The 1944 Club and a wartime classic

1944 is the latest year selected by Simon and Karen in their biannual reading years club.  When I looked at my shelves, I didn’t have much choice from this year – Colette’s Gigi, which as a short novella I’ll try and squeeze in, and my choice below were the only ones immediately to hand (although I think Read More

Two in short: Tremain and Laurain

Because the authors’ names rhyme, and I haven’t got a huge amount to say about these novels, despite enjoying them both a lot, here’s a twofer for you: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain This was our book group read, discussed back at the start of the month. It was mostly a hit with our Read More

Très charmant! J’ai adoré ce roman

With You in Paris by Clémentine Beauvais Translated by Sam Taylor After the excess of English whimsy (thanks for that phrase, Liz!) of The Brontes Went to Woolworths, I needed a palate-cleanser of a read. Usually, I turn to thrillers, but this book on my bedside shelf caught my eye, and it was just the perfect Read More

20 Books of Summer #1 – Why have I never read Kent Haruf before?

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf Over the years, so many people have sung the praises of Kent Haruf, but he remained undiscovered for me until I got one of his novels at a book sale – then it sat on the shelf until I picked it up for this years 20 Books of Read More

Review catch up – again – and the problem of remembering!

Two shorter reviews of books I read last year…   Nutshell by Ian McEwan I read McEwan’s novel between Christmas and New Year, and the terrible thing is, I know I really enjoyed it. I know it was funny, outrageous and inspired by a quotation from Hamlet, yet I can’t really remember any detail about Read More

The Princess Bride turns 30!

Although Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman’s novel preceded the film, my first experience of romantic comedy fairytale The Princess Bride (1987) was on a small screen. I missed it at the cinema as it came out during a period in which I rarely went – but I did rent the VHS video from my local blockbuster – those Read More

Shopgirl – Film & Book

Shopgirl by Steve Martin I adore Steve Martin’s writing – see my review of his tremendous memoir Born Standing Up here, and his 2010 novel An Object of Beauty at my old blog here. I finally got around to reading his first fictional publication Shopgirl, a few weeks ago, and yesterday I watched the film, Read More

Shiny Linkiness

Today I’ll highlight my fiction reviews from the latest edition of Shiny… Bodies of Water by V.H.Leslie This novella is all about the power of water, and specifically the river Thames. A dual-timelined story in which Kirsten buys a riverside apartment in a development that had been a Victorian hydrotherapy sanatorium where Evelyn had been Read More

Book Group report: Food

John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk Our Book Group is reading by category this year. When choosing our ‘Food’ book two months ago, we narrowed it down to three books initially and then picked one out of the hat. The three were: The Vegetarian by Han Kang – prize-winning Korean novel John Saturnall’s Feast by Read More

A life in a day… again and again and again…

Groundhog Day – Book by Danny Rubin, Music & Lyrics by Tim Minchin August has been such a busy month. Not only have I managed to read 19 books, but I managed to go to the theatre twice and forgot to tell you about the first time when I took my daughter to the Old Read More

Two Mental Health Issue-led YA novels…

Today, I have two slightly shorter reviews for you of YA novels that explore similar themes: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall The pink cover (available in three shades actually, going from medium to full-on shocking pink) does this novel no favours at all. Concentrate instead on the gilded cage and the heart that doesn’t Read More

The lost post archive: The Dark Tower

Stephen King’s Magnum Opus – The Dark Tower I read the seven volumes, comprising over 4000 pages, of King’s Dark Tower epic fantasy over a period of four years. All the posts were ‘lost’ in my domain transfer. I’ve restored them into their original places in the time-line, linked below. It’s been a couple of Read More

Love among the penguins – Q&A with Midge Raymond

My Last Continent by Midge Raymond Today, I’m delighted to be a stop on Midge Raymond‘s blog tour for her fabulous novel My Last Continent from Text Publishing, which is an adventure romance set in Antarctica. Deb and Keller meet as researchers for a few weeks each year to study the penguins while working for an Read More

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

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 Read More

Pitch: The Time Bandits in Hawaii?

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 Read More

Mavis Cheek Blog Tour

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 Read More

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

Great Gatsby, it’s Gorsky!

Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy This novel, a bold reimagining of The Great Gatsby relocated to contemporary London, longlisted for this year’s Bailey’s Prize, has turned out to be a bit of a marmite novel. There are roughly three camps of thought about it: Those who love The Great Gatsby and loved what Goldsworthy has done with Gorsky. Those who love The Great Read More

The funniest crime novel I’ve read since I discovered Christopher Brookmyre…

One of my lost posts, republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline. Hack by Kieran Crowley If you love Christopher Brookmyre’s Jack Parlabane novels, you’re going to love this one too. Brookmyre’s Quite Ugly One Morning, which I read pre-blog,hooked me from the off – literally from it’s expletive first words! Hack however, begins in a dead-pan manner, Read More

Prim by name and prim by nature …

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera Translated by Sonia Soto I raced through this book – a feel-good romance set in a rather special little Spanish town. Miss Prim, an administrative assistant, decides to apply for a new job: Wanted: a feminine spirit quite undaunted by the world to work as a Read More

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

A double dose of Simenon including his most autobiographical roman dur…

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon Last month I had the opportunity to meet John Simenon, Georges’s son at an event celebrating the prolific Belgian author and his work. Apart from all the Maigret novels, Simenon was famed for his romans durs (hard Read More

The One Version of Laura Barnett

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive. The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett Last night it was a balmy evening in Abingdon – perfect for an author event in the packed courtyard garden of Mostly Books during Independent Bookshop Week. Visiting was Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us, a Read More

Dancing the Seasons with Powell #2

Republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost post archive   A Dance to the Music of Time 2: A Buyer’s Market So we come to the second volume of Anthony Powell’s sequence of twelve novels. If you’d like to catch up with my summary of the first part follow the link to A Question of Upbringing. Read More

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

Are there dark days coming? I don't think so …

Apocalypse Next Tuesday by David Safier A bestseller in Germany, Safier’s novel, translated by Hilary Parnfors, got me interested within a few words of the press release in which it told how Satan, who has come back to Earth as a dead ringer for George Clooney, is recruiting horsemen for the apocalypse next week. Gorgeous, Read More

A new brand of WWI spy …

Jack of Spies by David Downing Some readers may already be familiar with David Downing; the six books of his ‘Station’ series of spy thrillers set in WWII Berlin are highly regarded. Now he has set his sights back to just before the First World War to start a new series of spy novels with Read More

Riding the slipstream …

The Adjacent by Christopher Priest Today I shall direct you to another review I wrote for Shiny New Books:- The Adjacent by Christopher Priest, now out in paperback. Priest is one of those authors who defies genre, yet routinely gets categorised as a science fiction author. True his books often have some SF elements in, and The Read More

Always read the small print!

Terms & Conditionsby Robert Glancy Frank has been in a car accident – it turns out it was a bad one, and he’s lost his memory*.  He can’t remember people, but can remember his job**.  He works for the family firm, chaired by his older brother Oscar♦. As he begins to remember things, he realises Read More