Five Novels about Cinema

To celebrate my first going out of an evening in a long time to the cinema to see Cruella – which I loved (it’s like The Devil Wears Prada with extra real teeth: Emmas Stone and Thompson have a whale of a time! – trailer here), here’s five novels I’ve enjoyed about cinema, involving the Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #1 & #2

I’ve read my first two books – 18 to go, although I have three review books to read next before reading any others that count towards my 20. Here are my thoughts on the first two. #1 The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams When this book was published last year, there was so much love Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Bass Rock

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: The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld I’ve not read Wyld’s Read More

Review Catch-up – Dahl, Dooley and Dunn

The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl Translated by Don Bartlett First up a slice of Shiny Linkiness (full review here). Dahl is one of Norway’s finest crime writers, and his newest novel is an historical standalone that edges from crime into espionage, so given my love of all things spy, this was always going to Read More

#QuickReads 2021

Quick Reads, developed by the Reading Agency is celebrating 15 years of the scheme today. That’s 15 years of encouraging those who don’t read, or find reading difficult, as well as those who don’t have time to read much, to pick up one of their novella length £1 books, written by some of our best-known Read More

Genre-smashing with Jonathan Lethem

The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem Lethem may be best-known for his 1999 bestseller Motherless Brooklyn, which I loved and would like to re-read, it’s essentially a detective novel with a young protagonist who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. However the majority of his output before and since have been less categorisable novels – genre-mash-ups, like his Read More

Back to Dungeness…

William Shaw is one of the few crime authors I automatically want to read now whenever they have a new book out. Although I’ve still got some catching up to do with his earlier ‘Breen & Tozer’ series set in the 1960s, I am up to date and still loving his ‘DI Alexandra Cupidi’ series Read More

The Whole Truth by Cara Hunter

I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for the latest addition to Cara Hunter’s DI Fawley series. The Whole Truth is the fifth, and while thanks to the skilful way that some of the necessary explanations from underlying story arc involving Adam Fawley and his wife Alex are incorporated seamlessly into the Read More

Quizzing and the art of writing good quiz questions

A bit about me and quizzing As an inveterate quizzer, and setter of quizzes, I love testing myself against quiz shows on the small screen and radio, and doing quizzes from my quiz books shelf. I applied for ‘Brain of Britain’ (on R4) this year, but didn’t get through – the audition questions were multiple Read More

Book Group report: N is for Nora Ephron

Heartburn by Nora Ephron Our Book Group have reached the second half of the alphabet! May’s book for discussion was the only novel by the creator of peerless romcoms, When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, the latter she directed too. She also wrote the screenplay, directed and produced Julie & Julia, the book Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize 2021 & Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis

This Thursday sees the prize ceremony for one of the most interesting prizes for young writers. Run by Swansea University, The International Dylan Thomas Prize is awarded to the ‘best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under’ – the age of Dylan Thomas at his death. After Read More

The Atomics by Paul Maunder

This psychodrama had two great selling points that immediately made me keen to read it. Firstly its timeline is the late 1960s, and secondly it’s set against the backdrop of a nuclear power station. The novel opens with a mystery, that will be explained fully as the story progresses. Frank is out for a walk Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Beezus and Ramona

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: Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary I’m the right age Read More

April Watchlist

Bingeworthy TV What with the über-excitement of Line of ‘Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey’ Duty every Sunday evening, and rewatching each episode to make sure I got as much as possible from it, it’s a miracle I watched any other TV series, but I was very pleased to discover that BBC2 is reshowing Read More

Review catch-up!

This spring into summer period is shaping up to be a huge publishing push, as publishers catch-up with COVID-19 delays. It’s nice to see new books spread out over several months too, which I hope means that more will get the attention they deserve. Will they revert to form in September and October though? Woe Read More

Together – Luke Adam Hawker – Blog Tour

Today, it’s my turn on the blog tour for a deeply lovely book that’s not easy to write about! The lazy way to describe Together would be ‘This year’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse‘ for the combination of pictures and words with an ultimately inspirational message has a sort of similar Read More

#BanksRead2021 : 5 The Shock-Jock Thriller One

Dead Air by Iain Banks Phew! Life turned out to be busier than anticipated this week, but I managed to finish reading my third Iain Banks book for my #BanksRead2021 this morning. Now for a quick review! Dead Air, alongside The Steep Approach to Garbadale was one of the two mainstream novels by Banks that Read More

Reading the Decades #3: The 1930s

As a breather from Iain Banks, today, another of my Reading the Decades posts. Those who visit this blog regularly will know of my devotion to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I’m not really a one-trick pony in my reading. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books Read More

#BanksRead2021: 4 – The Dystopian One

A Song of Stone by Iain Banks There’s something about Scotland that suits dystopias of the military takeover kind–the abundance of castles, lochs and game all play their parts. Distant memory reminds me of the last episodes of the mid-1970s BBC series Survivors which had the plucky survivors in the Highlands, negotiating with a laird Read More

#BanksRead2021: 3 – Dipping into Banks’s Poems

Banks and his close friend, fellow SF author, Ken MacLeod were working on publishing a joint collection of poems as Banks learnt of his terminal diagnosis, and he continued revising in his remaining time, their collaboration being published posthumously in 2015. Banks’s first published work in 1977 was a poem: ‘041’ – more on that Read More

#BanksRead2021 : 1 -Walking on Glass

Although this was a re-read for me, given that it’s been 35 years since I read it and it’s not one of Banks’s more celebrated novels, I think I can be forgiven for not remembering a thing about it. I read my first edition UK Futura paperback in the small format, with a white cover Read More

The Coming of Christianity and the Beginning of the Death of Magic?

Sistersong by Lucy Holland I read less fantasy these days, but when I do, there’s no type I enjoy more than that with an Arthurian or Dark Ages setting. Sistersong is exactly that, and I found it hard to stop reading this novel which occupies that fertile fantasy crossover land between YA and adult reading, Read More

Discovering a new indie press – Broken Sleep Books

A few weeks ago, I was directly contacted by a new author, Rosanna Hildyard, to see if I’d like to read her booklet of three short stories, Slaughter, published by Broken Sleep Books. I’m a bit cagey about responding to direct author requests, just in case I don’t get on with their work. (Once I Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Shuggie Bain

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: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart I haven’t read last year’s Read More