I had to treat myself…

To a third copy of Lord of the Rings I’ve already got these… On the left my single volume paperback from the 1970s, on the right one of the 50th anniversary editions – in this case illustrated by Alan Lee, which together with its companion 60th anniversary Hobbit was part of my joining offer to Read More

Conspiracy Theories – thank goodness, this is fiction!

The Counterfeit Candidate by Brian Klein Conspiracy theories are the stuff of many a great thriller; one of the very best I’ve read before is Fever City by Tim Baker which took on JFK, (as did Stephen King in 11.22.63 which I’ve yet to read). There are just as many alien conspiracy thrillers, after Roswell Read More

The 1976 Club – Helen MacInnes

It’s time for another Club reading week hosted by Simon and Karen – and the year chosen this time is 1976. When I examined Wikipedia’s 1976 in Literature page, I saw I’d read quite a few back in the day – most of the SF listed (Delany,Herbert, Niven/Pournelle, Zelazny), plus an assortment of others including Read More

Cheltenham Literature Festival Blog Tour

I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blog tour celebrating this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival. Participants were asked to pick one of the topics from the festival programme to receive a random book from: I chose ‘stage and screen’ and was delighted when Adam Buxton’s memoir Ramble Book came through the Read More

A Catch-up!

Life has been a bit busy this past week, school trips, fireworks to organise – just generally being more active, and then falling asleep in front of the telly, one more week until our two week half term! All this has led to a bit of a blogging slump. But it’s the weekend and it’s Read More

The Mirror Visitor quartet – the final installment

The Storm of Echoes by Christelle Dabos Translated by Hildegarde Serle When I was sent a copy of the first volume in this fantasy quartet of novels by Daniela at Europa Editions in 2018, I fell in love with Christelle Dabos’ world-building in its fractured planet, the wonderfully realised young heroine Ophelia and anti-hero Thorn. Read More

Lots of Shiny Linkiness

Time to catch up here with a bit of linkiness to my reviews published at Shiny New Books, there have been several over the past weeks I’ve not mentioned here. Star Turns by Tim Walker Journalist Tim Walker has worked at many publications, currently at the New European, where he resurrected the Mandrake diary column Read More

Catch Your Breath by Ed Patrick – Blog Tour

I’m delighted o be one of the final stops on the blog tour for Ed Patrick’s super medical memoir. Memoirs by doctors nowadays tend to fall into distinct types, although in decades gone by it would usually only be surgeons who dominated the field. Surgeons still write memoirs, and I’ve reviewed a fair few including Read More

Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari – Blog Tour

There’s something about books set in artist communities that always intrigues me. Not only do I enjoy reading about the creative process, and where you have a group of artists, they will spur each other on to produce exciting work, although this can so easily tip over into being too competitive. These communities are always Read More

An assured debut from Annie Mac

Mother Mother by Annie Macmanus It’s always a relief when a well-known person in the media writes a book, and it’s good. Former Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, who left the station earlier this year, has done just that – her debut is assured, straddling that line between commercial and literary fiction. Macmanus is Dublin Read More

The ‘loveliest’ book I’ve read this year

The Book of Pebbles by Christopher Stocks & Angie Lewin I was given this book for my birthday some months ago, and what a delight it is. Many of you will already be familiar with Angie Lewin’s gorgeous nature-based linocuts and wood engravings which grace many a greetings card. Her illustrations essentially get equal billing Read More

Weekend Miscellany

After managing to complete my 20 Books of Summer, my September reading thus far has been all review copies bar one, catching up on reading ahead for several forthcoming blog tours in particular – now I’ve just got to write all the posts! It’s been a busy week, being back at school. While the weather’s Read More

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

My Shiny New Books co-host, Harriet has long been a fan of Korelitz, reviewing three of her novels for Shiny (see here). I’d noted her down as an author to look out for, but since reading and enjoying her latest book The Plot so much, I’ll be more actively seeking to read her other novels. Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Second Place

My favourite monthly tag, hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is: Second Place by Rachel Cusk Longlisted for the Booker Prize, Read More

August Watchlist

Bingeworthy TV Obviously, I’m already addicted to new BBC drama Vigil two episodes in, which started with killing off a main character (remember Spooks?), and am still loving Ghosts. I’m also working my way through rewatching Detectorists, which is just lovely. I was inordinately excited to discover that zombie spectacular The Walking Dead series 10 Read More

Book 100 of the Year: Charles Yu’s strange science fictional universe

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu Inspired by Susan’s review of Yu’s latest novel, Interior Chinatown (which I’ve had to order!), I returned to Yu’s previous novel, his first published in 2010, which has a winning cover full of ray-guns, and if you look carefully enough, a dog. Both Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 18-20 – Le Carré, Sallis & Shaw

I’m going to finish off the reviews of my 20 books in one go today. Here goes… Call For the Dead by John Le Carré Having read many of Le Carré’s early books over the years, I was slightly surprised to discover I’d never read his first book, the novella Call For the Dead, published Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 16-17 – Zadie Smith & Horatio Clare

Firstly I’m going to pause to go ‘Whoop! Whoop!’ – I’ve read my 20 books with days to spare. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it, but judicious choice of some short books to finish has done the job – all 20 were books I’ve owned since 2020 and were all own copies from my Read More

Love Under Lockdown by Michael Estorick – Blog Tour

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for this gentle comedy about two ageing chaps taking them from the Brexit referendum through to the end of the first Covid lockdown. Bill and Pete have been best friends for 55 years, they’re now in their mid-sixties, and retired. Estorick first wrote about them in Read More

Planning Ahead!

Last week on Twitter I posed a question. I asked: Hi my bookish Twitter friends. Just wondering… There are reading months for French, German, Spanish/Portuguese lit in translation. Does anyone host an Italian or Nordic/Scandi one. If not, I’d be willing, which would you prefer? I got a good response, but predictably, it was divided! Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 14-15 & a second for #WITMonth

Gosh! I’ve read 16 out of #20BooksofSummer21, so with a fortnight to go, there’s a definite probability of beating my previous best of 17, and a possibility I might just make the full 20 – it’ll have to be novellas or easy to read thrillers though. Bring it on! Meanwhile here are reviews 14 & Read More

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann – Blog Tour

There are two ways to read this novel: firstly, you can just dive straight in and enjoy it without thinking about the significance of the placename in its title, or, you can give yourself a knowing smile and keep an eye open as you read for all the resonances in its pages. I did the Read More

WITMonth: Ketty Rouf – No Touching, & Annual WIT Review

Many of you will be well aware that August is #WITMonth – celebrating Women in Translation, hosted by Meytal at Biblibio. Meytal has been flying the flag for WIT for many years now, and now it has its own website HERE. My first review for the month follows below, but first I thought I’d check Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #13 – Russell Hoban

Yesterday I reviewed a SF-ish novel here by Jonathan Lethem. The next book I read from my 20 Books of Summer was another SF-ish novel. That is, a novel by a literary author who enjoys transcending genre and mixing things up in a SF way. Russell Hoban is another author who loved doing that from Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #12 – Jonathan Lethem

The next two of my 20 Books of Summer 21 reads are both linked by being SF, but SF-ish, in that they are novels by literary authors who enjoy transcending genre and mixing things up. I was going to cover them both in one post – but wrote more than I intended on the first Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Postcards from the Edge

My favourite monthly tag, hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is: Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher Oh, how I Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #10 & #11 – O’Hagan & Sissay

I’m just finished reading my 13th book of my 20 books of Summer 21, here are two reviews of earlier reads. Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan In my experience, there tend to be more novels celebrating female friendships than male ones. However, occasionally one comes along that bucks the trend as Rónán Hession’s Leonard and Hungry Read More

July Watchlist

This was such a busy month, especially at the beginning with all the end of term stuff – trips were back on for that last fortnight – big time! Also my daughter came home from uni, I had the School magazine to compile, cover shifts at school on admin, etc etc. So I didn’t get Read More

Reading the Decades #4: The 1960s

I am more often than not devoted to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I do read some older books too. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books I’ve read published before I was born in 1960 and those between 1960 and 1999: they prove I’m not totally Read More

20 Books : Paris in July : Euro Reading Challenge

Today, two more reviews for you that fit into multiple challenges, namely: 20 Books of Summer 21 hosted by Cathy, Paris in July hosted by Tamara, and the European Reading Challenge hosted by Gilion. Maigret’s Madwoman by Georges Simenon Translated by Siân Reynolds My 8th book reviewed for 20 Books, and 2nd for Paris in Read More