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

The Searcher by Tana French – Blog Tour

The new standalone crime novel from Tana French, author of the Dublin Murders series (my review of the first here), is that rare thing – a really slowburn multilayered mystery that delves deep into looking at all kinds of relationships – be they friends and family, neighbours, professional, or best kept at arms’ length. The Read More

Nonfiction November – Book Pairings

Week 2 of #NonfictionNov is hosted by Julz Reads with the prompt: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Wild Card

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’s a wild card – with the instructions to start with the book Read More

Two in Translation: One from Romania, one from Germany…

Sword by Bogdan Teodorescu Translated by Marina Sofia Firstly, yes, this novel is translated by the wonderful Marina of the blog Finding Time to Write, and is one of the lead titles from Corylus Books, which was founded last year to bring gems of current European crime fiction to English reading audiences. Secondly, I hope Read More

Vampire novels I have read – Ranked!

When I was writing my recent review of Vlad by Carlos Fuentes, a literary relocation of Dracula to modern Mexico, I was struck by the large number of vampire novels that I’ve read over the years, especially since I began blogging – probably more vampires than zombies, fallen angels, demons and perhaps even ghosts added Read More

Season of the Living Dead 2020

It’s October, the nights are drawing in, it’s raining and many of us will turn to reading choices to match that mood. I could sign up to the #RIPXV challenge, but instead I’m resurrecting my own banner from the dead to usher in my ‘Season of the Living Dead‘ 2020. (Search for that tag, or Read More

Stats Fun

Rebecca posted some data from her blog stats the other day here, and I took a look at mine too. I wasn’t going to post anything, but when I discovered that they are really linked by one particular post/author I couldn’t resist commenting here too. That post of mine is entitled ‘Return to Wigtown‘ and Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: What I Loved

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. I’ve opted for a single link between all the books this month which should be Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #11

I am reading lots, but am finding it hard to get into reviewing whilst I’m preoccupied with rebuilding Shiny (which is going well). Thus, I’ve turned once more to my trusty spreadsheet to bring you a selection of my capsule reviews from my pre-blog days. This time, five crime/psycho thrillers that I read in 2006 Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Stasiland

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 – the starting book is: Stasiland by Anna Funder A modern classic book Read More

Book Group Report: Dublin Murders 1

In the Woods by Tana French Just a short post today about this month’s book group read which we discussed earlier in the week. It’s quite rare for our group to all be in agreement, but everyone who was able to read this book enjoyed it, and appreciated the quality of the writing. I read Read More

Review of the Decade

Happy New Year & Happy New Decade! But, before I dive headlong into the 2020s, here’s just one more backwards-looking post to pick out my highlights for each year of the 2010s, well 2010-2018 – I’m considering 2019 done! 2018 Book of the Year: To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine. Something about this memoir Read More

More Novellas in November

I’m doing well with the various November tags and I’m currently reading a German crime novel for German Literature Month. There are a couple more tags and awards to join in reading for too if I can manage it – Margaret Atwood Reading Month and the Sunday Times Young Writer Award coming up in early Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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. This month – the starting book is: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll A childhood favourite that I re-read so many Read More

My Most Reviewed Authors & A Reading Week Proposal

I’ve been on half term for the past fortnight, and my major project has been to create a new master index of books read and reviewed since I started my blog, and you can see it on the tab above – the one called ‘Review Index’. Easier said than done to get in a format Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: A Gentleman in Moscow

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. This month – the starting book is: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles One of my favourite books of recent years. Read More

An evening with Claire Fuller at Mostly Books

I went to my local indie bookshop in Abingdon, Mostly Books, for a ‘Book Group’ style event with Claire Fuller, (in the middle above) talking about her third novel Bitter Orange, which is now out in paperback. I’ve read and really enjoyed Claire’s previous two books: her debut Our Endless Numbered Days (see here) and second novel Swimming Lessons (here). I’m Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Dry

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 titles will take you to my reviews. So without further ado, our starting book this month is … The Dry by Jane Harper One of the best debut crime novels Read More

Wellcome Book Prize reading #6: Madness and Recovery

Mind on Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning Subtitled ‘A Memoir of Madness and Recovery’, Fanning’s book tells the story of his battle with depression and bipolar disease. The book begins, however, with an episode from several years later during which he experienced mania and delusions – this prologue, told in a stream of consciousness style, Read More

Hello World: An evening with Hannah Fry

One of the highlights of this year’s ATOM Science Festival in Abingdon was a lecture by Dr Hannah Fry (here’s her website) based on her latest book Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine which will be published in paperback next Thursday. Hannah will be known to many for her TV documentaries and her long-running Radio 4 series Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The French Lieutenant’s Woman

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. Our starting book this month is … The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles I read this many years ago – yes, after the 1981 film with Meryl came out, so early 1980s Read More

Year End Review #2: The Disappointments

The DNF and the DNGS This year I was perhaps, lucky in my reading – there was only one book that I gave up on having got a little way in, despite its fab cover, and that was The Testament of Loki by Joanne M Harris. I won’t dwell on this, but you can read Read More

Year End Review #1: The Discoveries

I’m kicking off my review of my 2018 reading year by sharing a few of the authors I discovered for the first time and now want to read much more of. Kent Haruf Others have praised this author for years and I truly don’t know why I resisted reading him.  I finally picked up Our Read More

Two of the PFD Sunday Times Young Writer Award shortlist…

The winner of the PFD Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in association with the University of Warwick was announced earlier this week.  Adam Weymouth’s non-fiction book, Kings of the Yukon (which I shall be reading next), scooped this year’s prize from an interesting shortlist that was wide open as to who would Read More

The Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year 2018 Bloggers Event

Last year I was privileged to be on the official Shadow Judges Panel for this super award – you can read about my experiences here. One of the key events in the awards calendar each year is the Bloggers Event which is held at the Groucho Club in London, and I was delighted to be Read More

20 Books of Summer: 8 & 9 – St John Mandel & Ferguson

The Singer’s Gun by Emily St John Mandel After the brilliance that was Station Eleven (reviewed here), I’ve been keen to read more by the Canadian author, finally managing it with this one, her second novel from 2010.  While The Singer’s Gun differs thematically from Station Eleven, Mandel’s style of writing, with its elegant observational Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Atonement

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, Six Degrees of Separation picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Our starting book this month is … Atonement by Ian McEwan Shocking, I know – but I’ve not read it!  I have seen the film though – and one Read More

20 Books of Summer #3 & #4: Young protagonists

What a Way To Go by Julia Forster I couldn’t resist the cover of this book – it was the ghetto blaster (as we called boomboxes then) on the front and cassette tapes on the back that took me right back to around 1979 when I bought one with my holiday job pay from the Read More

Two books about fashion and design…

Vogue Essentials: The Little Black Dress by Chloe Fox This book arrived and I couldn’t stop myself from immediately becoming totally immersed in it. The idea is simple – stunning photography from the Vogue archive – from Beaton to Demarchelier via Bailey, models Shrimpton on the cover to Moss and Lily Cole, plus Coco Chanel Read More