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 Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley

There is something very frustrating about this book. It was so close to being great that the fact that it wasn’t great is so disappointing. The premise sounded brilliant: members of a religious community go on a retreat to an isolated location; suspicious and sinister villagers mill around; a young boy is being prayed for…

The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne

  Some books you can knock out a review in a moment or two after reading them. Others take time to digest and consider and reflect on. And this beautiful, heart-aching, visceral, funny, tragic novel is one of the latter. But as yesterday was the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Intersexism and Transphobia  – should…

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar

I do love historical fiction and this is one of the best I’ve read for a while! Intricately plotted, rigourously researched and with vivid and well-drawn characters. And none of those elements displaced by any other. And with just a touch of magical realism thrown in. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Hilary Mantel…

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

Sometimes, you read a short story that leaves you wanting more and makes you wish that the writer had extended it to a novel length. With this novel, well written and crafted as it is, I wonder whether it could have been reduced to a short story. Or began life as a short story or…

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….

Catch Up

For various reasons – Ofsted, toddler, family visits – I’ve not been able to add reviews recently and am about to try to catch-up. Once again. As an aide memoir to myself, to you – and a short cut to adding photos later, the books I’m yet to review are: Autumn by Ali Smith: gorgeous,…

His Bloody Project,Graeme Macrae Burnet

Authenticity is often what we look for in a book. Is the setting authentic? Are my characters authentic? Is my voice authentic? Is my lexis authentic? It doesn’t take much sometimes to pull a reader from a novel and inauthenticity can do it. I’ve still got concerns about the use of the f-word in Hilary…

Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz

Detective fiction is a funny thing. The moment of most conflict and drama generally takes place outside the narrative, often before detective has been called in. The narrative arc is pretty formulaic: scenes are inspected, witnesses interviewed, discrepancies explored. And the conclusion is pretty predicable: the culprit is identified and society made safe from him…

The Girl of Ink and Stars, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

  This certainly has a distinctive and gorgeous cover on it, which has graced the window front of local bookshops for weeks! But they do say that you shouldn’t just a book etc etc etc … The book is narrated by Isabella, a young girl on the island of Joya, who has been brought up on…

H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald

I mostly read fiction: an escapist flight from the same rigours of the real world – work, a beautiful but demanding three-year old – that have kept me from keeping up-to-date with my reviews! So this book has languished on my kindle to-be-read pile for a while. A pretty long while. Which just goes to…