Six Degrees of Separation: Wintering

First Saturday of the month, and it’s 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 books. Our Read More

Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda – Blog Tour

Translated by Alison Watts Wow! In just over 200 pages, Riku Onda creates real suspense in this psychological drama and she maintains this tension right until the end. I loved it! The story alternates between two narrators, Aki and Hiro. They had shared a Tokyo apartment, but their relationship is now finished. They have agreed Read More

Finishing #Narniathon21 – The Last Battle

And so we reach the final book of CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia – the last to be published and the last chronologically. The Last Battle was also the first of my 20 Books of Summer, read at the beginning of June, and I’ve been mulling over how to approach writing about it ever since. Read More

Review Catch-up – again! Cocker, Saint, Jamieson & Stibbe

Firstly some Shiny Linkiness… Good Pop, Bad Pop by Jarvis Cocker This book of memoir, styled as an inventory of the stuff in Cocker’s loft from his teens and the early Pulp years until he went down to art college in London, is just a delight. Cocker has such a quirky personality, a conforming Yorkshire Read More

It’s the taking part that counts…

I’ve been giving cryptic hints of me doing something quizzy in London for a while – well it finally happened this week! I went down to London on a warm Wednesday evening to take part in BBC Radio 4’s long-running quiz show Brain of Britain. What an experience! I had auditioned last year and didn’t Read More

The Joy of Quiz by Alan Connor #20booksofsummer22

I’m doing something quizzy down in London midweek, but will keep schtum about the specifics (just in case I do poorly). I ought to be cramming, but I’m so busy at school at the moment my brain is overloaded and memorising lists isn’t really working for me (well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to Read More

Review Catch-up

This most hectic week at School after a long weekend’s relative lethargy in front of the jubilee dampened my reviewing mojo for a bit, so now I need to catch up! I realise I haven’t posted my watchlist either, but will catch up with that at the end of the month. Meanwhile here are notes Read More

Airside by James Swallow – Blog tour

Back in 2017, I read the first book in a series by James Swallow – introducing us to MI6 agent Marc Dane in Nomad. There are now six books in that series, but I hadn’t realised that Swallow was so prolific – since publishing his first YA steampunk western novel in 2001, he’s written over Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Sorrow and Bliss

First Saturday of the month, and it’s 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 books. Our Read More

More from the Sensational Books Exhibition at the Bodleian

Earlier this week, I was privileged to be invited to a press event for the much-delayed-by-Covid new exhibition at the Bodleian Library. ‘Sensational Books’ is all about the sensory experience that books give us and how to engage all the sense while reading. I reviewed the exhibition yesterday at Shiny New Books – so do Read More

#Narniathon21: The Magician’s Nephew

It’s the sixth month of the #Narniathon21 hosted by Chris at Calmgrove and we’ve reached the penultimate installment in the Narnia series in publication order, although this book is the first chronologically. Once again I re-read my childhood Puffin copy – noting that this edition has nice wraparound artwork on the cover. I’ll have to Read More

Two reviews in short & 20 Books of Summer Plans

Firstly, a few words on my plans for 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. Cathy is such a forgiving host, allowing us to choose our books, be it 10, 15 or 20 however we want; cheating and swaps are allowed – even encouraged! Consequently, I’m not going to nominate 20 specific Read More

A novel of the next pandemic…

Phase Six by Jim Shepard Over Christmas I re-read Miss Smila’s Feeling for Snow as the leading title for my Nordic FINDS Project. *SLIGHT SMILA SPOILER ALERT* During the climax of the novel up in the Arctic, it is revealed that a deadly parasitic worm was thawed by events, causing the deaths that earlier set Read More

Through a Vet’s Eyes by Sean Wensley FRCVS – Blog tour

‘How We Can All Choose a Better Life for Animals’ Gosh! This book made me think! It made me feel guilty: Firstly for enjoying eating meat. Although not written to discourage that, or promote vegetarianism at all, the author does strongly promote that we (those who can afford it) should eat better welfare meat – Read More

Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl – blogtour

Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett My first encounter with Kjell Ola Dahl was last year when I read one of his standalone historical crime novels set in mid-1920s Norway moving up to WWII, and I very much enjoyed The Assistant. Kjell Ola Dahl is one of Norway’s foremost crime writers, especially known for Read More

The Octopus Man by Jasper Gibson – blogtour

Back in 2013, Jasper Gibson wrote a comedy thriller called A Bright Moon for Fools (reviewed for Shiny here) in which archetypal old reprobate Harry Christmas runs away from his London life to Caracas and has the time of his life until a nasty reminder of his old life arrives to upset things. This book Read More

Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy – An Epic Novella

Translated by Emily Boyce Originally I planned to review this novella for Shiny, but I was enjoying it so much I neglected to make notes and mark pages to come back to. Then, when I sat down to write the usual longer form review that we aim for at Shiny, I couldn’t manage to write Read More

Review Catch-up – Collins & Montefiore

Although I watched far too much telly in April, I still managed to read eight books rather than my usual ten-twelve. I’m getting behind in my reviewing though, so some brief thoughts on two non-fiction volumes today. America Over the Water by Shirley Collins Shirley Collins is one of the most influential folk singers of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: True History of the Kelly Gang

First Saturday of the month, and it’s 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 books. Our Read More

April Watchlist

Big Screen on Little Screen I wasn’t able to get to the cinema this month – nothing I particularly wanted to see there, but I did stream some good films – and a little dross as well! Film of the month has to be Boiling Point (Netflix). That this film was made in a single Read More

Herne the Hunter & the Great North Wood

Mischief Acts by Zoe Gilbert I shall be reviewing this wonderful novel in full for Shiny New Books very soon. But I loved it so much, and it got me thinking so much about it’s themes, locations and references that I needed to write more about it. Let me briefly fill you in on the Read More

Review Catch-up: Ginsburg & Alsterdal

I’ve spent so long writing up a review for Shiny with a companion blog piece for this Thursday, I’m getting rather behind on my other reviews, so here’s a twofer of shorter reviews for you today, both from Faber & Faber Books. Unusually in my reading they show serendipity – both feature an older woman Read More

#1954Club & #Narniathon21

It’s always nice when one book covers two tags, namely this month’s read in Chris at Calmgrove‘s Narniathon and The 1954 Club in the biannual year’s reading week hosted by Karen and Simon. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis This month we come to the fifth book in published order – in 1954 Read More

Shiny Linkiness

I’ve been very remiss, and forgetting to link to my various reviews over at Shiny New Books, here are my latest from this month and last: The Gift of a Radio by Justin Webb Webb’s memoir of his childhood and years up until he joined the BBC in 1984 is a candid, funny and touching Read More

A Gardener’s Life

Son of the Secret Gardener by Trevor Millum The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of my favourite childhood novels, read from my trusted Puffin edition with this glorious cover by the much missed, late Shirley Hughes. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that FHB based Misselthwaite Manor in her novel around Read More

England’s library estate (with detours)

Before getting started with my review of the book pictured above, I just wanted to share a little about the three Croydon Borough libraries that shaped my childhood and adolescence. Coulsdon Library was the one I went to as a child every weekend to replenish my stock of reading materials. The children’s library had a Read More

Quicksand of Memory by Michael J Malone – Blog Tour

It was Niccolò Machiavelli who said: “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.” But how do you distinguish between the two? And would you really want to keep your enemies closer? What if it happens by accident? What if it’s meticulously planned? These are the sort of questions that ran through my mind as Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Our Wives Under the Sea

First Saturday of the month, and it’s 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 books. Our Read More