Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week

BBRW-2016-2

It’s here!  The second Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week. I hope that many of you will join in reading and posting reviews – please leave a link in the comments below. I will add all the links into a wrap-up post and add to my Reading Beryl page too later. If you’re not sure what to read, my Reading Beryl page has a synopsis of… Read more »

There’s a girl works down the chip shop swears she knows whodunnit…

v for violet

V for Violet by Alison Rattle This is Alison Rattle’s fourth YA novel, and it’s a bit of a departure, the other three having been set in the Victorian era. I read and reviewed her second, The Madness, for Shiny New Books (see here), and I enjoyed the doomed romance between classes which turns to obsession a lot. She’s moved… Read more »

‘My need is such, I pretend too much’…

Latecomer

The Latecomer by Dimitri Verhulst Dimitri Verhulst is Belgian and writes in Dutch. Some years ago, I read the first of his short novels to be translated by David Colmer, Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill, and I loved it (reviewed here). It had a perfect mixture of wit and pathos, and I’ve been meaning to read his other novels ever… Read more »

‘What’s in a name?’

lingua franca

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 he, to quote his website… Read more »

Beryl and Summer Reading Challenges

I need to get a wiggle on, as my friend Suzanne would say – for soon the return of Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week will be upon me. I still have plenty of Beryl’s novels to read but I also plan to re-read a couple that I read many years ago, alongside fitting as many as I can in of the others. I… Read more »

An evening with Vaseem Khan

Chopra 2

Last night I went to Mostly Books to hear Vaseem Khan talk about his two crime novels featuring Inspector Chopra which are set in Mumbai. I didn’t have time to read one of the books before the event, but any novel that begins: On the day that he was due to retire, Inspector Ashwin Chopra discovered that he had inherited an elephant…. Read more »

A Soviet Adventure with Dennis Wheatley

Wheatley 1a

The Forbidden Territory by Dennis Wheatley Earlier this year I reported on an afternoon spent at the Groucho Club arranged by literary agents PFD, hearing about the novels of Dennis Wheatley (and John Creasey).  I finally managed to make time to read a Wheatley … The Forbidden Territory was Wheatley’s first published novel in 1933. It was an instant bestseller and as the first in… Read more »

Pitch: The Time Bandits in Hawaii?

heilig

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig Nix Song lives on a tall ship with her father and small band of fiercely loyal crew, refugees from time. Captain Slate is able to ‘navigate’ the ship through time to any where, but only if he has a true and dated map – and each map only works once. He is searching… Read more »

My TBR Rainbow

Having lost a lot of posts and comments when I moved webhosts, I’m reblogging them, grouping together sometimes. Thus, seven of my TBR Rainbow posts have been combined and edited into just one below. This series originally ran between mid-March and the end of May. * * * * * This morning while sitting in bed reading (with cat, naturellement),… Read more »

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

Flintoff

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 I’ve pledged to which have… Read more »

Mavis Cheek Blog Tour

dog days

Dog Days by Mavis Cheek Today I’m delighted to be a stop on Mavis Cheek‘s blog tour celebrating the new Ipso Books e-book editions of some of her backlist titles, of which her 1990 novel Dog Days is the latest (my review below). It has been some years since I’ve read any of Mavis’s novels, but I do remember chuckling my way through Mrs. Fytton’s Country Life (2000) and Getting Back Brahms (1997). Three… Read more »

Too cryogenically cool to love outright

zero k

Zero K by Don DeLillo I’m not entirely new to reading Don DeLillo. I like the idea of reading DeLillo and I have read the first quarter of his 1971 debut, Americana, for my Annabel’s Shelves project. I was really enjoying it; it started well – we were introduced to top TV executive David Bell – who, if he’d been an ad-man, would have been Mad… Read more »

One Man and His Dog

spill simmer

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume This novel, by Anglo-Irish author, Sara Baume, published last year and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, was our book group read this month. It’s fair to say that it was selected more by default than design – we’d all come to book group a little jaded with nothing in mind to suggest and… Read more »

Coming of age in Hollywood

Way of life

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 to read it by Jacquiwine.  Guy Savage and Max… Read more »

French, comic and dark – it’s a Pascal Garnier story…

Garnier edge

Too Close to the Edge by Pascal Garnier Translated by Emily Boyce The dark short novels of Pascal Garnier have been a revelation for me (find out more here) so, the moment I got my hands on the latest to be translated by French to English specialists Gallic books, I just had to read it. He is often described as Simenon’s… Read more »

More from the pre-blog archives…

Firmin

Back to book reviews soon, but for the bank holiday I decided to revisit some more of the capsule reviews I wrote for myself in my mega-spreadsheet which I started pre-blog and still keep going. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart Feb 2008: The story of Merlin’s youth up to the birth of Arthur. I read this many years ago as… Read more »

Science vs Magic in a Dystopian World

all the birds

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders The minute I read the tag-line on the press release for this book, I knew I had to read it: ‘A witch, a scientist and the end of the world’. This novel tries to do something that is not often seen in genre fiction – melding fantasy and urban SF in a dystopian… Read more »

Three shorter reviews

look at me

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 him keep coming to work… Read more »

My gut obsession continues – more food for thought

diet myth

The Diet Myth by Tim Spector The first book I reviewed this year (Gut by Giulia Enders – review here) was a revelation to me. It created a new obsession – to improve my digestion and gut flora by eating better and hopefully losing some weight along the way. But learning about the anatomy and physiology of the gut from Gut was only half of the… Read more »