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

Feb into March Watchlist

Time for another review of what I’ve been watching lately, as opposed to reading. Big Screen I’ve only made it to the cinema once. That was to see the wonderfully funny and touching film The Duke, starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. The story, set in Newcastle during the early 1960s is based on a Read More

Japanese Literature Challenge 15

Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura Translated by Philip Gabriel I just managed to squeeze in a Japanese read in time to catch the end of this year’s Japanese Literature Challenge 15 hosted by Dolce Belezza Lonely Castle in the Mirror was a prize-winning bestseller in Japan and it’s easy to see why Read More

#Narniathon21: The Silver Chair

And so in the #Narniathon21 hosted by Chris at Calmgrove to my childhood favourite of the Narnia books, the 4th to be published, 6th in the chronological order, The Silver Chair. Is it still my favourite? I’ll tell you later. A full synopsis with comments follows, so if you don’t want to know the plot Read More

Two short NF reviews

Recovery by Dr Gavin Francis I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Rebecca who reviewed it here – thank you! Published by Profile Books for the Wellcome Trust, this short non fiction book is all about how we recover from illness, and the road back to good health. Francis is a GP, and Read More

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz – Blog Tour

Translated by Rachel Ward I first met German state prosectutor Chastity Riley last year when I read the fourth book to be translated in the series by ‘Queen of Krimi’ Simone Buchholz. Hotel Cartagena was very different to what I expected – not a legal crime thriller but rather more like Die Hard in Hamburg, Read More

Red is My Heart by Antoine Laurain & Le Sonneur

The Other Red Notebook? Translated by Jane Aitken I’ve read everything by Laurain that the wonderful Gallic Books has translated. I’m a big fan of his brand of entertaining novels, mostly driven by key objects be it a hat, a notebook, a tape, a portrait, cigarettes, a bottle of wine, or a manuscript – I’ve Read More

My Year in Irish Lit

It’s Week 2 of Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. The prompt for this week is ‘My Year in Irish Lit’, and it is a pleasure to go back through the year to last March and see how many books by Irish authors I read – I was pleasantly surprised by the Read More

My Top Five Irish… Authors

I know, I’m a day late in posting, but I started writing this post last week. March is, of course, Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. This year, they’ve come up with some weekly prompts and the first is My Top Five Irish… anything to do with Irish culture. Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The End of the Affair

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. I’m Read More

#Narniathon21 – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

And so we come to the third Narnia book to be published (5th in the chronological order) in Chris’s #Narniathon21 readalong and once more, I’m reading from my original Puffin book, inscribed with all my (very serious) play library remnants, another application to join the Puffin Club (still 7⅓ years old), and horror – not Read More

Off Target by Eve Smith – blog tour

I adore spec fiction set just into the future, and I’ll admit part of that thrill is the scary thought that some of it may come true. It adds a layer of excitement that really gets my brain thinking overtime. I’m so glad to have discovered Eve Smith, and after really enjoying her new novel, Read More

Reading the Sunday Times Young Writer Award Shortlist

The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award is the UK and Ireland’s most influential prize for young writers, and the latest winner will be announced on Feb 24th, preceded by an event at Waterstones Piccadilly, chaired by Sebastian Faulks on Feb 23rd (you can buy tickets here). I’d love to go, Read More

Book Group Report – a trippy, tribey SF alt-Manchester from the 1990s

We’re nearing the end of the alphabet in our book group – we haven’t decided yet if we’ll return to the beginning or do something else when we finish. Meanwhile our ‘V is for’ book this month was a novel I was very happy to re-read. Vurt by Jeff Noon I discovered Vurt in the Read More

#ReadIndies – Three chapbooks from Nightjar Press

I don’t know why, but faced with a book of short stories by a single author, I tend to baulk after I’ve read a few, finding it hard to return to a collection. As a consequence, I read few short story collections. I’m a great fan of novellas, which gives more space to develop plot Read More