The Kon-Tiki Expedition by Thor Heyerdahl Translated by F H Lyon This was our book group choice for this month, with a sea theme linking from last month’s read, The Old Man & the Sea – yes, we’re playing word association football with our titles at the moment. It was a hit with everyone. We Read More
#TDiRS22 – The Dark is Rising Sequence Book 4: The Grey King
A bit later than originally planned, but I hope you’re still with me as we come to the fourth of the five books in Susan Cooper’s wonderful children’s adventure fantasy series, The Grey King, published in 1975. Catch up with the previous posts here: Introduction Over Sea, Under Stone The Dark is Rising Greenwitch This Read More
#TDiRS22 – The Dark is Rising Sequence Book 3: Greenwitch
Now this is more like it! In the first volume of the series Over Sea, Under Stone, we met the Drew children, Simon, Jane and Barney who had an adventure with their Great-Uncle Merry in Cornwall and found the grail, which was given to the British Museum. The Drews were missing from the second volume Read More
#1954Club & #Narniathon21
It’s always nice when one book covers two tags, namely this month’s read in Chris at Calmgrove‘s Narniathon and The 1954 Club in the biannual year’s reading week hosted by Karen and Simon. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis This month we come to the fifth book in published order – in 1954 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
Crime Panel event at Mostly Books
Last night, I went to my local indie bookshop, Mostly Books in Abingdon, for their latest Crime Panel event. We had not just one or two, but five crime authors talking about their work! Olivia Kiernan, CJ ‘Caz’ Tudor, Andrew Wilson, Mick Herron and Dominick Donald. It was such a treat, and thank you to Read More
A sequel I couldn’t wait to read…
The Missing of Clairdelune: The Mirror Visitor Book 2 by Christelle Dabos Translated by Hildegarde Serle One of the best books I read last year was a chunkster in translation – the first volume of four, no less. A political and dystopian, fantasy adventure, written with YA readers in mind, A Winter’s Promise was just Read More
The 1965 Club
We’ve come back around to the 1960s in the twice yearly reading week hosted by Simon and Karen, 1965 was the year selected, and being one of my favourite decades, it was easy to find a candidate to read… The Drought by J.G. Ballard This novel, Ballard’s third, was first published in 1964 in the Read More
A spec fiction novel that was almost too much!
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson Imagine, if you can, a world where the worst thing that can happen to ordinary folk is your pizza not arriving within thirty minutes of placing the order. That is such a bad thing, that the head of the Mafia, Uncle Enzo, who runs the Cosa Nostra Pizza business Read More
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley I reviewed Pulley’s first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (reviewed here) for Shiny a couple of years ago, and recently reviewed her second The Bedlam Stacks there too. I loved both books, but after the delight that was Watchmaker, Stacks goes even further in developing the relationship between Read More
Aug/Sept Book Group Report: SF & Naval books
Our book group didn’t meet in August as nearly everyone was on hols, so last night we had two books to discuss. The way we pick our books is to chose a theme two months ahead, then research and next month present our suggestions, of which one gets picked eventually. SF: Flowers for Algernon by Read More
For the love of good old-fashioned adventure…
Here’s the thing. Now we’re through the beginnings of the computer age, and are in the global communications age – don’t you think that (most) modern thrillers have got too technological? And with those technological advances, plots become bogged down with it all, there’s so much telling about the technology necessary to explain what’s happening Read More
YA adventure in Revolutionary France
Blade and Bone by Catherine Johnson This book was published to coincide with October’s Black History Month, so I fear my review is a little late, however, better late than never and this was a YA book well worth reading. Blade and Bone is the sequel to Sawbones which is where we would have first met Read More
Great Characters, Great Adventure, Great Space!
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers This SF novel has been one of the great discoveries of recent years – a self-published kickstarter debut that was picked up by a big publisher and then longlisted for the Baileys Prize earlier this year. The book is now shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Read More
A Soviet Adventure with Dennis Wheatley
The Forbidden Territory by Dennis Wheatley Earlier this year I reported on an afternoon spent at the Groucho Club arranged by literary agents PFD, hearing about the novels of Dennis Wheatley (and John Creasey). I finally managed to make time to read a Wheatley … The Forbidden Territory was Wheatley’s first published novel in 1933. It was an instant bestseller Read More
A great end to a fantastic YA trilogy
Half Lost by Sally Green I’ve loved all three volumes of Sally Green’s Half Bad Trilogy. In the first, Half Bad, we were introduced to the young Nathan Byrn, son of a white witch mother and the most powerful of the black witches as his father. England is controlled by the Council of (white) Witches, and Nathan Read More
Celebrating John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley
Yesterday I went to another of literary agency PFD’s salons at the Groucho Club, this time to celebrate the books and lives of John Creasey and Dennis Wheatley. Authors who were read by everyone at their peaks, hugely influential with totally different lives and styles – yet as we discovered, they have a lovely connection… Read More
Can’t wait for this TV adaptation, but had to read the book first…
The Night Manager by John Le Carré I can’t be the only person who is eagerly anticipating the BBC’s adaptation of Le Carré’s 1993 novel The Night Manager this weekend. Hiddleston and Laurie feel like perfect casting, and I’d watch anything with Olivia Colman in. Interestingly, Colman’s character is male in the book, but Le Read More
Exit, pursued by a bear – a winter’s tale…
The Revenant by Michael Punke You thought you were getting Shakey didn’t you? But those words so fit this novel which the much-lauded movie starring Leo was based on too! I’ve not seen the film of The Revenant and don’t want to. I’m not attracted to watching two and a half hours of Rocky Mountain winters full of gore, Read More
This year I’m going to read more graphic novels and started with these…
Lumberjanes I & II by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis, co-created by Sharon Watters and illustrated by Brooke Allen Vol I – Beware the Kitten Holy There was a lot of talk in 2015 about the Lumberjanes – espcially since the comics have been collected into softbacks for our delectation. Two volumes are currently available comprising 4 Read More
Classic Children's Literature Month
The blog Simpler Pastimes is hosting a month-long Classic Children’s Literature Event. Given that I’m only reading from my TBR piles and have plenty of children’s classics, it was ideal to join in with. But which one should I read? Should I revisit a much-loved tale that I loved as a child? Or one that Read More
Half bad? Not at all … it’s all good!
Half Bad by Sally Green This is the latest teen crossover fantasy hit that everyone’s reading, The Hunger Games is so last year dahling! At first I was resistant, but when it was picked for our book group choice, I grasped the mettle and am really glad I did read it. If you read the blurb which Read More
John Buchan meets Umberto Eco via Dan Brown
The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb, translated by Len Rix OK – so I put Dan Brown into the title of this post to grab your attention! While I totally agree with the rest of the world that the Da Vinci Code is not great literature, there is no denying that however silly the whole Read More
Mix Douglas Adams with Jewish Mysticism, Marco Polo, a dash of the X-Men and time travel for weird fun!
A Highly Unlikely Scenario : Or, a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World by Rachel Cantor If I said that a wacky speculative fiction novel about a 21st century world governed by the philosophies adopted by fast food chains was actually great fun to read, you might begin to doubt my sanity. I Read More
A charming adventure inside fairy tales …
Most of you will know Ian Beck’s work without even realising it. He is an illustrator of renown and amongst many other things designed the cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John. In the early 1980s, he started to write and illustrate picture books for young children, and later moved into writing children’s novels. Read More
Rediscovering Alderley Edge’s Old Magic
This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen & The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner After going to see a lecture given by Alan Garner, reported here, I naturally wanted to read more by him, and especially to (re)read the Weirdstone Trilogy. In Read More
Gothic with a twist
Isabel’s Skin by Peter Benson Peter Benson is one of those underrated British authors that never write the same book twice. Each novel is different. I’ve only read one of his before: that was Odo’s Hanging about the commissioning of the Bayeux Tapestry published in the mid 1990s. Lately he’s been best known for Two Cows and Read More
The Glass Books Trilogy – an awfully fun adventure!
The Glass Books Trilogy by G W Dahlquist Bantam in the USA, reputedly paid début novelist Dahlquist an advance of $2,000,000 for the first two installments in this series. Although the first was well received, apparently they lost shedloads of money on the deal. Penguin, the books’ publisher in the UK, also published the first volume with a Read More
A classic adventure
The 39 Steps by John Buchan (1915) Richard Hannay is newly returned from living in South Africa, and he’s already bored with London. Everything seems to be happening elsewhere, especially in the Near East, and the Greek Premier, Karolides, seems to feature. “It struck me that Albania was the sort of place that might keep Read More
Australian Literature Month – Just about made it!
This January has been Australian Literature Month, hosted by Kim at Reading Matters, and the interweb has been alive with Aussie Lit. Before I give my thoughts on the book I read for the month, I’d like to recall my very first experience of Australian books… It was the early 1970s I think, and my Read More