Hattie Brings the House Down by Patrick Gleeson

It was a true delight to read this debut novel for the blogtour. A cosy crime mystery set in the world of the theatre, the story is led by Hattie Cocker, who has been hired to be Stage Manager (SM) of a company who will perform Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Tavistock, a theatre attached Read More

The Coming Storm by Greg Mosse – blogtour

Last year I read Mosse’s first novel, The Coming Darkness (reviewed for Shiny here). A labyrinthine thriller set in the near future in 2037 in a world ravaged by global warming and a killer virus, it introduced us to Alexandre Lamarque, who works for the French equivalent of MI6. Alex found himself caught up in Read More

Watchlist: April

Series watch: Telly suddenly got good again – I’ve had a splendid April’s viewing – largely thanks to Prime offering a cheap deal on Paramount+ TV (£3.50 pcm for 3 months) which meant subscribing to see the superb adaptation of Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow was affordable. AGinM stars Ewan McGregor as the Russian Read More

Murder Under the Midnight Sun by Stella Blómkvist

Translated by Quentin Bates It’s my turn on the blogtour for the second Blómkvist novel to be translated by Quentin Bates for Corylus Books, who continue their quest to bring us translated crime fiction with a sense of social justice. Murder Under the Midnight Sun was published in 2010, and the series has a huge Read More

The Book of Witty Women – introduced by Helen Lederer – #blogtour

I don’t read that many short stories, but those I do read tend to fall into horror and weird genres, sometimes or comedy-horror/weird, and occasionally some of them will be just comic. The latter is mostly the case here in the first book of short stories supported by the Comedy Women in Print organisation (CWIP), Read More

Profile K by Helen Fields

I love thrillers that will standalone, and Helen Fields’ latest took me by surprise slightly. I was expecting a sequel to The Institution which introduced us to Connie Woolwine, an American profiler and her British sidekick Brodie Baarda, who went undercover in the world’s most secure prison hospital for the criminally insane. Instead, after a Read More

Weekend Miscellany – the skip, the novels and the poems.

It’s been a busy week, mentally and physically. I picked up several extra playground duties due to staff absence on trips etc, I’ve had a skip outside my house into which I and our local builder/handyman have been clearing one end of my garden – the shed was so rotten I put my foot through Read More

The 1937 Club – Ali & Nino by Kurban Said

I did intend to read Eric Ambler’s Uncommon Danger for the 1937 Club, but it’s been so busy I’ve not managed to get started really, so instead I offer you a revamped review of a novel from that year that I read pre-blog and not previously featured. Azerbaijan in the early 20th century was at Read More

All You Need is Love: The End of the Beatles by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines

I am delighted to have been able to read this amazing book and review it for the blogtour. Whereas I’m by no means a Beatles completist, I am a huge fan having grown up with them. And yes, I watched all 8 hrs of Peter Jackson’s documentary, Get Back, which compiled the hours and hours Read More

Honour Among Spies by Merle Nygate, #NoExitPress blogtour

You know me, I never say no to a spy novel, and this one, the second to feature spyrunner Eli Amiram. I’ve not read the first, but didn’t feel I missed out on much, so was able to get into Honour Among Spies without worrying about Eli’s backstory. Given that in this novel, Eli is Read More

Review catch-up – Erdrich & McDaniel

The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich – book group report. Our ‘A is for… flora/fauna’ book via our new book picking theme was my suggestion and our whole group’s first encounter with Louise Erdrich, who is of half German-American and half Chippewa descent. Most of her many novels, including The Antelope Wife, concern Native American Read More

The List of Suspicious Things by Jennie Godfrey

I’d started seeing a lot of love for this novel on X. It looked a little cosy with the crow picking at the milk-bottle tops on the cover. But on opening the book, I was convinced I had to read it; Godfrey has based her debut novel on her own childhood in Yorkshire in the Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Travel Books

First Saturday of the month and new year too, 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 Read More

Lost & Found by Helen Chandler-Wilde – blogtour

I’m delighted to be one of those leading off this blogtour for such an fascinating book. Subtitled “…from someone who lost everything”, Lost & Found drew me like a magnet. I can remember that when we moved to where we now live, we had three months in a furnished rental first with all of our Read More

Reading Ireland Month – Flattery and Nolan

I finally got my act together for this year’s Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy and read a pair of novels with throwaway titles – Nothing Special, and Ordinary Human Failings. They may have different settings, but both involve a teenager who has grown out of school, and both have broken families. However, I loved Read More

Hotel Arcadia by Sunny Singh – blogtour

When Hotel Arcadia was first published by Quartet in 2015, I found it unputdownable, reading it in one session (which is perfectly doable given its length of 224 pages). Now it has finally got a paperback release through Magpie/Point Blank Books, and I was delighted to revisit it for the new blogtour. Think of hotel Read More

Anna O by Matthew Blake

Anna O has been asleep for four years now. A known somnambulist, the experts think it was her body’s response to having committed a terrible double murder while sleepwalking. Now it’s time to wake her up, and the man to do it is Dr Benedict Prince, a forensic psychologist based at a sleep clinic in Read More

Dylan Thomas Award Longlist Celebration – The Coiled Serpent by Camilla Grudova

Although it just missed out on my books of the year, Camilla Grudova’s first novel, Children of Paradise, set in a run-down indie cinema was one of my most memorable reads of 2022, so when the longlist for this year’s Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize was announced I was naturally attracted to her book of Read More

Shiny Linkiness

Just popping up to say I’ve had two reviews at Shiny New Books over the last week, so do pop over if you’d like to find out more. The Future of Trust by Ros Taylor The Futures Series from indie publisher Melville House UK recently launched with four titles that couldn’t be more different from Read More

Review catch-up: Van Pelt & Gustawsson

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt – Book Group review We’ve moved onto an animal/plant A-Z theme for picking our books for a while, but our opener was an animal free choice, and Alex’s pick about an ageing and clever octopus kept in a Seattle aquarium came out of the hat. It is now Read More

Dark Clouds Bring Waters by I.R. Ridley – blogtour

It’s my turn today on the blogtour for this touching novella. While it would be true to say that I’ve read other novels that cover similar ground, I can’t think of one that has done it so poignantly and succinctly; Ridley covers a lot of ground in just 136 pages. The book begins with a Read More

Rodolfo Walsh’s Last Case by Elsa Drucaroff – Corylus Books blogtour

Translated by Slava Faybysh Argentinian author Drucaroff has taken a documented event in 1976 which occurred during truly turbulent political times in the country and run with it to create a work of fiction imagining the circumstances leading up to Rodolfo Walsh’s death after the murder of his daughter Vicki by the junta in power. Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

First Saturday of the month and new year too, 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 Read More

The Scottish Play at Dock X, London

Starring Ralph Fiennes & Indira Varma, directed by Simon Godwin So this production of Macbeth which played in Liverpool and Edinburgh has reached London before heading off to Washington DC for its final leg. Staged at each location in a warehouse/conference centre, this allowed more atmosphere setting around the show – a dark entrance hall Read More

Tristan / Yseult by Harry Bonelle – Blogtour

Given my love of things Arthurian and mediaeval, and need – and yes, it is a need – to engage more with poetry I was not going to turn down the opportunity to take part in the blogtour for Harry Bonelle’s retelling of part of the myth of Tristan and Isolde / Iseult / Yseult Read More

Point Zero by Seichō Matsumoto

Translated by Louise Heal Kawai Seichō Matsumoto is widely regarded as Japan’s greatest populariser of crime fiction, being a prolific author of it himself. Last year, Penguin published a new translation of his first novel from 1958, Points and Lines as Tokyo Express, I was seeing reviews for it everywhere, including Shiny New Books where Read More

Green Dot by Madeleine Gray

This is the hyped title du jour, and I couldn’t resist, even having been singed around the edges with another relationship novel in Monica Heisey’s really good, actually last month. For a start, the cover stands out with the green, and its design is great, with two figures in the style of Julian Opie (whose Read More

Two 5-star Novellas for #ReadIndies – Kerangal and Herrera

Eastbound by Maylis de Kerangal Translated by Jessica Moore Having read two other novels by de Kerangal (Mend the Living and Painting Time) both translated by Jessica Moore, now that I’ve read a third, I can aver that they are indeed a dream team. Moore just totally gets her author’s writing, which often has complex Read More