20 Books : Paris in July : Euro Reading Challenge

Today, two more reviews for you that fit into multiple challenges, namely: 20 Books of Summer 21 hosted by Cathy, Paris in July hosted by Tamara, and the European Reading Challenge hosted by Gilion. Maigret’s Madwoman by Georges Simenon Translated by Siân Reynolds My 8th book reviewed for 20 Books, and 2nd for Paris in Read More

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey – Blog Tour

I’m going to say it straight up. If you loved Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife or Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, it’s entirely likely that you’ll also like Meet Me in Another Life. I love all three of them. Silvey’s novel has some similarities to the mechanisms used in both the other aforementioned novels, Read More

Back to Dungeness…

William Shaw is one of the few crime authors I automatically want to read now whenever they have a new book out. Although I’ve still got some catching up to do with his earlier ‘Breen & Tozer’ series set in the 1960s, I am up to date and still loving his ‘DI Alexandra Cupidi’ series Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Beezus and Ramona

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: Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary I’m the right age 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

Funnish, but not Melrose calibre…

Double Blind by Edward St Aubyn Having read all five of St Aubyn’s ‘Patrick Melrose’ novels last summer and loved them (my wrap-up here), it was time to turn my attention to his new novel – a non-Melrose one. The only problem was that my expectations were very high indeed – would the book live Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Phosphorescence

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 to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird This book by Australian, Baird, isn’t published 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

Hiiii, Ouaf Ouaf, Crôa Crôa, Coin Coin, Piit Piit

The Strays of Paris by Jane Smiley For those who don’t know their French animal noises (NB: I cheated and looked them up) above we have a neigh, woof, caw, quack and squeak. We can only hear these onomatopeic words, but the animals in Jane Smiley’s new novel can understand each other perfectly. Smiley hasn’t Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Redhead by the Side of the Road

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 point is Anne Tyler’s latest, which I’ve yet to read, but 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

A dose of totally bonkers Russian SF from the Strugatsky brothers

Last year, a language missing from my reading in translation was Russian, and Karen picked me up on it 😀 when I published my annual stats. So, this year I’m making sure that doesn’t happen again by getting an early first read–it won’t be my last–of one of the Strugatsky brothers’ SF novels. I can Read More

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

These days, I’ve given up trying to limit my choices to an established number characteristic of best of lists, long or short. I’ve had a good year of quality reading, awarding 10/10 to no fewer than 26 books – so 20% of my reading approx. Those scores are only snapshots of course, and some books Read More

Review of the Year #1 – A Year of Reading and Blogging

I’m saving my books of the year for the 31st, but today I plan to share some other blogging highlights, discovered authors and the few disappointments of my reading year. Let’s go through the year first… JANUARY – was the beginning of The Japanese Literature Challenge 13 which carried on until March. I read The Read More

Shiny Linkiness

In the last few weeks, I’ve written four reviews for Shiny New Books, and neglected to mention them here until now. Click on the title below to go straight to my full Shiny review. I’m loving the colour-coordinated covers of these four books too! Numbers Don’t Lie by Vaclav Smil – one for fans of Read More

Novellas in November – Simenon, Greg & Moss

Today I have what I hope is a first batch of three novella reviews for you, celebrating Novellas in November hosted by Cathy and Rebecca.  The Shadow Puppet by Georges Simenon Translated by Ros Schwartz In a push to get reading through Simenon’s 75 Maigret novels a little more speedily, I’m using all the tags (Paris in July, 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

Nonfiction November – My Year in Non-Fiction

This is my third year of taking part in Nonfiction November. Each week has a different theme and is hosted by a different blogger. Week one is to survey your year in non-fiction, prompted by Leann at Shelf Aware. Last year, just over 25% of my reading was non-fiction at 33 books, my best ever. 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

The 1956 Club & a timely novella

It’s time for the latest reading year in Simon and Kaggsy’s biannual club. Looking on my shelves, I found two books I hadn’t read, the novella The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon and the chunkier A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren: the slimmer of the two won out this time. Looking at 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

Six Degrees of Separation: Rodham

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: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld A book I’ve not read, Read More

20 Books of Summer – #16 & #17 & Wrap-up

The 20 Books of Summer challenge runs from the beginning of June to the end of August each year, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. This is my fourth year of joining in, and my most successful yet, the best I’ve managed before being 15 out of my 20. I always aim to go for 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 #14 – St Aubyn

At Last by Edward St Aubyn – the fifth and final Patrick Melrose novel Reading this sequence of semi-autobiographical novels this summer has been a wonderful experience, despite the challenging events chronicled within their pages. This fifth and final snapshot in the life of Patrick Melrose was published in 2011. As you might expect, it Read More

A Rant and a Ramble for the Weekend!

Rant first …. Came down this morning to find a conservatory full of shattered glass. I didn’t hear a thing – most of it landed on the rug! One of the inside panes in the roof had shattered, covering everything with glass shards. A south-facing pane, triangular in shape. My materials science training tells me Read More

20 Books of Summer #9-10 Yuknavitch & St Aubyn

My 20 Books of Summer continues apace. I’m currently on my 12th title – and am cheating madly – but only swapping in books that have been in my TBR before the beginning of 2020, or my library pile – which need to go back next week. I’m also generating more time for reading by: Read More

20 Books of Summer #7-8 – The Melrose Novels #2-3 by Edward St Aubyn

See here for my review of the first novel in this series, Never Mind. I know that some of the events happening in that novel are hard to take, especially as they’re surrounded by such mordant wit, but I’d urge those who gave up after the first book, to carry on with the second – Read More

20 Books of Summer #3-4 – Simenon & St Aubyn

I’m speeding up, currently reading my 7th Book of Summer as hosted by Cathy. Yes, I’m cheating again – but only a little bit. I’m on the second of the Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn, but reading from an omnibus edition of the first four – but counting them as 4 books rather Read More

A Most Curious Fable!

Lake of Urine: A Love Story by Guillermo Stitch To be honest, when originally offered a review copy of this novel some months ago, I nearly turned it down because of its title alone – which is so bizarre and off-putting, but there was something in the summary on the press release that nabbed me: Read More