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

Book Group Report – Now in November by Josephine Johnson

This novel was our book group’s last choice made by playing Word Association Football for a while (we’re moving on to other themes for choosing books). Following on from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Johnson’s novel was also a Pulitzer Prize winner – but one we’d never heard of – having read it we’re Read More

The Lover of No Fixed Abode by Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini

Translated by Gregory Dowling The late Italian writing partners, Fruttero and Lucentini, worked together for decades, along the way writing five novels, four detective ones and this one. First published in Italy in 1986, it is a mystery and a romance, but it turned out to have much more hidden in its pages, taking a Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: the last book you read

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

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Translated by Edward G. Seidensticker I may have just missed the #JanuaryinJapan tag with this review, although I read the novella in Jan, but the Japanese Literature Challenge 17 hosted by Meredith at Dolce Bellezza runs through to the end of February – so sorted! Kawabata, who died of an assumed suicide in 1972, won Read More

The Swedish Art of Ageing Well by Margareta Magnusson

It’s a real achievement to become a best-selling author in your late eighties, as Magnusson did with her 2020 book Döstädning: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, which is all about doing a gentler version of Marie Kondo in preparation for your own death, so as not to leave it all to your loved Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist 2024

On Thursday, the longlist for the, to give it its full title, Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2024 was revealed, and as I’ve come to expect, it is an eclectic and wide-ranging list of books by young authors (written in English, and under the age of 39 – ie that of Dylan Thomas when he Read More

Eat to Your Heart’s Content by Sat Bains – blogtour

It’s not often that I’d consider reviewing a cookery book, but the combination of healthier eating with your heart particularly in mind and the know-how of Michelin starred chef and heart attack survivor Sat Bains was enough to say yes please. Bains, who was a gym regular and fit guy, suffered a massive heart attack Read More

Nordic Snø & Íss

While I haven’t formally run my Nordic reading month this year keeping it casual, I offer many thanks to those blog friends who have still included it in their own reading plans (Chris reviewed The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Lizzy reviewed Hunter in Huskvarna and other stories by Sara Stridsberg. Do let Read More

The Guests by Agnes Ravatn

Translated by Rosie Hedger I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the Random Tours blogtour for this novel, which didn’t turn out to be quite what I expected, but was all the better for it. The Guests is a brilliant story of mindgames and psychological drama without any violence for a change. Before I get Read More

Review Catch-up & Book Group Report: Le Blevennec, Heisey, Wharton.

As the Eagle Flies by Nolwenn Le Blevennec Translated from the French by Madeleine Rogers The most recent novella from Peirene is the story of a relationship and the effect of an affair on it. The story is told after the end of the affair for good by our narrator, who is a mother of Read More

Beirut Station by Paul Vidich – blog tour

This espionage novel was my first encounter with Vidich, who has previously written five more. In Beirut Station, given the current political situation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, with Hezbollah watching in neighbouring Lebanon, the timing of the publication of this thriller set in Beirut back in 2006 when the Hezbollah and Israel were Read More