#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – My Gateway Book – a different take

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist & its movie adaptations Although a rather baggy novel at over 500 pages, Let the Right One In, translated by Ebba Segerberg, blew me away when I read it back in 2009. My full review from back then is here. At the novel’s heart is the Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A locked room mystery

The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum Translated by Kari Dickson This is the first novel in Lahlum’s ‘K2 and Patricia’ series of Norwegian detective novels which now number four. Set in the late 1960s into the early 1970s, they are unencumbered by modern technology bar the forensics of the time, allowing the convolutions of 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

Christmassy reads

With perfect timing, I have some Christmas fare for you today. Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t have read these at the right time unless I had occasions to read them for, so without further ado… The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis Chris at Calmgrove is hosting #Narniathon21 beginning this month, reading the Read More

#NonFicNov – Week 1: My Year in Non Fiction

I love joining in with Non Fiction November – over the years I have tried to increase the amount of non fiction I read, and this annual feature is a great spur towards doing more of that. Week one of the month is hosted by Rennie at What’s NonFiction and simply asks us to review Read More

#NovNov – Contemporary novellas from the archives…

To celebrate the start of Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books), I am stealing this idea shamelessly from Susan. Here is a selection of novellas I’ve enjoyed in recent years, and to match the theme of the first week of #NovNov, they’re all ‘contemporary’. The Commitments by Roddy Read More

Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari – Blog Tour

There’s something about books set in artist communities that always intrigues me. Not only do I enjoy reading about the creative process, and where you have a group of artists, they will spur each other on to produce exciting work, although this can so easily tip over into being too competitive. These communities are always Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Second Place

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: Second Place by Rachel Cusk Longlisted for the Booker Prize, Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 nos. 18-20 – Le Carré, Sallis & Shaw

I’m going to finish off the reviews of my 20 books in one go today. Here goes… Call For the Dead by John Le Carré Having read many of Le Carré’s early books over the years, I was slightly surprised to discover I’d never read his first book, the novella Call For the Dead, published Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #12 – Jonathan Lethem

The next two of my 20 Books of Summer 21 reads are both linked by being SF, but SF-ish, in that they are novels by literary authors who enjoy transcending genre and mixing things up. I was going to cover them both in one post – but wrote more than I intended on the first 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

20 Books of Summer 21 #5-6 & other challenges!

Today I’m able to combine reading months once again. Books 5 & 6 of my #20BooksofSummer21 hosted by Cathy also let me take part in Spanish & Portuguese Literature Month hosted by Stu, and Paris in July hosted by Thyme for Tea. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on them. Nada by Carmen Laforet Read More

20 Books of Summer 21 #4 – Living Autobiography with Deborah Levy

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy Deborah Levy, I think, has become my favourite woman author. She thinks deeply about things; she’s read everything that matters; can talk eloquently about anything, but has a sense of humour; and, for me, she is incapable of writing badly. Reading her ‘Living Autobiography’ trilogy has been a 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

The World is at War, Again by Simon Lowe

It’s my turn today on the blog tour for this debut novel published by Elsewhen Press, who specialise in speculative fiction. Simon Lowe has previously published short stories and newspaper pieces; his first novel is a spec fiction comedy involving several ‘Agent Assassins’. It’s perhaps easiest to give a flavour of this novel by describing Read More

Five Novels about Cinema

To celebrate my first going out of an evening in a long time to the cinema to see Cruella – which I loved (it’s like The Devil Wears Prada with extra real teeth: Emmas Stone and Thompson have a whale of a time! – trailer here), here’s five novels I’ve enjoyed about cinema, involving the Read More

Genre-smashing with Jonathan Lethem

The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem Lethem may be best-known for his 1999 bestseller Motherless Brooklyn, which I loved and would like to re-read, it’s essentially a detective novel with a young protagonist who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. However the majority of his output before and since have been less categorisable novels – genre-mash-ups, like his 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

Shiny Linkiness – Hamburg to Douala

Today, just a couple of links to my latest reviews for Shiny New Books. Having been able to read more during furlough – last day today, back to school on Monday (looking forward to that and dreading it at the same time – but I have had my first jab, so will feel safer as Read More

A case of act first, think later…

I Was Jack Mortimer by Alexander Lernet-Holenia Translated by Ignat Avsey Alexander Lernet-Holenia was Austrian, a protégé of Rilke, he wrote poems, novels, plays and screenplays. He served during both world wars, but managed to keep his distance from the National Socialist Party. I Was Jack Mortimer (Ich war Jack Mortimer) was published in 1933, 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

Reading the Decades #1: The 1940s

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. One of the metrics in my annual reading stats is the number of books I’ve read published before I was born in 1960, and while it 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

Six Degrees of Separation: The Turn of the Screw

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 our starting book is: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James I’ve Read More

The Search Party by Simon Lelic – Blog Tour

The Search Party is Lelic’s sixth thriller, and having loved reading his first three (Rupture, The Facility and The Child Who) I was keen to reconnect with this author. The structure of The Search Party has a lot in common with his stunning debut: Rupture combined police procedural with psychological thriller in a cleverly constructed Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then… #13

Yet another plundering from my pre-blog capsule reviews on the trusty spreadsheet. Im not quite running out of meaningful reviews yet, so here is another mixed bag from 2007… What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn A gripping first novel about a group of outsiders. From the nine-year-old loner cub-detective Kate, to Kurt the insomniac security Read More

20 Books of Summer #5-6 – Aymé and Larkin

I know I said I wouldn’t cheat beyond having three shelves (85 books) to pick from for my 20 Books of Summer this year! But circumstances change, and I’m swapping a few books in. OK? I’d totally forgotten it was Spanish Lit Month as hosted by Stu this July – so I’ve picked The Manual Read More

A new spy series: Meet Thomas Dylan

Awakening of Spies by Brian Landers Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for the first book in a new spy series from Red Door books, written by Brian Landers – a former defence intelligence politico and director of HM Prison Service. With Landers’s pedigree, and given that this book starts in 1973, I Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Normal People

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. Our starting book this month is: Normal People by Sally Rooney I haven’t read this 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