Trouble by Katja Ivar – blogtour #NordicFINDS23

I’m today’s stop on the Random Tours blogtour for Trouble, the third novel by Katja Ivar featuring Finnish detective Hella Mauzer. Set during the early 1950s, in the first novel, Evil Things, Hella was a sergeant in the Helsinki police; in the second, Deep as Death, she’s left the police to become a private investigator Read More

The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson #NordicFINDS23

Translated by Thomas Teal When I read The Summer Book for last year’s Nordic FINDS, I was overwhelmed by the unsentimental but understated beauty of Tove Jansson’s prose, so I had to read another book by her this year. I chose her 1982 novel The True Deceiver which she wrote when she was 68, again Read More

This Should be Written in the Present Tense by Helle Helle #NordicFINDS23

Translated by Martin Aitken Susan recommended this novella to me last year (her review here), so I acquired a copy – thinking ahead for this year! What an odd book this is. Our narrator, Dorte, chronicles her everyday life for us and remembers previous relationships – that’s it. It is simple, yet hypnotically compelling. The Read More

The Reviews that Got Away… Goldsworthy, Grudova & Pavone

My aim on this blog has always been to write at least a little about every book I read whether I loved them or DNF them. But, just occasionally, I read and love a book, but can’t find the hook to base my review on right away and the books then sit there waiting for Read More

Two more classics for #NovNov Dürrenmatt & McCoy

I know the final week’s theme for Novellas in November hosted by Cathy and Rebecca is contemporary novellas, but today I have two more classic novellas for you instead. Contemporary ones to come soon! The Judge & His Hangman by Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1950) Translated by Joel Agee (2006) I was keen to tie in #NovNov with German Read More

Two Modern Classics from Faber Editions #NovNov22

I adore reading novellas all year round, but particularly when we focus on them in November with the reading event hosted by Cathy and Rebecca. Week one concentrates on ‘classics’ – which are defined as pre-1980 for these purposes. Although one of the titles I’m including in this post was published after 1980 in 1982, Read More

Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree by David George Haskell

I’m delighted to be on of the stops leading off the blogtour for this super little book, a collection of essays about the olfactory aspects of trees by a noted writer and biologist. I was particularly interested in this volume as it promised not just nature writing, which is a theme I’ve been actively trying Read More

Review Catch-up: Naspini, Atwood, Grant & DNFs

And breathe! Half term has arrived for me, and I can relax after the busiest first half of term I can ever remember at school. I’ve had a new boss to get to know for the Health & Safety part of my job; new H&S computer systems to learn and then update everything in; a Read More

Two memoirs by screenwriters – Morgan and Considine

This is not a Pity Memoir by Abi Morgan Morgan is a BAFTA and Emmy award winning screenwriter. Most recently, you may have watched her BBC TV series The Split, following a family of divorce lawyers, starring the wonderful Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan as the central couple with a rocky marriage. I enjoyed the Read More

Two shorter reviews for #20BooksofSummer

I’m doing well with my 20 Books of Summer 22, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books, reaching 17/20 so I have every hope of completing my 20 Books I acquired before 2022 from my TBR. Two slightly shorter reviews for you today – a small town America psychological drama and that the book set in Read More

Paris in July – Book 1 of The Marseilles Trilogy – Jean-Claude Izzo

Sneaking in right at the end of the annual celebration of all things French, here’s my contribution to Paris in July, hosted by Readerbuzz and Thyme-for-tea. It may be called Paris in July, but includes anything French, hence I finally read a book that’s been on the shelves too long, set in Marseilles! It’s also my 10th Read More

More #20BooksofSummer22 – Braithwaite & Mason

No 5: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason So much was written about this novel when published last year, and then it was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize this year and even more got written. I acquired my copy last summer – put it in a pile and forgot about it until this summer! As Read More

Truly, Deeply, Darkly by Victoria Selman

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to win a signed proof of this psychological thriller during Quercus’s Summer Preview on zoom. Now I’ve read it, and it really lived up to its title and I’m delighted to take part in the blog tour for it. Narrated by Sophie, now in her early thirties, Read More

Through a Vet’s Eyes by Sean Wensley FRCVS – Blog tour

‘How We Can All Choose a Better Life for Animals’ Gosh! This book made me think! It made me feel guilty: Firstly for enjoying eating meat. Although not written to discourage that, or promote vegetarianism at all, the author does strongly promote that we (those who can afford it) should eat better welfare meat – Read More

#NovNov – Translated fiction novellas from the archives

Week 3 of Novellas in November month (hosted by Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books) turns its attention to translated books. If I get my act together, I’ll have read 2 French, 2 German and 2 Danish novellas and might even get some reviews posted. But until then, here’s a selection of translated novellas from my Read More

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