McBain Berthon Ishiguro

Review Catch-Up – McBain, Berthon, Ishiguro

Driving Lessons by Ed McBain McBain is most famous for his many 57th Precinct novels, but he has written many other books too. This slim book from 1999 was part of a series of novellas from Orion called Criminal Records. Some were published separately, the others anthologised in one volume edited by Otto Penzler. A Read More

Adebayo Mannix

Wellcome Book Prize #3 & #4: Adébáyọ̀ & Mannix

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ Adébáyọ̀’s novel is the one fiction selection on this year’s Wellcome Prize shortlist. Although it has much to say about the patriarchal society of Nigeria in the 1980s, it surprised me with how much it does meet the prize criteria of a book that celebrates, ” the many ways Read More

Why Stuff Matters

Back in the Panhandle…

  Why Stuff Matters by Jen Waldo I loved Jen Waldo’s first novel, Old Buildings in North Texas which I reviewed for Shiny New Books here (with a Q&A with Jen here).  In it, Olivia, a wise-cracking cocaine addict, is sent back home to Caprock in the Texas panhandle, under her mother’s control as rehab.  Read More

white-tears-260x400

Meanwhile at Shiny…

White Tears by Hari Kunzru I loved Kunzru’s last novel Gods Without Men (reviewed here), so I was really keen to read his latest. White Tears is the story of two young white men who discover and appropriate an old blues song, which drives them to the edge. It’s very thought-provoking and made me examine Read More

20-books

20 Books of Summer: Books 2 & 3 – experimental

Because I have such a backlog of books to write about, I’ll combine books 2 & 3 of my pile of 20 Books of Summer (see the full list here) into one post… Ablutions by Patrick de Witt Canadian, Patrick de Witt is the author of one of my favourite novels – The Sisters Brothers Read More

Dalloway

A novel life in a day…

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf I’ve been meaning to read Mrs Dalloway for years and years. It’s one of those novels that has influenced so many others that I feel I should read it. However, I will admit I find the idea of Woolf challenging, (only having previous toyed with Orlando).  What made me finally Read More

Wake up happy hbk

‘It’s not about the money, money, money’ – Oh yes it is!

Wake up Happy Every Day by Stephen May Last year, when I hosted my second Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week, Stephen May wrote a lovely guest post for my blog about the time he met BB and ended up giving her a piggyback!  (Do click HERE to read it.) It was immediately obvious that May is great Read More

White Hare

A new imprint from Head of Zeus and a lovely launch title for it…

The White Hare by Michael Fishwick Head of Zeus, not content with launching their Apollo imprint for reprints last year, have now launched another. Zephyr will be for children’s books and I’m delighted to be the penultimate stop on the blog tour for its launch title, The White Hare, a novel for 12+ by Michael Fishwick. It’s Read More

Wall

Three Short Takes

The Wall by William Sutcliffe Although published as a YA title, and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2014, this novel has crossover appeal – and should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand more about Palestine, Israel and the West Bank settlements. Thirteen-year-old Joshua lives in a town called Amarias in the ‘Occupied Read More

set-phasers

Two shorter non-fic reviews

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately – including some absolute crackers that deserve a whole post to themselves – and I don’t mind saving them to write about for the new year. Meanwhile, today I have two shorter non-fic reviews for you… Set Phasers to Stun by Marcus Berkmann If you’ve read this 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

cabin-10

The first of two top notch psychothrillers…

After my disappointment last week reading The Girl on the Train (see here), I persevered to seek out a psychological thriller that I did like – and cor blimey – two came along at once, here’s my review of the first … The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware Ruth Ware’s second novel takes the classic Read More

winter garden

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge (1980) Douglas Ashburner is going on holiday. He was surprised that his wife of twenty-six years was happy for him to disappear off to the Highlands for a fortnight’s fishing trip. Leaving her in bed, she waves him goodbye with a ‘queenly gesture of farewell’. Little does she know. His Read More

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Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week: An Early Novel I

A Weekend With Claude by Beryl Bainbridge This was Beryl’s second novel, but the first to be published in 1967. Her first, Harriet Said, was finally published in 1972. When A Weekend with Claude came out, Beryl was 24, however she radically revised and rewrote it in 1981. It has a dual time-frame with a framing Read More

Flintoff

The story of a novel and how I got a quote inside it…

What If the Queen Should Die? by John-Paul Flintoff Today, my special subscriber’s copy of another Unbound book arrived. Unbound are a crowd-funding publisher – read my interview with them for Shiny New Books here to find out more. Once you’ve pledged to one book, it’s very tempting to pledge to another… and another. This is the fourth Read More

Way of life

Coming of age in Hollywood

A Way of Life, Like Any Other by Darcy O’Brien Many book bloggers are fans of the NYRB Classics, and I think I first heard about this short novel from Thomas a tHogglestock and promptly acquired a copy which has sat on my shelves for a while – until encouraged by comments on my yellow TBR pile post Read More

casares ocampo

Too clever for it’s own good?

Where there’s love, there’s hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo Translated by Suzanne Jill Levine and Kessica Ernst Powell Reviews earlier this year by Jacqui and Kaggsy alerted me to this story, and I picked up a copy from the novella table at Waterstones, Piccadilly on one of my trips to London. This little mystery was the Read More

Wallach Ness

Two shorter YA reviews

Republished back into my blog’s timeline from my ‘lost post archive’. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach The world is going to end in ten chapters (weeks?) time when an asteroid called Ardor will crash into the Earth. If you’re a teenager, what are you going to do? There may be no future, so Read More

Wake up sir

A modern take on Jeeves & Wooster

This post was edited and republished back into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Wake up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames Jonathan Ames is apparently a bit of a cult author in the USA – as novelist, essayist, columnist, storyteller and creator of a sitcom for HBO called Bored to Death. I’d not Read More

Why we broke up

It’s a break-up novel…

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler Daniel Handler, best-known as the author of the Lemony Snicket series of books for children has also written several novels for adults; I reviewed one of them – Adverbs – here. Like Lemony Snicket, Adverbs was quirky and full of off-beat humour. Why We Broke Up is a little Read More

sundial

Shirley Jackson Reading Week 2015

  This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. It’s Shirley Jackson Reading Week – hosted by Simon, Jenny and Ana. I had been planning just to scan the posts as my pile of books I must read (e.g. Anthony Powell) is rather large, but what hey! Why not read a book too? It’s not Read More

flowershbpick

The Return of Clara Vine

A War of Flowers by Jane Thynne I am a big fan of the wartime adventures of Anglo-German actress and British spy Clara Vine’s first two outings in Black Roses and The Winter Garden, so I was delighted to get stuck into the third volume of Jane Thynne’s series to see what happened next to Clara. In the Read More

Concrete Island

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

Concrete Island

The boy, the stolen painting and the Russian…

Just occasionally, I believe I can read minds – well in a Derren Brownish way – you see by my title of this post, I hope to have manipulated you into thinking you were getting a(nother) post on The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; some of you will be thinking but Annabel’s already reviewed that, hasn’t Read More

Concrete Island

A Walk Among the Tombstones: Book v Film

The recently released movie A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson is based upon the 10th in the series of Matt Scudder books by Lawrence Block. I’ve read the first twelve – and have enjoyed them all, with a few more still to read one of these days. I read this back in 2006, and Read More

winter-garden-hb-jacket

Back to Pre-WWII Berlin…

The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne Last year, I was thrilled to read Jane Thynne’s novel Black Roses, actress/spy Clara Vine’s first outing in 1930s Berlin, in which she became accepted in the high social circles of the First Reich’s wives. This was the story of how Clara came to Berlin to act in the Read More

WB Gomrath

Rediscovering Alderley Edge’s Old Magic

This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen & The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner After going to see a lecture given by Alan Garner, reported here, I naturally wanted to read more by him, and especially to (re)read the Weirdstone Trilogy. In Read More

We

The book that inspired 1984 and Brave New Worl

This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin Translated by Clarence Brown So, I finally read the book that inspired Orwell’s1984 (my brief write-up here).  Many other dystopian novels have similarities, including Huxley’s Brave New World (my review here) although Huxley said he was actually inspired by HG Wells, Read More

Concrete Island

'Finishing' in 1930s Munich

Winter Games by Rachel Johnson Upon receiving Rachel Johnson’s latest novel, a  tale of toffs being ‘finished’ in pre-war Germany, I dove in straight away and devoured it. The cover refreshingly has a headed young woman with her face showing on, which makes a nice change to the usual headless or back views we’re subjected Read More