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

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

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

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: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

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

Six Degrees of Separation: Wifedom

First Saturday of the month, 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 chosen. This month Read More

Reading the Decades #5: The 1950s

I haven’t done one of these posts for a while now. I am more often than not devoted to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I do read some older books too. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books I’ve read published before I was born in 1960 Read More

The Institution by Helen Fields

Last autumn I read a superb standalone thriller by Helen Fields – The Last Girl to Die – and loved it. Set on the Isle of Mull, it involved a missing girl, and lots of witchy lore and had a real sense of place and atmosphere. Having discovered this author, I couldn’t say no to Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Trust by Hernan Diaz

After a couple of months where I was so busy to plan ahead, I’m back for the First Saturday of the month, 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 Read More

Our Man in Kuwait by Louise Burfitt-Dons – Blogtour

The town of Ahmadi in Kuwait was only established in 1946 after the discovery of oil there, and the town built up around the operations of the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) – it remains the KOC’s headquarters today. Many British and American ex-pats settled there and worked for the oil company, and entertainment centred around Read More

The Last Girl to Die by Helen Fields – blog tour

Generally, I’m not good with crime series. I prefer to start at the beginning where I can, to follow the story arcs of the main characters, but… I rarely don’t get beyond the first two or three books in a series. This series fatigue is probably sparked by having too many other books calling at Read More

A Friday Miscellany – Tags, Shiny & a new Readalong

Now School’s out for me, I can breathe and get in some serious staying in bed with a book (and cats) in the mornings (fan on at the moment and through the heatwave), so I hope to ramp up my #20BooksofSummer22 books – I’m up to 10 already (by including recent backlist book group reads), Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Sorrow and Bliss

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

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

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

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

Review of the Year #3: 2021, Books of the Year!

I still award a score to the majority of books I read – out of 10, including halfs (so out of 20 really!). Those scores are only snapshots of course, and some books fade from your memory as others, which maybe scored lower initially, stay or grow. I read 150 books this year, of which Read More

Excuse me, but there’s a cockroach crawling up your skirt!

Mrs March by Virginia Feito From the moment I saw the cover, I was always going to read this book. First impression – that ‘Ratched‘ mint green dress, set against a tomato-red background, the woman’s blood-red lipstick and nails, her air of repressed primness. And then there’s the cockroach! Those critters just creep me out! Read More

#NovNov – some classic novellas from my archives

The final week of Novellas in November (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) turns its attention to classics (incl modern classics – pre 1980) and once more I’ve scoured my archives to find a selection to highlight from a few years ago for you. As in previous weeks, I’ve managed to combine with other tags Read More

#NovNov – Short Non-fiction from the archives

I’ve read six novellas to write up for Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) – must get a move on! Meanwhile in week 2, we turn our attention to Short Non-Fiction, a better term than novella for NF. Once more, here is a section of posts from my archives of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Postcards from the Edge

My favourite monthly tag, 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 starting book this month is: Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher Oh, how I Read More

Reading the Decades #4: The 1960s

I am more often than not devoted to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I do read some older books too. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books I’ve read published before I was born in 1960 and those between 1960 and 1999: they prove I’m not totally Read More

My Best Friend’s Secret by Emily Freud – blog tour

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Emily Freud’s debut novel which is ideal summer reading for those who like a psychological drama. As the novel begins, it’s Kate’s wedding day – when she receives the text telling her that he’s not coming. Flash back to several weeks earlier. Ben and Kate arrive Read More

Families are complicated! ‘One Last Time’ blog tour

One Last Time by Helga Flatland Translated by Rosie Hedger Helga Flatland’s fifth novel, A Modern Family, won the Norwegian Bookseller’s Prize, and was her first to be translated into English by Rosie Hedger. She has been billed as the ‘Norwegian Anne Tyler’, and when offered the opportunity to join the blog tour for her Read More

Review Catch-up – Tadjo, Fuller and Benson

My review pile runneth over and there are a couple of books that I would have reviewed for Shiny, but I don’t feel I can write a long piece on, so I will cover them here in my review round-up. In the Company of Men by Véronique Tadjo Back in 2014, the world awoke to Read More

Reading the Decades #3: The 1930s

As a breather from Iain Banks, today, another of my Reading the Decades posts. Those who visit this blog regularly will know of my devotion to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I’m not really a one-trick pony in my reading. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books Read More

Reading the Decades #2: The 1970s

Those who visit this blog regularly will know of my devotion to contemporary fiction, the shiny and the new. But I’m not really a one-trick pony in my reading. The metrics in my annual reading stats include the number of books I’ve read published before I was born in 1960 and those between 1960 and Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #14

Yet another plundering from my pre-blog capsule reviews on the trusty spreadsheet. I’m not quite running out of meaningful reviews yet, so here is another selection from 2007 or earlier, all crime or thrillers this time … Pompeii by Robert Harris Reading this novel, one is reminded of the classic Monty Python scene in ‘Life 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