Beats of Summer fortnight of reading from the Beat Generation, that I resolved to read a book by Richard Brautigan. As I am not a fan of On the Road or The Naked Lunch (bored Read More

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My first encounter with Richard Brautigan …

It was last summer when Karen at Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings was participating in the Beats of Summer fortnight of reading from the Beat Generation, that I resolved to read a book by Richard Brautigan. As I am not a fan of On the Road or The Naked Lunch (bored by the former, weirded out by Read More

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Mr Sandman, bring me a dream …

The Sandman by ETA Hoffmann, translated by Christopher Moncrieff I’m slightly familiar with the 19th century author E.T.A. Hoffmann through adaptations of his on the stage: the ballets Coppélia by Delibes, and Christmas evergreen The Nutcracker, also Offenbach’s opéra fanastique, The Tales of Hoffmann – but I’ve never read any of the source stories before. Alma Read More

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Being John Malkovich meets The Matrix

Stray by Monica Hesse Lona Sixteen Always doesn’t have her own life. She spends twenty-three hours a day living the life of someone else. That someone is Julian, a psychologically suitable boy that grew up fifty years ago having all his memories and experiences recorded for Lona and the others on the ‘Path’ to relive Read More

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‘A Duty-Dance with Death’ – ‘So it goes’

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut This was our book group’s choice for discussion in November. Whilst it’s fair to say that whilst nobody loved it, and some didn’t get on with it at all, it did provoke some good discussion. I quite enjoyed it, and would certainly read more by Vonnegut. My only previous experience with Read More

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How to add to your wishlists with Nick Hornby…

This post was combined and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Complete Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby One of the easiest ways of adding lots of books to your wishlists, (apart from the recommendations of other bloggers of course), is to read a book about books.  Even better if said book Read More

Dark Tower 6

Stephen King’s Dark Tower #6

The Dark Tower Book 6: Song of Susannah by Stephen King King’s magnum opus is not a series that you can jump into midway through, so if you’ve not read it, I suggest you start at the beginning. See my series of posts: Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4 and Vol 5 and find your starting point, don’t read on. Read More

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Telling it from the monster’s side …

Sad Monsters: Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Insideby Frank Lesser. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having a chuckle dipping into this book of humorous short pieces, which are written from monsters’ points of view. Almost any monster you can think of puts in an appearance – let me give you a Read More

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A novel of love, war, betrayal and stiff upper lip

Some Day I’ll Find You by Richard Madeley Richard Madeley slightly surprised everyone in 2008 when he published his successful memoir Fathers and Sons which explored male familial relationships through the mirror of his own. Despite journalistic roots, it was somewhat unexpected that one of the most successful daytime TV hosts and champion of the Richard Read More

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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

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Love in a toun of gangsters

Stonemouth by Iain Banks Clarity. That would have been good. Instead, a cold clinging mist. Not even mist; just a chill haze, drifting up the estuary. I’m standing fifty metres above the Firth of Stoun, in the middle of the road bridge, at the summit of the long, shallow trajectory it describes above the waters. Read More

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Re-reading one of my favourite books…

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx I’ve now finished my re-read of Annie Proulx’s novel The Shipping News, that I told you about a few days ago here. When I finished the book the first time, so sure was I that I’d be re-reading, and hopefully re-loving, it that I bought myself a luxury numbered Read More

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Crime always soars in a heatwave …

The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill translated from the Spanish by Laura McGloughlin Inspector Héctor Salgado is a hot-blooded Argentine working in Barcelona. As the book opens, he has recently returned from enforced leave after he beat up a suspect in a Voodoo/paedophile trafficking ring. Investigation 1231-R Salgado Resolution Pending Three short lines Read More

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Love the one you’re with – the Bainbridge version

Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge I was thinking of an apt title for this post and was planning on calling it ‘The man who loved women‘ after the celebrated François Truffaut film, but then I remembered the Stephen Stills song ‘Love the one you’re with‘. It seemed to encapsulate Bainbridge’s 1975 novel in a nutshell. (More Read More

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Through the keyhole …

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About Youby Sam Gosling I defy any browsing bibliomane not to pick this book up on seeing the arrangements of books and comfy armchair through the keyhole on its cover! I’m sure that you, like me, sniff out the bookcases as soon as you go in someone’s house. If they Read More

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Book v Movie: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I went to see the film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen this afternoon based on the brilliant 2006 book by Paul Torday. I read the book last year and loved it, (review here), so I was crossing my fingers that Read More