The Rook by Daniel O’Malley and the problem with ‘chunksters’ #20booksofsummer24

Before I get to my review of The Rook, my third read in this year’s 20 Books of Summer challenge, let’s have a discussion about chunksters, shall we. Up until recently, I loosely defined chunksters as any book of 500 pages or over, nowadays I revised that down to 450, and I’m inclined to pull Read More

Boxes by Pascal Garnier – #ReadingtheMeow2024 #20booksofsummer24

Translated by Melanie Florence It’s a while since I read any Pascal Garnier novellas. Gallic Books have published translations of twelve of his dark tales told with an even darker sense of humour after the prolific author turned towards noir in the 1990s, and Boxes is the fifth I’ve read, so plenty of treats still Read More

Husbands by Mo Fanning, blogtour

I can’t resist a road trip novel, and one taking in Route 66 even more so. But we’re not there yet… In the prologue, a British guy gets married in a Vegas chapel – or is he married? His date, ‘a craggy daddy-bear’ type promises to get it annulled the next day, as our chap Read More

It’s #20booksofsummer24 reviews 1 & 2, Rinder & Moshfegh

And I’m away, with my first two books in Cathy’s #20booksofsummer24. May into the early days of June I had so many blogtours, but I’ve really cut down on them for the duration of the challenge, so I can give it a good go, and join in some of the other reading themed events too, Read More

The Venus of Salò by Ben Pastor – blog tour

Although The Venus of Salò is the eighth book in Ben Pastor’s Martin Bora series, due to the nature of Wehrmakt officer Colonel Martin von Bora being posted all around the Theatre of War in Italy, it’s more episodic a series in nature than many, so I was happy to jump in to the latest Read More

Piece of My Heart by Penelope Tree

In the 1960s, Penelope Tree was one of the supermodels of the day. Born in 1949, she was first photographed aged 13 by Diane Arbus, she was at Truman Capote’s ‘Black and White Ball’ in 1966, and was later photographed by Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon, before becoming David Bailey’s live-in muse in 1967. That Read More

Toxic by Helga Flatland – #blogtour

Translated by from the Norwegian by Matt Bagguley Helga Flatland does complicated relationships as I discovered when I read her novel One Last Time back in 2021, so I was keen to read her newest novel Toxic, this time translated by a new-to-me translator in Matt Bagguley. The novel begins in two parallel timelines. The Read More

Review catch-up – novels by Marian Engel & Alicia Drake

I managed to sign up for rather a lot of blog tours – but for some fab books – in May, which has meant the other books I’ve read have rather had to take second fiddle. Time to catch up with a couple. Bear by Marian Engel First published in 1976, reprinted by Daunt Books Read More

Hera by Jennifer Saint

I am delighted to be one of those leading off the blogtour for Jennifer Saint’s fourth novel, another feminist retelling of the stories of Ancient Greek Godesses and Heroines, with a dose of Gods and Heroes and other mortals on the side. Before Hera, first came Ariadne, telling the story of her escape from the Read More

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr – Blogtour

What a delight this novel was to read: a feelgood quest to find himself for young fogey Clayton Stumper, who was left in a hatbox on the doorstep of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers HQ in Bedfordshire in 1993. He was taken in by sixty-seven-years-old director and founder of the organisation Pippa Allsbrook, and brought up Read More

Hattie Brings the House Down by Patrick Gleeson

It was a true delight to read this debut novel for the blogtour. A cosy crime mystery set in the world of the theatre, the story is led by Hattie Cocker, who has been hired to be Stage Manager (SM) of a company who will perform Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Tavistock, a theatre attached Read More

The Coming Storm by Greg Mosse – blogtour

Last year I read Mosse’s first novel, The Coming Darkness (reviewed for Shiny here). A labyrinthine thriller set in the near future in 2037 in a world ravaged by global warming and a killer virus, it introduced us to Alexandre Lamarque, who works for the French equivalent of MI6. Alex found himself caught up in Read More

Watchlist: April

Series watch: Telly suddenly got good again – I’ve had a splendid April’s viewing – largely thanks to Prime offering a cheap deal on Paramount+ TV (£3.50 pcm for 3 months) which meant subscribing to see the superb adaptation of Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow was affordable. AGinM stars Ewan McGregor as the Russian Read More

Murder Under the Midnight Sun by Stella Blómkvist

Translated by Quentin Bates It’s my turn on the blogtour for the second Blómkvist novel to be translated by Quentin Bates for Corylus Books, who continue their quest to bring us translated crime fiction with a sense of social justice. Murder Under the Midnight Sun was published in 2010, and the series has a huge Read More

The Book of Witty Women – introduced by Helen Lederer – #blogtour

I don’t read that many short stories, but those I do read tend to fall into horror and weird genres, sometimes or comedy-horror/weird, and occasionally some of them will be just comic. The latter is mostly the case here in the first book of short stories supported by the Comedy Women in Print organisation (CWIP), Read More

Profile K by Helen Fields

I love thrillers that will standalone, and Helen Fields’ latest took me by surprise slightly. I was expecting a sequel to The Institution which introduced us to Connie Woolwine, an American profiler and her British sidekick Brodie Baarda, who went undercover in the world’s most secure prison hospital for the criminally insane. Instead, after a Read More

Weekend Miscellany – the skip, the novels and the poems.

It’s been a busy week, mentally and physically. I picked up several extra playground duties due to staff absence on trips etc, I’ve had a skip outside my house into which I and our local builder/handyman have been clearing one end of my garden – the shed was so rotten I put my foot through Read More

The 1937 Club – Ali & Nino by Kurban Said

I did intend to read Eric Ambler’s Uncommon Danger for the 1937 Club, but it’s been so busy I’ve not managed to get started really, so instead I offer you a revamped review of a novel from that year that I read pre-blog and not previously featured. Azerbaijan in the early 20th century was at Read More

All You Need is Love: The End of the Beatles by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines

I am delighted to have been able to read this amazing book and review it for the blogtour. Whereas I’m by no means a Beatles completist, I am a huge fan having grown up with them. And yes, I watched all 8 hrs of Peter Jackson’s documentary, Get Back, which compiled the hours and hours Read More

Honour Among Spies by Merle Nygate, #NoExitPress blogtour

You know me, I never say no to a spy novel, and this one, the second to feature spyrunner Eli Amiram. I’ve not read the first, but didn’t feel I missed out on much, so was able to get into Honour Among Spies without worrying about Eli’s backstory. Given that in this novel, Eli is Read More

Review catch-up – Erdrich & McDaniel

The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich – book group report. Our ‘A is for… flora/fauna’ book via our new book picking theme was my suggestion and our whole group’s first encounter with Louise Erdrich, who is of half German-American and half Chippewa descent. Most of her many novels, including The Antelope Wife, concern Native American Read More

The List of Suspicious Things by Jennie Godfrey

I’d started seeing a lot of love for this novel on X. It looked a little cosy with the crow picking at the milk-bottle tops on the cover. But on opening the book, I was convinced I had to read it; Godfrey has based her debut novel on her own childhood in Yorkshire in the Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Travel Books

First Saturday of the month and new year too, time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is 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 Read More

Lost & Found by Helen Chandler-Wilde – blogtour

I’m delighted to be one of those leading off this blogtour for such an fascinating book. Subtitled “…from someone who lost everything”, Lost & Found drew me like a magnet. I can remember that when we moved to where we now live, we had three months in a furnished rental first with all of our Read More

Reading Ireland Month – Flattery and Nolan

I finally got my act together for this year’s Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy and read a pair of novels with throwaway titles – Nothing Special, and Ordinary Human Failings. They may have different settings, but both involve a teenager who has grown out of school, and both have broken families. However, I loved Read More

Hotel Arcadia by Sunny Singh – blogtour

When Hotel Arcadia was first published by Quartet in 2015, I found it unputdownable, reading it in one session (which is perfectly doable given its length of 224 pages). Now it has finally got a paperback release through Magpie/Point Blank Books, and I was delighted to revisit it for the new blogtour. Think of hotel Read More

Anna O by Matthew Blake

Anna O has been asleep for four years now. A known somnambulist, the experts think it was her body’s response to having committed a terrible double murder while sleepwalking. Now it’s time to wake her up, and the man to do it is Dr Benedict Prince, a forensic psychologist based at a sleep clinic in Read More

Dylan Thomas Award Longlist Celebration – The Coiled Serpent by Camilla Grudova

Although it just missed out on my books of the year, Camilla Grudova’s first novel, Children of Paradise, set in a run-down indie cinema was one of my most memorable reads of 2022, so when the longlist for this year’s Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize was announced I was naturally attracted to her book of Read More