Let’s get quizzical…

Two short reviews for you today, a quiz book and a novel about a quiz. Being a quiz-fiend, I couldn’t resist either of them! The Rock & Roll A Level by David Hepworth I’ve a lot of time for David Hepworth, following him from Smash Hits to Q to Empire to Mojo to The Word Read More

Enough. by Dr Cassandra Coburn

‘How Your Food Choices Will Save the Planet’ The blog tour stops here today for a book that turned out to be not what I expected at all really. When offered Enough. (with a full stop.) for review, I didn’t really look beyond the upside-down cow on the cover. From that, I was expecting a Read More

Japanese Literature Challenge #1

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide Translated by Eric Selland The Japanese write a lot of books about cats, don’t they? Being a cat lover, these books are irresistible to me, I couldn’t resist the green foiled eyes glinting out at me on the cover of The Guest Cat, a book I’ve seen glowingly reviewed Read More

A dose of totally bonkers Russian SF from the Strugatsky brothers

Last year, a language missing from my reading in translation was Russian, and Karen picked me up on it ūüėÄ when I published my annual stats. So, this year I’m making sure that doesn’t happen again by getting an early first read–it won’t be my last–of one of the Strugatsky brothers’ SF novels. I can Read More

A feminist fairytale by Sally Gardner

The Snow Song I’ve followed Sally Gardner’s writing career for a long time now, ever since she first started writing (and illustrating sometimes) books for younger children, my daughter adored her Fairy Shopping picture book. Next, she wrote a series of wonderful children’s novels, moving on to YA (I reviewed The Door That Led to Read More

Winterkill (Dark Iceland 6) by Ragnar Jónasson

Today, it’s my turn on the blog tour for Winterkill. Sometimes it’s good to come in at the end of a series of books. If you enjoy that final volume, it makes you want to go back and explore all the others. This was definitely the case with Icelandic police procedural Winterkill for me, although Read More

Review Round-Up – Tugwell, Mole & Hession

Three shorter reviews for you today of three very contrasting books – a psychological thriller, a lovely non-fiction book and a word-of-mouth gem of a novel. Dishonoured by Jem Tugwell Tugwell has written two spec fiction crime novels, but turns his hand to a psycho thriller for his third book. Dishonoured follows the rise and Read More

We are What We Watch? The Age of Static by Phil Harrison

I’ve found my TV consumption creeping back up a little during lockdown, but it’s nowhere near my peak viewing years which were probably from the 1990s into the 2000s (when kids’ programmes came back into the mix). As I started reading more and blogging, my watching declined, I even dropped Eastenders for a couple of Read More

More Book Spine Poetry

Last year in lockdown, I made several stacks of books to create some book spine poetry, having tried it previously here some years prior. My first lockdown one was a Paul Auster poem here, followed by a ‘lockdown special pair here. Doing some cleaning up of files on my computer, I discovered another one I Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Hamnet

My favourite monthly tag, 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 the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. This month our starting point is Maggie O’Farrell’s Women’s Prize winning novel Hamnet, which is Read More

2021 Reading Plans

Firstly 2020 Reading Plans – How did I do? State of the TBR – I did actually read ten more books than 2019 from the TBR that I’d owned before 2020 began, but over the year I’ve added loads to it too. Blame it on lockdown browsing. However, I’ve decided that now I’m 60, I’m Read More

Review of the Year #3: Books of the Year!

These days, I’ve given up trying to limit my choices to an established number characteristic of best of lists, long or short. I’ve had a good year of quality reading, awarding 10/10 to no fewer than 26 books – so 20% of my reading approx. Those scores are only snapshots of course, and some books Read More

Review of the Year #1 – A Year of Reading and Blogging

I’m saving my books of the year for the 31st, but today I plan to share some other blogging highlights, discovered authors and the few disappointments of my reading year. Let’s go through the year first… JANUARY – was the beginning of The Japanese Literature Challenge 13 which carried on until March. I read The Read More

Three more Novellas for Nov, well Dec now

As I love novellas, I kept on reading them after the end of Novellas in November (hosted by by Cathy and Rebecca). So here are quick reviews of three more, all of which were superb: one each from Irish, French and Italian authors. Academy Street by Mary Costello Costello’s 2014 novella follows in the vein of Colm T√≥ib√≠n’s Read More

Shiny Linkiness

In the last few weeks, I’ve written four reviews for Shiny New Books, and neglected to mention them here until now. Click on the title below to go straight to my full Shiny review. I’m loving the colour-coordinated covers of these four books too! Numbers Don’t Lie by Vaclav Smil – one for fans of Read More

An Author’s View of the Film Adaptation of Their Novel

The Magic: the story of a film by Christopher Priest The Prestige by Christopher Priest published in 1995, which our Book Group read in late 2006 way before this blog started, is a novel that has stayed with me for several reasons: firstly – it’s a wonderful novel, secondly – Nikola Tesla is a secondary Read More

Nicola Barker is a bloody genius!

I am Sovereign by Nicola Barker I have a big pile of books read to be reviewed, yet the moment I finished this novella in bed this morning I had to write about it! (Let’s hope it gets my reviewing mojo back on track). I’d hoped to read it during Novellas in November hosted by¬†Cathy¬†and¬†Rebecca, Read More

My Life in Books – the 2020 version

I‚Äôve done different versions of this in 2019, 2018, 2016, 2011 and 2009. The questions vary sometimes, but I’m staying with last year’s set (with an added Covid one!) for now. Using only books you have read this year (2020), answer these prompts. Try not to repeat a book title.¬†¬†(Links¬†in¬†the¬†titles¬†will¬†take¬†you¬†to¬†my¬†reviews where they exist) In high school I was The Girl with Read More

Book Group Report: “I” is for Ice by Anna Kavan & 2020 wrap-up

Ice by Anna Kavan was my suggestion. So many bloggers I know have read and loved it, not least Kaggsy, who reviewed recentish reissues of it for Shiny New Books here. First published in 1967, this novella has become an uncategorisable cult classic. There’s a hint of dystopia about it, there’s a hint of cli-fi Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret

My favourite monthly tag, 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 the titles will take you to my reviews where they exist. This month it‚Äôs one of Judy Blume’s most enduring titles – Are you there God? Read More

A Five-Star Flashback from 2013 – #DiverseDecember

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo Although I hope to read a book or two for #DiverseDecember hosted by Naomi at The Writes of Womxn, I thought I’d pop back to ‘My Book of Year’ from 2013 – which was the simply wonderful Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo. This novel made me laugh out loud, it Read More

Thoughts on the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Shortlist

Next week, this year’s Shadow panel for the Sunday Times / Warwick University Young Writer of the Year Award will gather electronically to pick their winner from the five books chosen this year. While it is a shame that they can’t make the trip into London to meet in person to do it, I’m sure Read More

A novella for #NovNov and #SciFiMonth

The Strange Bird by Jeff Vandermeer Never has an idiom been less appropriate to apply to a book, than the opportunity with this one to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ as it fits two current tags! Jeff Vandermeer’s novels defy easy categorisation, combining SF with fantasy, horror, dystopias, eco-thrillers and more, demonstrating imagination in Read More

Reviews catch-up: Harris, Murata, Daré & Wigglesworth

My pile of read but not yet reviewed books runneth over, so some shorter notes follow, plus some Shiny linkiness. The Book Lover’s Quiz Book – Novel Conundrums by Gary Wigglesworth My full review of this fun book is over at Shiny, but I’m writing about it here too as it’s an ideal Christmas present Read More

Smoke and mirrors – some novels about Magicians

Novels involving magicians – illusionists and conjurors rather than Gandalf types that is, score highly on my literary theme radar. I love all their skills, sleight of hand and misdirection, the optical illusions, all backed up by patter or a stage presence that fools us. Nowadays, of course, we exclaim in wonderment “how did they Read More

Nonfiction November – Week 3 – Be/Ask/Become the Expert

Week 3: (November 16-20) ‚ÄstRennie¬†is asking you to¬†Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert:¬†Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic Read More

Short Non-Fiction for Novellas in November #NovNov – Bill Bailey!

Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness Saturday nights have been bright again since Strictly returned to our screens – the absolute highlight not being the fit young things, but the utter seriousness being given to learning to dance given by Bill Bailey, partnered by Oti. (with Ranvir and Giovanni delighting too). Bill is clearly trying Read More