Snow Crash

A spec fiction novel that was almost too much!

  Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson Imagine, if you can, a world where the worst thing that can happen to ordinary folk is your pizza not arriving within thirty minutes of placing the order. That is such a bad thing, that the head of the Mafia, Uncle Enzo, who runs the Cosa Nostra Pizza business Read More

bedlam stacks

Shiny Linkiness

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley I reviewed Pulley’s first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (reviewed here) for Shiny a couple of years ago, and recently reviewed her second The Bedlam Stacks there too. I loved both books, but after the delight that was Watchmaker,  Stacks goes even further in developing the relationship between Read More

Keyes & Pope

Aug/Sept Book Group Report: SF & Naval books

Our book group didn’t meet in August as nearly everyone was on hols, so last night we had two books to discuss. The way we pick our books is to  chose a theme two months ahead, then research and next month  present our suggestions, of which one gets picked eventually. SF: Flowers for Algernon by Read More

When Eight Bells Toll

For the love of good old-fashioned adventure…

Here’s the thing. Now we’re through the beginnings of the computer age, and are in the global communications age – don’t you think that (most) modern thrillers have got too technological? And with those technological advances, plots become bogged down with it all, there’s so much telling about the technology necessary to explain what’s happening Read More

blade-bone

YA adventure in Revolutionary France

Blade and Bone by Catherine Johnson This book was published to coincide with October’s Black History Month, so I fear my review is a little late, however, better late than never and this was a YA book well worth reading. Blade and Bone is the sequel to Sawbones which is where we would have first met 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

Wheatley 1a

A Soviet Adventure with Dennis Wheatley

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 Read More

half lost

A great end to a fantastic YA trilogy

Half Lost by Sally Green I’ve loved all three volumes of Sally Green’s Half Bad Trilogy. In the first, Half Bad, we were introduced to the young Nathan Byrn, son of a white witch mother and the most powerful of the black witches as his father. England is controlled by the Council of (white) Witches, and Nathan Read More

2016-02-20 Creasey Wheatley Salon (1024x576)

Celebrating John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley

Yesterday I went to another of literary agency PFD’s salons at the Groucho Club, this time to celebrate the books and lives of John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley.  Authors who were read by everyone at their peaks, hugely influential with totally different lives and styles – yet as we discovered, they have a lovely connection… Read More

Night manager new obk

Can’t wait for this TV adaptation, but had to read the book first…

The Night Manager by John Le Carré I can’t be the only person who is eagerly anticipating the BBC’s adaptation of Le Carré’s 1993 novel The Night Manager this weekend.  Hiddleston and Laurie feel like perfect casting, and I’d watch anything with Olivia Colman in. Interestingly, Colman’s character is male in the book, but Le Read More

revenant

Exit, pursued by a bear – a winter’s tale…

The Revenant by Michael Punke You thought you were getting Shakey didn’t you? But those words so fit this novel which the much-lauded movie starring Leo was based on too! I’ve not seen the film of The Revenant and don’t want to.  I’m not attracted to watching two and a half hours of Rocky Mountain winters full of gore, 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

Throw Away Unopened

Classic Children's Literature Month

The blog Simpler Pastimes is hosting a month-long Classic Children’s Literature Event. Given that I’m only reading from my TBR piles and have plenty of children’s classics, it was ideal to join in with. But which one should I read? Should I revisit a much-loved tale that I loved as a child?  Or one that Read More

half bad

Half bad? Not at all … it’s all good!

Half Bad by Sally Green This is the latest teen crossover fantasy hit that everyone’s reading, The Hunger Games is so last year dahling! At first I was resistant, but when it was picked for our book group choice, I grasped the mettle and am really glad I did read it. If you read the blurb which Read More

Throw Away Unopened

John Buchan meets Umberto Eco via Dan Brown

The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb, translated by Len Rix OK – so I put Dan Brown into the title of this post to grab your attention! While I totally agree with the rest of the world that the Da Vinci Code is not great literature, there is no denying that however silly the whole Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Mix Douglas Adams with Jewish Mysticism, Marco Polo, a dash of the X-Men and time travel for weird fun!

A Highly Unlikely Scenario : Or, a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World by Rachel Cantor If I said that a wacky speculative fiction novel about a 21st century world governed by the philosophies adopted by fast food chains was actually great fun to read, you might begin to doubt my sanity.  I Read More

Throw Away Unopened

A charming adventure inside fairy tales …

Most of you will know Ian Beck’s work without even realising it. He is an illustrator of renown and amongst many other things designed the cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John. In the early 1980s, he started to write and illustrate picture books for young children, and later moved into writing children’s novels. 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

Throw Away Unopened

Gothic with a twist

Isabel’s Skin by Peter Benson Peter Benson is one of those underrated British authors that never write the same book twice. Each novel is different. I’ve only read one of his before: that was Odo’s Hanging about the commissioning of the Bayeux Tapestry published in the mid 1990s. Lately he’s been best known for Two Cows and Read More

Throw Away Unopened

The Glass Books Trilogy – an awfully fun adventure!

The Glass Books Trilogy by G W Dahlquist Bantam in the USA, reputedly paid début novelist Dahlquist an advance of $2,000,000 for the first two installments in this series. Although the first was well received, apparently they lost shedloads of money on the deal. Penguin, the books’ publisher in the UK, also published the first volume with a Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Australian Literature Month – Just about made it!

This January has been Australian Literature Month, hosted by Kim at Reading Matters, and the interweb has been alive with Aussie Lit. Before I give my thoughts on the book I read for the month, I’d like to recall my very first experience of Australian books… It was the early 1970s I think, and my Read More

Throw Away Unopened

The return of everyone’s flying car

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce When Mr Tooting is made redundant, he decides he needs a project and, with son Jem’s help, they rebuild an ancient old camper van. Then the plan is to go globe-trotting in it. It needs new vintage sparkplugs though despite all their travails. Off they Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Bookgroup Report – Always look on the bright side of life

Candide by Voltaire This short novel is another one of those influential classic books that I had always planned to read. I’d bought a copy in preparation, and ten years later it was still sitting on the shelf. I was really pleased that we chose it at book group, and I’m mighty glad to have Read More

charlie-higson-14-sept-2011-002

Gaskella meets … Charlie Higson

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive Gaskella meets … Charlie Higson This afternoon it was my delight to accompany a party of boys from my school over to the Abingdon school theatre to hear author, actor and comedian Charlie Higson talk about his zombie horror series of books Read More

Throw Away Unopened

The name’s Bond, James Bond.

The Young Bond novels by Charlie Higson Today, there’s a mega author event at Abingdon School’s Amey Theatre for over 600 local children – Charlie Higson, the author, actor and comedian (cough) is coming to talk to them, coinciding with the third installment of his zombie horror series, but more of that in another post… Read More

Dead Mans Cove

Tracey Beaker meets the Famous Five

Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John Lauren St John is the author is a series of books for older children set in Africa. The White Giraffe and its sequels are heartwarming and well-loved, although I admit we’ve not read any of them (sadly, my daughter is not a fan of what she considers ‘animal tales’).  However her Read More

Hugo Pepper

A delightfully quirky children’s adventure

The problem with getting into your forties and beyond is that you inevitably need reading glasses.  I managed to lose mine for a whole day this weekend, but luckily I found them this morning – phew!  So yesterday I had to read with my old glasses (which are now perfect for computer work, but no Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Book Two of the Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second. Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Another modern classic novel for older children

The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban This Pinnochio-esque tale for older children written in 1967 of a clockwork Daddy mouse and his child is a modern children’s classic. Deservedly so, it features a road trip for the discarded and broken wind-up mice full of adventure, peril and featuring a nasty rat-baddy, also much Read More