Finishing #Narniathon21 – The Last Battle

And so we reach the final book of CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia – the last to be published and the last chronologically. The Last Battle was also the first of my 20 Books of Summer, read at the beginning of June, and I’ve been mulling over how to approach writing about it ever since. Read More

Herne the Hunter & the Great North Wood

Mischief Acts by Zoe Gilbert I shall be reviewing this wonderful novel in full for Shiny New Books very soon. But I loved it so much, and it got me thinking so much about it’s themes, locations and references that I needed to write more about it. Let me briefly fill you in on the Read More

England’s library estate (with detours)

Before getting started with my review of the book pictured above, I just wanted to share a little about the three Croydon Borough libraries that shaped my childhood and adolescence. Coulsdon Library was the one I went to as a child every weekend to replenish my stock of reading materials. The children’s library had a Read More

Red is My Heart by Antoine Laurain & Le Sonneur

The Other Red Notebook? Translated by Jane Aitken I’ve read everything by Laurain that the wonderful Gallic Books has translated. I’m a big fan of his brand of entertaining novels, mostly driven by key objects be it a hat, a notebook, a tape, a portrait, cigarettes, a bottle of wine, or a manuscript – I’ve Read More

My Year in Irish Lit

It’s Week 2 of Reading Ireland Month, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. The prompt for this week is ‘My Year in Irish Lit’, and it is a pleasure to go back through the year to last March and see how many books by Irish authors I read – I was pleasantly surprised by the Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: The End of the Affair

First Saturday of the month, and it’s time for the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is 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. I’m Read More

#NordicFINDS – Iceland Week – living the dream?

Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss Novelist Sarah Moss fell in love with Iceland during a trip with a friend as a student. Years later, she was beginning to get itchy feet at the University of Kent and began looking for a job abroad. It just so happened that her husband lost his job Read More

Review of the Year #1 – 2021, A Year of Reading and Blogging

As always, 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. (By the way, the cute calendar comes from Asking For Trouble). Let’s go through the year first… JANUARY – saw the start of the 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

#NovNov – Review round-up – 4 more novellas/short NF

I had a great month (plus a few days at the end of October) fitting in as many novellas as I could alongside other reading for #SciFiMonth and general for Novellas in November hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. I’m left with several yet to review – two short NF reads, and Read More

Two SF Novellas for #NovNov #SciFiMonth

Another opportunity to tick two boxes with one blog post. This time two superb novellas for Novellas in November and both SF for Sci Fi Month. The Employees: A Workplace novel of the 22nd Century by Olga Ravn Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken This is the most unconventionally structured book I’ve read this Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: What Are You Going Through

Last month was the first I’ve missed of my favourite monthly tag for ages! Six Degrees of Separation is 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 Read More

RIP XVI – The Spirit Engineer by A J West

I’m not the biggest reader of historical fiction, but a quote on the press release for The Spirit Engineer by Derren Brown (big, big fan) sold me instantly, and of course ’tis the season for spooky reads. What’s more this novel is a fictional account based on real events, in which science meets spiritualism head Read More

Weekend Miscellany

GoodReads Challenge I’ve done it! Pressure’s off now, except I’d like to beat my best ever total of 142 in 2018! With a clutch of novellas (see more below) that might be doable too! However, I doubt I’ll reach my best ever total page count of over 41k from 2016, I’m currently in the 31k Read More

I had to treat myself…

To a third copy of Lord of the Rings I’ve already got these… On the left my single volume paperback from the 1970s, on the right one of the 50th anniversary editions – in this case illustrated by Alan Lee, which together with its companion 60th anniversary Hobbit was part of my joining offer to Read More

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