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

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

Two reviews – a dystopian debut and an Irish crime thriller

The Third Magpie by M.S. Clements The Third Magpie is a dystopian romance set in an insular post-Brexit England, now called New Albany, that is (at least partly inspired by I’d wager, and) approaching Atwood’s Gilead in some of its strictures. Sons are revered, young women are once again chattels, to be married off in Read More

Reading Wales & Ireland

One each for the Wales Readathon hosted by Paula and Reading Ireland Month hosted by Cathy today. The Dig by Cynan Jones This novella has sat on my shelves for a few years. I meant to read it for last year’s #Dewithon but ran out of time, so it was my first choice for Welsh Read More

A Mexican tragedy – a thriller as reportage

Call Him Mine by Tim MacGabhann the book you have in front of you now – isn’t quite a nonfiction novel, and it’s most certainly not news, but it’s not quite fiction, either. In Mexico, there’s a strong tradition of the crónica, a hybrid form that owes its subjectivity to reportage, its questioning of onjectivity Read More

Reading Ireland Month #1

Cathy at 746 Books and Niall at The Fluff is Raging are our hosts once again for Reading Ireland Month, celebrating Irish literature and culture. I hope to be able to fit in a second book by a certain much-feted young Irish novelist before the month ends, but today here’s my review of… Modern Gods by Nick Read More

Two new crime thrillers – Harper and Spain

Today I have a review and a Shiny link for you – both thrillers published today. The Lost Man by Jane Harper Let me get the Shiny link out of the way first. The Lost Man is Harper’s third crime thriller, set in the Australian outback. Whereas her first two featured Aaron Falk, a cop Read More

Norton proves he can write…

I haven’t yet read Norton’s first novel, Holding, but having now read his second, I would definitely like to go back and read the other.  A Keeper falls into commercial fiction territory, but there’s nothing wrong with that. In A Keeper, Norton proves that he can create great characters, who set into a twisty plot, Read More

Comedy and the Booker Prize

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle Over at Shiny New Books, it has been ‘Booker Week’ – a decade by decade review of (nearly) all the winning titles and some that missed out on the prize. One of my contributions was to re-read and review Roddy Doyle’s winner – Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Read More

Reading Ireland month

March is Reading Ireland Month, as always hosted by Cathy at 746 books and Niall at The Fluff is Raging.  I forgot that Tana French in my previous post is Irish, so I’ve actually read two books by Irish authors this month (plus another coming up for Shiny next week). Here’s the second…   From a Low Read More

What ‘Elle Thinks’ is Right … Tana French is Fab!

In the Woods by Tana French Every time Eleanor of Elle Thinks mentions Tana French (the latest being here), I say ‘I must read one of her books’. Tana French is one of Eleanor’s go-to comfort reads, and she is always recommending her.  Well, now I have read French’s first novel, and I can see Read More

Two shorter reviews – McInerny and Viskic

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerny I read and reviewed McInerny’s debut, The Glorious Heresies back in January, and although she paints a bleak picture of life for the dispossesed in Cork, the novel fizzed with sweary, gritty humour. I enjoyed it a lot, and was looking forward to The Blood Miracles. One of the Read More

More short takes

In an effort to clear my TBReviewed pile, here are two more shorter reviews: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle (re-read) This was our book group choice for last month – when we picked from a shortlist with a ‘Music’ theme. It was a re-read for me, and gosh this story of Jimmy Rabbitte and his Read More

A banned book for Reading Ireland

The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien I’ve been meaning to read more by O’Brien ever since I inherited my Mum’s old Penguins. She was a fan of O’Brien and I really enjoyed her Earthy novel August is a Wicked Month. I had thought to start the Country Girls trilogy sooner but found I was missing the first volume Read More

An Atwoodian YA tale…

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill It’s rare that a cover quote on a book cover sums up a novel so completely, but the one from Vagenda on one of the paperback editions of Louise O’Neill’s debut novel is near-perfect: ‘Mean Girls meets The Handmaid’s Tale’ But of course I can’t leave it there! The moment I Read More

Shiny New Books Issue 8

I can’t believe that when our next issue of Shiny New Books comes out at the beginning of April, we will have been going for two whole years! The last issue of our second year is out today and features the winning poem in the first Shiny Poetry  Competition – it’s lovely. Naturally, you’ll find a handful of reviews Read More

A nasty piece of work is Oliver…

Apologies for not getting any posts up for a few days – it’s been a bit hectic – what with a first aid training course, back to school and all that entails, plus of course a wonderful quick trip down to London on Wednesday to have tea at the Wolseley Restaurant on Piccadilly with my Read More

Smoke and Mirrors?

The Illusionist by Jennifer Johnston Jennifer Johnston is Dublin-born, and won the Whitbread prize for her novel The Old Jest in 1979; The Illusionist was published in 1995.  It tells the story of Stella and Martyn who meet on a train, fall in love, get married, have a child, fall out of love, then Martyn Read More