20 Books of Summer

This year, rather than do Book Bingo, I’m going to join in with Cathy of 746 Books and do the 20 Books of Summer challenge. I’ve chosen my 20 books. All are books I’ve acquired, not review copies. I make no apology for none of them being chunky – but choosing slimmer volumes, it might Read More

Two books about Learning to Drive…

While reading the first of this pair, I was perusing my shelves and found another book that was nominally about starting late in ‘learning to drive’ so the obvious thing was to read both and review them together. These books were especially appropriate to my own situation – I didn’t take my car driving test Read More

The Six Degrees of Separation Meme: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. (Here’s my one for last month starting at Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.) This month the starting book is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. 1. The Girl with the Read More

Two shorter reviews with missing bodies…

Today I have a couple of shorter reviews for you. Both novels I enjoyed reading very much, but ones I don’t want to say too much about to avoid spoiling the drama should you read them! Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent I read Irish author Liz Nugent’s first novel, Unraveling Oliver, a couple of years ago, Read More

Book Group report: Food

John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk Our Book Group is reading by category this year. When choosing our ‘Food’ book two months ago, we narrowed it down to three books initially and then picked one out of the hat. The three were: The Vegetarian by Han Kang – prize-winning Korean novel John Saturnall’s Feast by Read More

Book Group Report: Travel

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby In an effort to get more variety into our reading, we’ve started a subject cycle. We pick a topic to research, then next month everyone comes with a suggestion or two on that subject and we whittle them down to a handful to draw a Read More

Catching up on reviewing…

My to be reviewed pile is larger than I like and I don’t want to forget the books – so here are some shorter reviews for you: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics This is one scary novel – published as a YA book but is definitely not for younger teenaged readers! The story is narrated Read More

Two shorter YA reviews

Republished back into my blog’s timeline from my ‘lost post archive’. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach The world is going to end in ten chapters (weeks?) time when an asteroid called Ardor will crash into the Earth. If you’re a teenager, what are you going to do? There may be no future, so Read More

A Japanese Nightmare

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothumb Translated by Adriana Hunter This unsettling novella has an apt title. When I looked it up to see where it might have come from, I found a bible quote (also the source for a work Read More

We followed our men to Los Alamos …

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit This is not a novel about the development of the atom bomb, but rather the development of the community surrounding the laboratory which produced the bomb. Most of the scientists who worked at Los Alamos were seconded to the military from all over the country in 1943 Read More

A nasty piece of work is Oliver…

Apologies for not getting any posts up for a few days – it’s been a bit hectic – what with a first aid training course, back to school and all that entails, plus of course a wonderful quick trip down to London on Wednesday to have tea at the Wolseley Restaurant on Piccadilly with my Read More

Where is your North?

Soonchild by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Alexis Deacon This was the last book that Russell Hoban finished before his death in 2011. It was published posthumously by Walker Books as an illustrated short novel for a teen audience, and it is dedicated to Hoban’s grandchildren who are probably the perfect age to read this modern folktale Read More

“The extraordinary happens every day”

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness Having wept like a baby during reading Ness’s last crossover novel, A Monster Calls (my review here) – a story about a young boy coming to terms with love, death and grief, and incorporating magical elements and fables, The Crane Wife – his first full adult novel seems a natural progression. The Crane Read More

Rewarding YA reading for Grown-ups! Let me persuade you…

I’m in my early fifties prime (!) and I’m not afraid to say that I love reading modern YA books now and then … but only good ones, naturally.  By using the term ‘YA’ here, I’m distinguishing them from those books we usually call ‘children’s classics’ (which still appeal to readers young and old alike).  I’m Read More

Gaskella’s Books of 2012

Today is one of those dates that can only happen once every hundred years – 12-12-12, so it’s an ideal time to review my reading year. Yes, in common with many other bloggers, critics and reviewers I’ve picked out the best bits, so here are my personal top ten books that I’ve read in 2012, Read More

Carnegie Longlist 2013

The longlist for the 2013 Carnegie Medal has been announced and I was please to see quite a few books I’ve already read on it, plus several in my TBR pile – and of course in an ideal world I’d like to read all of them! The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding Read More

A plague survivor’s tale

All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls Sally Nicholls is one of the best new writers of books for older children and teens. I loved and was moved by her debut: Ways To Live Forever, (review here), the diaries of an eleven year old boy dying from Leukaemia which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and Read More

Illustrated books and crossover editions

I bought a signed first edition of the hardback of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which I wrote about here. After looking at some of the illustrations, I sat it in my bookcase as being almost too nice/collectible to read. The initial paperback edition is just like a slightly smaller version of the hardback Read More

An exceptional story for all ages…

A Monster Callsby Patrick Ness The British writer Siobhan Dowd won the Carnegie Medal posthumously in 2009 for her last book, Bog Child.  She’d started working on another, but died of breast cancer before she had started writing. Her outline was handed to Patrick Ness, author of the acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy and he wrote the Read More

The Food of Love …

John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I’ve taken my time reading John Saturnall’s feast, the latest novel by Lawrence Norfolk. He’s a man that takes his time to write his novels, having published just four in twenty one years, and so I’ve Read More

3 shorter reviews – Nesbo – Sabato – Teller

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost post archive.   The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, foreword by Colm Tóibín Ernesto Sabato died recently, just two months short of his one hundredth birthday.  He was regarded as one of the greats of Argentinian literature,  having Read More

2 YA/Children’s novels from April 2011 – Chris Westwood & Sally Nicholls

On the side of the angels – Ministry of Pandemonium by Chris Westwood Republished into my blog’s original timeline – one of my ‘lost posts’ Teenager Ben Harvester likes to get away from it all by taking his sketchbook into Highgate Cemetery.  His Dad left his Mum several years ago, they’ve had to move into a Read More

Old reviews from Feb 2011: Jones – Lukas – Nicholls

A novel of ‘Great expectations’ – Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones With its lovely cover, and the promise of Dickensian fun in paradise, I was easily lured into this novel.  I’ll admit that having missed most of the hype about it when it came out, I was expecting a soft and lightly humorous novel along the Read More

Twins & Ghosts – a complex combination

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger There was an awful lot written about this book around the time of its publication last year.  I generally prefer to miss all the hullaballoo, to let things settle down for a bit and read books at the time of my choosing. This autumn, I decided to include it in Read More

Will they, won’t they?

Obstacles to Young Love by David Nobbs. Billed as a story of ‘faith, love and taxidermy’, this is the seventeeth novel from septuagenarian author David Nobbs, creator of the sublime (certainly in the hands of Leonard Rossiter) Reginald Iolanthe Perrin. This novel follows the lives of Timothy and Naomi over a period of thirty years, starting back Read More

Marshal Guarnaccia – kidnap in the Florentine hills

Death in Springtime by Magdalen Nabb. The first I’ve read, this is the third novel in Nabb’s series of police procedurals set around Florence and featuring Marshal Guarnaccia. I was recommended this series by good blog-friend LizF who kindly sent me this one to get me started. Nabb, who died in 2007, wrote fourteen novels in Read More

Another OK-ish teen paranormal romance

The Immortals: Evermore by Alison Noel Let me tell you what I liked in this book: + There is a ghost that steals every scene she’s in; + The heroine has psychic powers that she struggles to control; + There are no vampires; + The heroine is not quite as squeaky clean as a certain Read More

Book Two of the Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second. Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Read More