The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen Blogtour

I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blogtour for this delightful book. William Woolf is a letter detective. He’s worked at the Dead Letters Depot in East London for eleven years, one of a team of thirty, dedicated to finding the right home for all the letters and packages that arrive with missing, Read More

Crime Panel Event Night at Mostly Books

Last night was a very special event at Mostly Books – the first time I can remember that four wonderful authors crammed into this small shop with as large an audience as could be fitted in! They were: William Shaw – author of the excellent Alexandra Cupidi series of Kentish crime novels (and the Breen Read More

Review Catch-up

I’m so behind on my reviews, here are two shorter ones… Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole my Ma by Kerry Hudson This debut novel was our book group read this month. The title is rather off-putting, sounding like a C&W ballad, but it is apt – for the main Read More

An evening with Kate Clanchy and her new book

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy Some of you may know Kate Clanchy’s work from her super comic novel Meeting the English (see here) or her earlier memoir Antigona and Me (see here), about a refugee who became her cleaner and nanny. She has also published books of poetry Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #3

Plundering my capsule reviews from my pre-blog days on my master spreadsheet – a selection from 2007 for you this time. Hullaballoo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai A funny, gentle and very jolly satire on fake holy men and the followers they attract; almost an Indian Life of Brian! Sampath’s family despair of Read More

Review catch-up

On Presence: Essays | Drawings by Peter Reason and Sarah Gillespie Recruiting Peter to the team of Shiny New Books reviewers was a bit of a coup – in fact he approached us. A retired professor, he has a deep interest in the natural world and humanity’s place in the ecology of the planet. His Read More

British Book Award Shortlists

The British Book Awards run by The Bookseller are the publishing industry’s equivalent of the BAFTAs and are affectionately known as The Nibbies. They celebrate the best British writers, books, publishers and bookshops. The Books of the Year are split into the following categories with one overall winner being picked too: Fiction Debut Crime & Read More

More Poetry – Joe Dunthorne & Heidi Williamson

O Positive by Joe Dunthorne No sooner had I started reading my first novel by Joe Dunthorne, the rather fab The Adulterants (reviewed here), than I discovered he had a book of poetry coming out, and I was keen to see more. O Positive with its blood-red lettering on the front cover, is divided into four sections, one for Read More

Doing Things in Threes…

Why Trilogies are More Satisfying Than Series or Mere Sequels This post was inspired by Rebecca’s one about her general wariness of books that continue their stories (read here). I too, am notoriously fickle in continuing to read novels in series even when I loved the first one or two I read. A case in Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Dry

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … The Dry by Jane Harper One of the best debut crime novels Read More

Blogtour – Deadland by William Shaw

I’m delighted to be one of the stops today for the Blogtour celebrating the publication of Deadland, the second Alexandra Cupidi crime novel from William Shaw. I read the first novel, Salt Lane reviewed here, in this series last summer. Set mainly in the Kent marshes near Dungeness, not only did Salt Lane fully introduce the Read More

Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist: There There by Tommy Orange

I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the media tour for the Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist. Of all the diverse books on the shortlist, There There was the one that shouted out to me to read. I’m very happy to be its champion, for it’s different, timely, fascinating and an all round super read. Orange, Read More

Wellcome Book Prize – Shadow Panel Verdict

Our winner rather crept up on us! From our shadow panel conversations as we read and blogged about the official shortlist, although we all enjoyed this book, only one of the five panel members pegged it as their personal favourite. However, it scored highly enough with everyone to come out on top, beating the book Read More

The 1965 Club – take two…

Before I get on to talking about the second book I read for the 1965 Club hosted by Simon and Karen, I thought I’d look back and see which other books I’ve read published that year – there are only a handful, and they are (title links will take you to my reviews): Georgy Girl Read More

Wellcome Book Prize Blog Tour – Amateur

I’m delighted to be part of the Wellcome Book Prize 2019 Blog Tour. Having followed this prize closely for several years now, and participating on the Shadow panel for my second year, I can truly say that this particular literary prize has opened up my mind to consider books outside my scientific comfort zone, and Read More

Blogtour – Under the Rock by Benjamin Myers

Ever since Rebecca reviewed this book in hardback for Shiny (see here), I’ve wanted to read it, (and Myers’s prize-winning novel Gallows Pole which I already had on my shelf). Now out in paperback, in Under the Rock, subtitled ‘Stories carved from the land’, Myers boldly combines nature writing with history, psycho-geography, photography and poetry Read More

Wellcome Reading #7 – Jauhar and Edelstein

Heart – A History by Sandeep Jauhar This book is the single traditional medical history/memoir to make the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist this year. Jauhar is a practising cardiologist in the USA, and he combines personal memoir of his doctor’s career and family medical notes with explaining how the heart works, patients’ stories and a Read More

Shiny Linkiness – my recent reviews

I’ve had three reviews published at Shiny New Books this week and last, so thought I’d plug them here. Just click through to read the full pieces. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li A generational family drama following the trials and tribulations of Jimmy Han, his family and the staff of the Beijing Duck Read More

Caught Between the Light and the Dark

The City in the MIddle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders I really enjoyed Anders’s first novel, All the Birds in the Sky, which was published in 2016 (and reviewed here). In it, she managed to successfully blend a mix of urban SF and fantasy with a coming of age romance – all in Read More

An almost old-fashioned modern gangster novel

The Bothy by Trevor Mark Thomas Someone had warned Tom to stay away from Stephanie’s funeral. A fantastic opening line! I was hooked by this thriller right from the start. I could see it on the big screen in my mind all the way through too. Think of any British gangster film from recent years Read More

Wellcome Book Prize reading #6: Madness and Recovery

Mind on Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning Subtitled ‘A Memoir of Madness and Recovery’, Fanning’s book tells the story of his battle with depression and bipolar disease. The book begins, however, with an episode from several years later during which he experienced mania and delusions – this prologue, told in a stream of consciousness style, Read More

Dealing with Metrophobia

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt You won’t find ‘metrophobia’ in the OED yet, but plenty of other places will tell you it means the fear of poetry – not underground railways! Now, I’ve always appreciated an occasional poem: I read the ones in the TLS each week; I can still remember lots of Read More

A modern morality tale

Strike Your Heart by Amélie Nothomb Translated by Alison Anderson Belgian author Nothomb writes taut novellas about flawed heroines that are always interesting (see here and here) and they always read like fables or fairy tales in one sense or another, despite being resolutely modern. Her newest, published last autumn is no different in that Read More

Review Catch-up: Heller, Murakami & Levy

Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller I recently re-read this for Book Group, and was reminded by what a fine novel it is. The affair between a naive art teacher and a fifteen-year-old pupil is a tough subject, given that Heller makes her protagonist quite sympathetic in a way, but the real villain of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: How to Be Both

Hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links in titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … How to Be Both by Ali Smith I have a confession to Read More

Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist Announcement

Just a short post today, but I was lucky enough to be invited to the event held at Rathbones HQ near Moorgate last night for the announcement of the Rathbones Folio Prize Shortlist. Thank you to publicists FMcM. Sadly, the weather was cold, windy and drizzly – but the view from inside over the Thames Read More