Review catch-up and a little rant!

Rant first… I had scoured the Cheltenham Literary Festival brochure, and worked out a nice programme of events, three on the first afternoon into the evening, and two on the following day. I saved them all to my wishlist and crossed my fingers. Living and hour and a half drive away I decided to treat Read More

#20BooksofSummer – the last four – Melo, Steinberg, Warner, Royle

Hurrah! I finished my 20 Books of Summer (hosted by Cathy) with ten days to spare, and will continue to alternate my own books with review copies as much as I can. In an effort to keep reading more of my own books, I am not going overboard on requesting ARCs etc at the moment, Read More

Two for #WITMonth – Yoshimoto & Oskamp

Two shorter reviews for #WITMonth which are both also part of my 20 Books of Summer. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto Translated by Megan Backus Yoshimoto is one of those Japanese authors by whom I’ve felt slightly intimidated; I include Mishima in this bracket and much of Haruki Murakami. Yoshimoto’s adoption of the name Banana (from Read More

Review Catch-up – again! Cocker, Saint, Jamieson & Stibbe

Firstly some Shiny Linkiness… Good Pop, Bad Pop by Jarvis Cocker This book of memoir, styled as an inventory of the stuff in Cocker’s loft from his teens and the early Pulp years until he went down to art college in London, is just a delight. Cocker has such a quirky personality, a conforming Yorkshire Read More

Review Catch-up

This most hectic week at School after a long weekend’s relative lethargy in front of the jubilee dampened my reviewing mojo for a bit, so now I need to catch up! I realise I haven’t posted my watchlist either, but will catch up with that at the end of the month. Meanwhile here are notes Read More

#Narniathon21: The Magician’s Nephew

It’s the sixth month of the #Narniathon21 hosted by Chris at Calmgrove and we’ve reached the penultimate installment in the Narnia series in publication order, although this book is the first chronologically. Once again I re-read my childhood Puffin copy – noting that this edition has nice wraparound artwork on the cover. I’ll have to Read More

Two reviews in short & 20 Books of Summer Plans

Firstly, a few words on my plans for 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. Cathy is such a forgiving host, allowing us to choose our books, be it 10, 15 or 20 however we want; cheating and swaps are allowed – even encouraged! Consequently, I’m not going to nominate 20 specific 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

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – A new to me grumpy detective

The Mind’s Eye by Håkan Nesser Translated by Laurie Thompson As so often happens with crime series, The Mind’s Eye published in Swedish in 1993 – the first in Nesser’s Inspector Van Veeteren mystery series, wasn’t the first to be translated into English later in the late noughties. That was the second: Borkmann’s Point. Why Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – A Quirky Novella

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by Dorthe Nors Translated by Misha Hoekstra Some of you will have come across Dorthe Nors from her novel Mirror Shoulder Signal which was shortlisted for the International Booker in 2017 (my full review here). In Mirror… Sonja, a newly single forty-something, decides to learn to drive as part of starting to Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – An unusual crime novel

The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul Translated by Martin Aitken I didn’t want to wake Halland; he had to be up soon anyway. After going to the loo, I went back into the living room and collapsed on the sofa under a blanket. When I opened my eyes again, I knew a sound had Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – My Gateway Book

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg Translated by F. David Being published in English translation in 1993, this was the first Nordic novel I knowingly read, acquiring the paperback when it was published in 1994. In my thirties then, I was beginning to expand my reading, having moved on from the diet of 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

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

The Moon Almanac by Judith Hurrell – Blog Tour

Given that the Moon is such an everpresent feature in all of our lives, it is no surprise that every culture and many religions have their own Moon mythology. The Moon is often seen as feminine with goddesses like the Greek Selene and Roman equivalent Luna, but we also talk about The Old Man in Read More

Two novellas for German Literature Month XI & #NovNov

Yet again, I can combine two reading months into one post. German Literature Month is now into its second decade, hosted by LIzzy and Caroline, and Novellas in November was taken over last year by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. I chose two very different novellas, one with a true crime feel, and one set Read More

A Catch-up!

Life has been a bit busy this past week, school trips, fireworks to organise – just generally being more active, and then falling asleep in front of the telly, one more week until our two week half term! All this has led to a bit of a blogging slump. But it’s the weekend and it’s Read More

An assured debut from Annie Mac

Mother Mother by Annie Macmanus It’s always a relief when a well-known person in the media writes a book, and it’s good. Former Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, who left the station earlier this year, has done just that – her debut is assured, straddling that line between commercial and literary fiction. Macmanus is Dublin Read More

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

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

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

Review catch-up!

This spring into summer period is shaping up to be a huge publishing push, as publishers catch-up with COVID-19 delays. It’s nice to see new books spread out over several months too, which I hope means that more will get the attention they deserve. Will they revert to form in September and October though? Woe Read More

Happy Mother’s Day – with Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips will be known to everyone as a Labour MP (for Yardley in Birmingham) and an ardent feminist. She serves on the Opposition frontbench as Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding and during this week, which saw the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, in the House of Commons International Women’s Day debate, she Read More

Two more indies in translation: Yuri Herrera and Kristina Carlson

This year, I’m going for it as far as reading from my own shelves is concerned, continuing to read more from small presses, and more in translation. Of the latter, that’s 13/30 books read so far – ten languages from twelve countries. I’m pleased with that. If I can add more books from Africa into Read More

This can’t be ‘love’?

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting These days as a cynical divorcée, I tend to ascribe to the view that Valentine’s Day is just a marketing exercise that I don’t wish to join in with again, but you can’t get away from it, and even I can be persuaded to read or watch some romantic 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

A Five-Star Flashback from 2013 – #DiverseDecember

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo Although I hope to read a book or two for #DiverseDecember hosted by Naomi at The Writes of Womxn, I thought I’d pop back to ‘My Book of Year’ from 2013 – which was the simply wonderful Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo. This novel made me laugh out loud, it Read More

One Translator, Two Novelists – two translated by Hildegarde Serle!

In my rather too large pile of books to write up, I discovered that I had two novels translated from the French by Hildegarde Serle. I’ve so much enjoyed her translations of the first two volumes of the YA Fantasy series The Mirror Visitor by Christelle Dabos (see here and here). I read Valérie Perrin’s Read More

The 1956 Club & a SF short

Minority Report by Philip K Dick I’m sure I’ve read this short story many, many years ago, but I’ve revisited it for the 1956 Club, hosted by Simon and Kaggsy. It was originally published in a SF magazine (right), I have it in a 2002 Gollancz film tie-in edition, of Dick’s stories from the 1950s and 1960s Read More