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

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

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

Together – Luke Adam Hawker – Blog Tour

Today, it’s my turn on the blog tour for a deeply lovely book that’s not easy to write about! The lazy way to describe Together would be ‘This year’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse‘ for the combination of pictures and words with an ultimately inspirational message has a sort of similar Read More

An Author’s View of the Film Adaptation of Their Novel

The Magic: the story of a film by Christopher Priest The Prestige by Christopher Priest published in 1995, which our Book Group read in late 2006 way before this blog started, is a novel that has stayed with me for several reasons: firstly – it’s a wonderful novel, secondly – Nikola Tesla is a secondary 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

A novel of navel-gazing

This Happy by Niamh Campbell Over recent years, Ireland has become a real hot-bed for new literary talent. It goes way beyond the stellar success of Sally Rooney and Baileys winner Lisa McInerny. So when I heard about another Irish debut that sounded really enticing I arranged a copy. I would have picked this book Read More

Red Lockdown!

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton Anyone who works in a school will be familiar with ‘lockdown’ procedures, with code reds being the ones you hope you’ll only ever have to practice; the make yourselves as invisible as you can to an intruder ones. Lupton’s latest novel takes such an awful situation, placing it into an Read More

A dark and complex techno-thriller

This is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield Published earlier this summer, this techno-thriller was very thought-provoking – it will lead any reader to question the world as portrayed on the web, and how terrorists and hackers are using it to further their own aims by going dark. The plot follows Azi, a hacker from East Croydon Read More

A dystopian response to 9/11

Then by Julie Myerson I read Myerson’s fifth novel, Something Might Happen, back in 2004 – this was before I started writing capsule reviews, but I did make a note about this book, “Emotional and profound,” I wrote, giving it 8/10. That novel explored the effects of a woman’s murder on the local community – Read More

Book Group read – ‘Turtle’

Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman Our theme for our August book had been a random one – ‘Turtle’! There were a few potential choices, including Russell Hoban’s Turtle Diary, and Terry Pratchett of course , but the book we finally picked was Alice Hoffman’s 1992 novel Turtle Moon. Hoffman is a prolific but always enjoyable Read More

Review Catch-up

I’m so behind on my reviews, here are two shorter ones… Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole my Ma by Kerry Hudson This debut novel was our book group read this month. The title is rather off-putting, sounding like a C&W ballad, but it is apt – for the main Read More

Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist: There There by Tommy Orange

I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the media tour for the Rathbones Folio Prize shortlist. Of all the diverse books on the shortlist, There There was the one that shouted out to me to read. I’m very happy to be its champion, for it’s different, timely, fascinating and an all round super read. Orange, Read More

Wellcome Reading #7 – Jauhar and Edelstein

Heart – A History by Sandeep Jauhar This book is the single traditional medical history/memoir to make the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist this year. Jauhar is a practising cardiologist in the USA, and he combines personal memoir of his doctor’s career and family medical notes with explaining how the heart works, patients’ stories and a Read More

Wales Readathon #2

The Wales Readathon, aka Dewithon is being hosted by Paula at Book Jotter. It’s running throughout March. Here is what I thought about my second Welsh read this month: New Stories from the Mabinogion: The Tip of My Tongue by Trezza Azzopardi Azzopardi was born in Cardiff to Welsh/Maltese parents. Her first novel The Hiding Place 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

Reading between the lines?

Transcription by Kate Atkinson I really must not wait so long to write my reviews. This was the first book I read in 2019! The good thing is it was such a good book, unlike other lesser fare, I haven’t forgotten what it was all about quite yet. However so many of my blog friends Read More

Two from the Library… yes, you did read that correctly!

I finally got a new library card last month, after not having borrowed from there since my daughter was a toddler when we used to visit weekly to stock up on picture books. I do need to spend less, to buy fewer books, but not zero – I couldn’t possibly do that! So I’m hoping Read More

A standalone thriller that’s far from Slough House…

This is What Happened by Mick Herron This is going to be a short review… Mick Herron is the author of the utterly brilliant Jackson Lamb series of spy novels, following the workers of Slough House, where agents get put out to pasture. (If you haven’t read them, see here, here and here!)  He’s taken Read More

Shiny Linkiness

I don’t always have time to link to my reviews over at Shiny New Books, but I have to share this one far and wide. Viv Albertine’s second volume of memoir was published in April. I saw her talk about it at the Faber Spring Party, and she was funny and lovely, and through writing, Read More

Review Catch-up…

Life is rather busy, and I’m terribly behind on my reviews. So here is a batch of reviews and links for you… Educated by Tara Westover This memoir of growing up in an unconventional setting and how the author escaped to discover the world outside was absolutely compelling reading, Westover grew up off-grid in Idaho, Read More

Wellcome Book Prize Shadow Panel Results…

It’s been a busy month or two of reading the six wonderfully varied books shortlisted for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize. The judges will announce their result on Monday, but today our informal shadow panel is posting its winner, and our winner is:  TO BE A MACHINE by MARK O’CONNELL  Here’s what the shadow panel Read More

The Power of Fairy Tales: Marina Warner & Sally Gardner

Once Upon a Time by Marina Warner Subtitled ‘A short history of fairy tale’, Warner’s compact volume belies its small size. It’s a tiny hardback, but within its 200 or so pages, the author recounts the rich history behind the beloved fairy tales we all know from their most common (often arguably via Disney film Read More

Two Short Novels in Translation

One of my ‘Try Harder’ targets this year is to read more in translation. I got the year off to a good start with these two short novels… Bird in a Cage by Frédéric Dard Translated from the French by David Bellos I discovered Dard just over a year ago, when the lovely people at Read More

Some recent reads in short…

It’s catch-up time again… Three Days and a Life by Pierre Lemaitre  While I loved Lemaitre’s Verhoeven trilogy and last year’s superbly creepy Blood Wedding, Three Days and a Life was a slight disappointment. It’s still an excellent suspense novel, but lacks the elements of surprise and immediacy that his others have shown.  It has Read More

Review catch-up

I am still behind on my reviewing, even though I seem to have unlocked my reviewer’s block – so today, I have a trio of short reviews for you… The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick This is a rare case for me of having seen the film before I read the book. I loved Read More

What happened to Lux Langley?

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles As a portrait of a troubled teenager suffering from the after effects of trauma, the cause of which is not disclosed until near the end, this novel takes the current vogue for YA novels about mental health and runs with it well with a great first line: Read More

20 Books of Summer #8 & 9 – Nichols & Kay

Crazy Pavements by Beverley Nichols Knowing that Karen and Simon are both fans of Beverley Nichols, it was about time I read one of his books – I picked this one up a couple of years ago, so it was ideal to go into my 20 Books of Summer pile.  Nichols was a prolific writer: Read More

Three Short Novels – Simenon – Fitzgerald – Johnston

Georges Simenon – The Grand Banks Café Translated by David Coward Maigret and Mrs Maigret are about to go on holiday. Mrs Maigret is packing as Maigret reads a letter that’s arrived from an old friend. “…Listen, are you still set on passing our week’s holiday in Alsace?” She stared at him, not understanding. The Read More