The Mirror Visitor quartet – the final installment

The Storm of Echoes by Christelle Dabos Translated by Hildegarde Serle When I was sent a copy of the first volume in this fantasy quartet of novels by Daniela at Europa Editions in 2018, I fell in love with Christelle Dabos’ world-building in its fractured planet, the wonderfully realised young heroine Ophelia and anti-hero Thorn. Read More

Lots of Shiny Linkiness

Time to catch up here with a bit of linkiness to my reviews published at Shiny New Books, there have been several over the past weeks I’ve not mentioned here. Star Turns by Tim Walker Journalist Tim Walker has worked at many publications, currently at the New European, where he resurrected the Mandrake diary column Read More

Love Under Lockdown by Michael Estorick – Blog Tour

I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for this gentle comedy about two ageing chaps taking them from the Brexit referendum through to the end of the first Covid lockdown. Bill and Pete have been best friends for 55 years, they’re now in their mid-sixties, and retired. Estorick first wrote about them in Read More

July Watchlist

This was such a busy month, especially at the beginning with all the end of term stuff – trips were back on for that last fortnight – big time! Also my daughter came home from uni, I had the School magazine to compile, cover shifts at school on admin, etc etc. So I didn’t get 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

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

Review Catch-up – Tadjo, Fuller and Benson

My review pile runneth over and there are a couple of books that I would have reviewed for Shiny, but I don’t feel I can write a long piece on, so I will cover them here in my review round-up. In the Company of Men by Véronique Tadjo Back in 2014, the world awoke to 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

The Book Blogger’s Prize – the results are in!

It’s been a while coming, but the results are finally in and a winner has been announced. Sadly it wasn’t me! However, I’d like to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me and my review of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, a book I’ve championed since its publication Read More

The NB Blogger’s Book Prize! Vote Closes on the 17th.

First of all, a big thank you to Rebecca who pointed this prize out to me, I might have missed the submission date otherwise. NB, formerly New Books, Magazine is ‘a literary magazine and online platform for book lovers, book clubs and all round bibliophiles.’ I used to subscribe to it in its initial guise, 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

February watchlist…

February has been a great month for watching as well as reading. This year I’ve started keeping a watchlist diary. I reported on Facebook for Jan, but want to say more about some of the items I watched, hence this post… Movies on the Small Screen Firstly, my movie of the month is… News of Read More

A case of act first, think later…

I Was Jack Mortimer by Alexander Lernet-Holenia Translated by Ignat Avsey Alexander Lernet-Holenia was Austrian, a protégé of Rilke, he wrote poems, novels, plays and screenplays. He served during both world wars, but managed to keep his distance from the National Socialist Party. I Was Jack Mortimer (Ich war Jack Mortimer) was published in 1933, 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

More Book Spine Poetry

Last year in lockdown, I made several stacks of books to create some book spine poetry, having tried it previously here some years prior. My first lockdown one was a Paul Auster poem here, followed by a ‘lockdown special pair here. Doing some cleaning up of files on my computer, I discovered another one I Read More

2021 Reading Plans

Firstly 2020 Reading Plans – How did I do? State of the TBR – I did actually read ten more books than 2019 from the TBR that I’d owned before 2020 began, but over the year I’ve added loads to it too. Blame it on lockdown browsing. However, I’ve decided that now I’m 60, I’m Read More

Book Group Report: “I” is for Ice by Anna Kavan & 2020 wrap-up

Ice by Anna Kavan was my suggestion. So many bloggers I know have read and loved it, not least Kaggsy, who reviewed recentish reissues of it for Shiny New Books here. First published in 1967, this novella has become an uncategorisable cult classic. There’s a hint of dystopia about it, there’s a hint of cli-fi Read More

Reviews catch-up: Harris, Murata, Daré & Wigglesworth

My pile of read but not yet reviewed books runneth over, so some shorter notes follow, plus some Shiny linkiness. The Book Lover’s Quiz Book – Novel Conundrums by Gary Wigglesworth My full review of this fun book is over at Shiny, but I’m writing about it here too as it’s an ideal Christmas present Read More

Smoke and mirrors – some novels about Magicians

Novels involving magicians – illusionists and conjurors rather than Gandalf types that is, score highly on my literary theme radar. I love all their skills, sleight of hand and misdirection, the optical illusions, all backed up by patter or a stage presence that fools us. Nowadays, of course, we exclaim in wonderment “how did they Read More

Short Non-Fiction for Novellas in November #NovNov – Bill Bailey!

Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness Saturday nights have been bright again since Strictly returned to our screens – the absolute highlight not being the fit young things, but the utter seriousness being given to learning to dance given by Bill Bailey, partnered by Oti. (with Ranvir and Giovanni delighting too). Bill is clearly trying Read More

Weekend Miscellany

Last night I planned to sit in my hotel room in Leeds and read a book – just couldn’t read. I was aching from all the carrying I’d done, and all the noises around me, hotel ones and student ones from the huge accommodation block next door where I’d deposited my daughter earlier, kept me Read More

The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen – Blogtour

Last year I read Helen Cullen’s delightful debut, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, reviewed here. This novel about a chap who works at the Dead Letter Depot, reuniting lost letters and parcels with their intended recipients, sometimes years later, was an ideal spring into summer read for me (in paperback) with a great premise Read More

Bringing Vernon’s story to a close – VS3 by Virginie Despentes

Vernon Subutex 1-3 by Virginie Despentes Translated by Frank Wynne It was back in 2017 that Vernon Subutex first came to us in translation, in volume 1 of a planned trilogy following the (slightly Reggie Perrinesque) fall and rise of Vernon. The first book was published in France in 2015. I highly recommend these books Read More

The Inside and Out Book Tag

I got this tag from Calmgrove, who got it from Bookforager who got it from someone else. (I wonder what its ‘R-number’ is? 😀 ) 1. Inside flap/back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough? Unless I’m in a bookshop browsing, I try not to read blurbs in too much detail. In a Read More

Binge-Watching

At the tail-end of 2016, I read Clive James’s book on binge-watching TV box sets, Play All, which I reviewed here. Personal old favourites of mine, The Sopranos, The West Wing and NYPD Blue featured strongly in this book, and looking back at my review of it, I really ought to re-watch The Sopranos from Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Normal People

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. Our starting book this month is: Normal People by Sally Rooney I haven’t read this Read More