Book Review: Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance… Continue reading Book Review: Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones

Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected - Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully,… Continue reading Book Review: The Mermaid of Black Conch, Monique Roffey

Book Review: The Golden Rule, Amanda Craig

There are people who read out of necessity, and people who read out of love. Hannah was one of the latter, and when she found a book she liked she sank into it as if into another world. Voices, music, pneumatic drills all became inaudible; she was the kind of child who would go off… Continue reading Book Review: The Golden Rule, Amanda Craig

Top Five Saturday: Retellings

The Top 5 series is back! Top Five Saturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books to discover and share books that all have a common theme. Previously on the blog I have focused on witches, werewolves, thrillers, faeries, fairy tale re-tellings, high fantasy and many more. I am going to try and bring this series back for… Continue reading Top Five Saturday: Retellings

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern

It has been an age since I read The Night Circus - so long ago that this blog did not exist - but I remember it as ephemeral, atmospheric, beautiful and moving. So the news this year that Morgenstern was bringing out another novel was huge - huge! So it was downloaded on the day… Continue reading The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern

The Secret Commonwealth, Philip Pullman

Oh Lyra Belacqua, Lyra Silvertongue. I devoured the original trilogy of your journeys to the North. Bolvangar, Svalbad, Iorek Byrnison, The World of the Dead. I adored the Miltonic and Blakean echoes. Fell in love with the mercurial, quick witted, innocent girl. Loved the world created by Pullman, the familiarity of it, the uncanniness, the… Continue reading The Secret Commonwealth, Philip Pullman

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

There are some books you want to love so much, but which - for some reason - you cannot. There's a barrier between you and what you think you should feel about the book. And this is one of those books. There is so much about it that chimed wonderfully with all the things I… Continue reading Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18!

Returning to this Book Challenge - I fear optimistically as the prospect of returning to work looms! - we meet Day 18 and A book you like by an author no longer living. Now, as I've said before, I've had to read widely and enjoyed a huge variety of books written by people who have… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 14!

Heading towards the half way point. Slowly. I'm aiming to finish by Christmas, possibly on Christmas Day which gives me 20 days in which to complete the final 16. Still a little bit of leeway! Anyway, today's challenge is A fairytale retelling. And there are a lot of these to choose from, even if we… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day 14!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 11!

So moving on with this, the challenge has shifted to characters for today rather than novels with the challenge to find  A literary character you want to have dinner (or drinks) with. Can I not just ask for all of them? Not together. Obviously. I don't have enough chairs! It's my blog and my rules,… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day 11!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Six!

Today's challenge is to identify  A book that broke your heart. There is only one contender in this category and it is Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls. I have read this novel a dozen times: initially as simply a book for myself; later as a class read for work. I have read it in my head… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day Six!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Four!

Day Four and I'm still up to date and this time we are looking at A book you remember from childhood. I cannot recall a time when I did not read - often to escape the attentions of family! - so there are a lot to consider. Again! Enid Blyton was a staple of my… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day Four!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Two!

Today's task: Favourite book by favourite author. Wait! What?! I have to pick one?! One?! Was this challenge not supposed to be fun? Okay. Let's narrow down the favourite authors part. As with the previous day, let's look at them by genre, too. I'm going to kick off with the obvious: Shakespeare. Not trying to… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day Two!

The Winter of the Witch, Katherine Arden

Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC / Proof Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. How exciting! My first ARC review! My first ARC review! My first ARC review! This is the third in Arden's Winternight Trilogy which commenced with The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower,… Continue reading The Winter of the Witch, Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch, Katherine Arden

So excited that an ARC of The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden has been dispatched today! Book three of the Winternight Trilogy. I love Vasilisa Petrovna - firey, alien and other - the phoenix dominating that cover. I adore Arden's writing, her Russian folklore, the historical authenticity. And Morozko. And Solovey. It is… Continue reading The Winter of the Witch, Katherine Arden

The Sleeper and the Spindle, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

There are times when I love my job. Some. On rare occasions. One of those times came today when I spotted a copy of The Sleeper and the Spindle on the side in the library and I was asked to have a read of it over night and see whether I thought it was suitable.… Continue reading The Sleeper and the Spindle, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

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… Continue reading The Bear and the Nightingale and Girl in the Tower, Katherine Arden

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… Continue reading A Skinful Of Shadows, Frances Hardinge

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,… Continue reading Catch Up

The Likeness, Tana French

I do enjoy Tana French. Her writing style is simultaneously lyrical and languid, full of synaethesia; and, at the same time, credible and realistic. And this, her second novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series, is a delight! I love the way that it follows seamlessly on the heels of In The Woods and Operation Vestal -… Continue reading The Likeness, Tana French

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… Continue reading The Girl of Ink and Stars, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Trees, Ali Shaw

This book might win the most striking cover award this year: the stunning autumnal russets and reds are gorgeous! But you know what they say about judging books by their covers? As a parent and as a teacher, we trot out that truism time and again but on what else are you going to judge… Continue reading The Trees, Ali Shaw

The Lie Tree, Francis Hardinge

I am coming to adore Frances Hardinge! I've only read this and Cuckoo Song to be fair, but there's something about her imagination and her writing which chimes with me: dark, intensely personal, yet somehow mythic at the same time. She captures a sense of wonder,  of terror, of awe which is simultaneously so childlike… Continue reading The Lie Tree, Francis Hardinge

Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge 

  This is a remarkable novel. Of the three CILIP Carnegie nominees I've read, this is my clear front runner. And I'm saying that having read Patrick Ness! Before I review it, however, I'm going to play a game with my sixteen year-old stepson, whose birthday it is today. Despite his protestations, he is going… Continue reading Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge