All the good things

Blog Tour – All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

Today, it is my turn on the blog tour for Clare Fisher’s strong debut novel – see the banner at the bottom for all the other ports of call. Fisher’s debut is an interesting take  on a  story we’ve all heard before in which a vulnerable young woman,  who has been bounced from foster home Read More

name of the family

Meanwhile at Shiny…

…I’ve had several reviews published recently. In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant Sarah Dunant’s latest novel chronicles the last year of Pope Alexander VI’s life. He was, of course, head of the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. His mad and vicious soldier son Cesare, and daughter about to be thrice-married Lucrezia complete Read More

keeper-lost-things

A debut with a great concept…

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan Laura, reeling from the break-up of her marriage to Vince, goes to work as an assistant to ageing short story author or renown, Anthony Peardew. “When he had interviewed her all those years ago, he had been a tall, muscular man with a full head of dark Read More

commitments

More short takes

In an effort to clear my TBReviewed pile, here are two more shorter reviews: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle (re-read) This was our book group choice for last month – when we picked from a shortlist with a ‘Music’ theme. It was a re-read for me, and gosh this story of Jimmy Rabbitte and his Read More

all the birds

Science vs Magic in a Dystopian World

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 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

only ever yours

An Atwoodian YA tale…

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill It’s rare that a cover quote on a book cover sums up a novel so completely, but the one from Vagenda on one of the paperback editions of Louise O’Neill’s debut novel is near-perfect: ‘Mean Girls meets The Handmaid’s Tale’ But of course I can’t leave it there! The moment I Read More

how you see me

A novel of one-sided letters…

How You See Me by S.E. Craythorne This is the last of my reviews of books I finished reading in 2015; I thought I’d better get a few thoughts down before the memory of reading it fades too much. As Susan said in a recent post, ‘I have a weakness for debuts’ – you never know Read More

austenland

"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

austenland

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

austenland

Safe inside the wall?

The First Book of Calamity Leekby Paula Lichtarowicz This interesting debut novel is one of those that defy easy pigeonholing. A group of girls with strange names live in a walled community looked after by Aunty with occasional visits from Mother. They spend their days cultivating roses and vegetables, looking after pigs, and sewing cushions. Read More

austenland

Minimalism ain't all it's cracked up to be …

Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles This debut novel, published last year, was one of those books I was instantly desperate to read, but somehow couldn’t fit in at the time. The title promised quirkiness and humour, two qualities I adore in a novel. I’m glad I finally read it, for I enjoyed it a Read More

harriet said

Two Naughty Schoolgirls…

Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge Harriet Said was Beryl’s first  work written in the late 1950s.  However it ended up as her third published novel, as its darkness struggled to find a publisher initially.  It is the story of two teenaged schoolgirls and what they got up to one summer holiday… The two girls are an Read More

austenland

A tale of two families at war with themselves

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan There is a much used quote of Leo Tolstoy’s from Anna Karenina: -“All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This is particularly true to the two chronicled in this novel. Firstly we meet Meridia. Her mother Ravenna had nearly died Read More

austenland

This is not a Whodunnit, but a Whydunnit!

Rupture by Simon Lelic This is not a normal whodunnit crime novel, it’s a ‘whydunnit’. We know from the start that a mild-mannered school teacher shot and killed three pupils and a teacher before turning his gun on himself. It’s D.I. Lucia May’s case and although it appears to be an open and shut case, Read More

austenland

An truly original modern fairy tale

The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw This novel is that rare thing – a thoroughly grown-up modern fairy tale that works. It’s also a beautifully designed book with an evocative cover and silver page edging. It is set in a remote cluster of islands around an archipelago called St Hauda’s land which feels Read More

austenland

A novel of archaeology, food, pandemics and ghosts

Cold Earth by Sarah Moss This novel, published by Granta, is lovely to behold. What you can’t see are the beautiful turquoise blue page edges, and the glossy white fibrils of grassy roots insinuating their way through the bones of the skeleton curled up underneath the title. Luckily I enjoyed reading the book as much Read More

austenland

Art for art’s sake?

The Bellini Madonna by Elizabeth Lowry There have been many novels about the search for missing art masterpieces, but few so convoluted as this. It’s written totally in the first person as a confession by Thomas Lynch, a randy old professor of art history who is an expert on the renaissance masters, Bellini in particular. Read More