The Overstory, Richard Powers

“Let me sing to you, about how creatures become other things” I was brought up – and still live – very much in the countryside. A safe, British countryside. I know my oak from my elm for my yew. I am currently harvesting apples and blackberries from the garden, looking forward to the walnuts being…

Touch, Claire North

Poor Claire North. She brought out The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August as I read Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life; I pick up Touch just after reading A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge. And both times, she comes a slight second in similar and comparable fantasy scenarios. Imagine being able to switch your…

The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau, Graeme Macrae Burnet

Graeme Macrae Burnet came to my attention through the Booker Prize: I loved his His Bloody Project novel with its multiple voices and setting, evocatively recreating the brutality of life in Scottish crofting communities. It was on the strength of that that I picked up this, the first of his Detective Gorski novels and –…

The Muse, Jessie Burton

I adored The Miniaturist! It was one of those books which had stayed with me: the cold of her repressed Amsterdam, the sweetness of marzipan, the claustrophobic house. The hint of the supernatural. The difficult, prickly bond between the women. So it was with pleasure and anticipation that I began The Muse and it took…

Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Marie Brennan

Sometimes we just need the familiar and the comfortable, don’t we? A warm cuddle of a book. The Natural History of Dragons series by Marie Brennan, of which Within the Sanctuary of Wings is the fifth and, it would appear final, installment, is one of those series. It’s not challenging; it’s a tad formulaic by…

See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. Oh, Sarah Schmidt can write! What a strange strange thing to start a review with! But there is writing and there is writing and Sarah Schmidt can write! Not only can she create a…

Weekly Round Up 4th June

So, half term is over and we’re all back at work. As predicted, I didn’t find enough time to complete a book since the last round up so I’m still reading Sarah Schmidt’s See What I have Done and am warming to it much more. She has a gorgeous way of creating voice in her four…

Weekly Round Up 28th May

Okay, so some books are a quicker read than others, sometimes life, children and work get in the way of reading and finishing a book. Half-terms always seem like a good time to catch up on that eternal TBR pile … but then life intervenes and you end up standing in a river in glorious…

The Black Book of Secrets, F. E. Higgins

Every year, I determine to teach at least one text which is new to me that year – which with a shrinking pool to choose from at GCSE becomes harder year-one-year – and that is why I have stumbled upon F. E. Higgins’ The Black Book of Secrets. It is an odd little book –…

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…