Twice by Susanna Kleeman

Mention spec fiction thrillers, conspiracy theories, and secret games to me – and I’ll always be interested – indeed these themes have been a common thread in several books I’ve read this year (see here, here and here in particular). So when approached by Susanna to read her debut novel Twice which features all of Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Eats, Shoots & Leaves

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: Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss Despite being a Read More

Indie ✓ – Hungary ✓

Metropole by Ferenc Karinthy Translated by George Szirtes I’m on fire with my reading for #ReadIndies month and #ERC2021, crossing Hungary off the list of European countries with this novel published by Telegram Books, Saqi’s world literature imprint. Metropole is the story of one traveller’s nightmare. Budai, a linguist, was on his way to a Read More

European Reading x3 – Kundera, Laurain, Malvaldi

I’m taking part in the European Reading Challenge 2021 hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader this year, hoping to cross off as many European countries as possible in my reading. With these three, I’m up to six in January alone… (Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Italy, Russia, UK). Here are my reviews for the Czech Republic, France 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

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’s one of Judy Blume’s most enduring titles – Are you there God? Read More

Guest post from Shiny reviewer Anna Hollingsworth

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Anna Hollingsworth from our Shiny New Books reviewing team to my blog. Anna, who works in journalism, has been reviewing a wide range of fiction for us for several years (click here to be taken to some of her reviews). At Shiny, we only really like to include books that 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

Weekend Miscellany

Last night I planned to sit in my hotel room in Leeds and read a book – just couldn’t read. I was aching from all the carrying I’d done, and all the noises around me, hotel ones and student ones from the huge accommodation block next door where I’d deposited my daughter earlier, kept me Read More

Reading Wales & Ireland

One each for the Wales Readathon hosted by Paula and Reading Ireland Month hosted by Cathy today. The Dig by Cynan Jones This novella has sat on my shelves for a few years. I meant to read it for last year’s #Dewithon but ran out of time, so it was my first choice for Welsh Read More

The Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Blog Tour

The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize has become one of my favourite literary awards. It is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, named for the Swansea-born author, who died aged 39 in 1953, and the winner will receive £30,000! The longlist for Read More

Crime Panel event at Mostly Books

Last night, I went to my local indie bookshop, Mostly Books in Abingdon, for their latest Crime Panel event. We had not just one or two, but five crime authors talking about their work! Olivia Kiernan, CJ ‘Caz’ Tudor, Andrew Wilson, Mick Herron and Dominick Donald. It was such a treat, and thank you to Read More

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

I discovered this memoir through Rebecca’s post here and it was one of her ‘backlist best of’ choices too last year. You need to be of strong stuff right from the start, as Yuknavitch begins her account of her life so far with a truly emotional and painful episode, the stillbirth of her daughter, a Read More

Review of the Year 1: The Discoveries

I’m kicking off my review of my 2019 reading year by sharing a few of the authors I discovered for the first time and now want to read much more of – and poetry! Charlotte Bingham Bingham’s volume of memoir MI5 and Me (reviewed here) which covers her later teens in the late 1950s when Read More

Review catch-up – Pickett, Knox and Mackesy

As everyone who works in a school knows, the last few weeks of autumn term are simply manic! Normal lessons are interrupted for Nativity rehearsals, carol service rehearsals, trips, other Christmassy events, then the Nativity production itself which was sweet (as ever) and then this weekend we’ve had our staff outing back to back with Read More

Non-Fiction Novellas in November

Combining two reading tags into one, today I have a couple of contrasting non-fiction short reads for you… Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay Destined to be in thousands of Christmas stockings, this is a bijou helping of more stories in diary form from the author of This is Going to Hurt (reviewed 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

In Brief:

Catching up on books read with short reviews… Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi Translated by Geoffrey Trousselot A short Japanese novel about time travel set in a café was always going to have to be read by me! It ticks all the boxes on the face of it, and I was hoping Read More

Two recent reads – one prose, one poetry

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale This was our book group read for August, which we discussed earlier this week – and we scored yet another hit! I certainly loved this novel, and although not all in the group quite shared my enthusiasm for it, everyone seemed to enjoy it. Often, when we all Read More

Women in Translation – Top 100 – My Nominations

This year for the annual #WITmonth in August, our host Meytal at Biblibio has decided to curate a list of the top 100 women in translation. Everyone is invited to join in and let Meytal know. Here are how it’s going to work: Here are my nominations. Links to my reviews are in the titles: Read More

20 Books of Summer #3 & #4 – Kurkov and Pinol

I’m already behind on reading and reviewing the pile of 20 books I selected (here), but I’m not a challenge completist! Anything that spurs me to reduce my TBR by a book or two is good. Today, I have two in translation for you. The Gardener from Ochakov by Andrey Kurkov Translated from the Russian Read More

Crime Panel Event Night at Mostly Books

Last night was a very special event at Mostly Books – the first time I can remember that four wonderful authors crammed into this small shop with as large an audience as could be fitted in! They were: William Shaw – author of the excellent Alexandra Cupidi series of Kentish crime novels (and the Breen Read More

Doing Things in Threes…

Why Trilogies are More Satisfying Than Series or Mere Sequels This post was inspired by Rebecca’s one about her general wariness of books that continue their stories (read here). I too, am notoriously fickle in continuing to read novels in series even when I loved the first one or two I read. A case in 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 – Shadow Panel Verdict

Our winner rather crept up on us! From our shadow panel conversations as we read and blogged about the official shortlist, although we all enjoyed this book, only one of the five panel members pegged it as their personal favourite. However, it scored highly enough with everyone to come out on top, beating the book Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: How to Be Both

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 … How to Be Both by Ali Smith I have a confession to Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The Arsonist

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 Arsonist by Chloe Hooper Sadly, this book isn’t out in the Read More

Wellcome Reading 2019 #2 Trauma

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein When I picked this book to read from the Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2019, I had no idea what an amazing person we would meet within its pages. I just knew that it was the story of a woman who runs a trauma cleaning business in Australia, where Read More

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

I’ve kept a master spreadsheet of what I’ve read every year since 2006, two years before I started blogging. There are entries on it from 2004 too, but not a full reading record. While I’ve only kept good stats since around 2010, I did used to write capsule reviews of those pre-blog reads on the Read More