The Bear and the Nightingale and Girl in the Tower, Katherine Arden

  I feel terribly guilty reviewing these books two at a time. They are too good to be treated like this! They are a delicious treat and parcelling them up together simply for convenience and to save time feels wrong. But, I’m still doing it. These novels are two parts of a mythic fairytale set…

A Skinful Of Shadows, Frances Hardinge

Cards on the table. I adore Frances Hardinge. She can, in my humble eyes, do no wrong. I would buy a telephone directory with her name attached to it as an author! Her Cuckoo Song was a masterpiece. The sort of novel which I wish I had more than my self-imposed five stars to give…

The Dry, Jane Harper

This book had won a range of prizes by the time I got to reading it: Australia Indie Book and Indie Debut of the Year 2017; Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year; CWA Gold Dagger. It even became the Radio 2 Book Club Choice. I think I read somewhere that film rights have been…

Oathbringer, Brandon Sanderson

I was concerned about the shift in tone from the end of the second book in The Stormlight Archive, Words of Radiance: Kaladin and Shallan had been lost characters slowly discovering their powers and paths in their own way, interracting with their spren and learning in a softly organic way; as Words of Radiance ends, Knights…

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman

We all know that old bloke on the corner who glowers at us, the one with a face like a bulldog sucking lemons, the one who barks at us for dropping litter or parking in the wrong place. The one who we suspect goes around the house grumbling about the radiators being on. Hell, I fear…

The Boy On The Bridge, M. R. Carey

There are times when comfort, familiarity and ease are, actually, exactly what you need; at other times, by all means, challenge me, make me confront my preconceptions, subvert my genres in different ways. When I’m tired, poorly and stressed, however, enfold me in familiar settings, tropes and – hell, yes – even the comfort of…

The Plague Charmer, Karen Maitland

As the image above shows, this book is another historical fiction novel by the author of Company of Liars, which I read and enjoyed a while ago. It wasn’t a great book but it was an enjoyable enough read, earning a decent four star review here. I was expecting something similarly entertaining and comfortable reading….

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017

It being March, the CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist has been announced and I’m embarking on the ritual of trying to read them. This year, the list is:

The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch

 It’s a funny thing about series. What is original and unique can become familiar and even – dare I say it? – stale as a series goes on. They become perhaps over-thought or overworked like a piece of dough that’s had the life kneaded out of it. I wonder whether that’s what has happened with…

Grave Peril, Jim Butcher

It’s a Dresden File. It’s Harry Dresden; it’s Jim Butcher. Even after reading only the previous two novels, I already know what to expect. It’s also a step up from the previous two novels in the series: the prose is still very, well, prosaic; Dresden is still a wise cracking hard boiled detective with magic;…

The Voyage Of The Basilisk, Marie Brennan

Still trying to catch up on my reviews which have been delayed thanks to writing a whole bunch of schemes of learning for work and a delightfully full-on three year old daughter, I realised I’d missed this one. The third installment of the Lady Trent memoirs – set in a fictional but faintly vwiled and…

Fool Moon, Jim Butcher

Book Two of the Dresden Files. Pretty similar to book one, really! Special Investigations, Karrin Murphy, Bob the Skull, potions brewed, magic used. This time around, we have werewolves! Seriously, there’s not much more to say: it’s smart and sassy, it’s got magic and werewolves. It is not high literature! It’s a decently written, fast…