Book Review: Hare House, Sally Hinchcliffe

In the first brisk days of autumn, a woman arrives in Scotland having left her job at an all-girls school in London in mysterious circumstances. Moving into a cottage on the remote estate of Hare House, she begins to explore her new home – a patchwork of hills, moorland and forest. But among the tiny… Continue reading Book Review: Hare House, Sally Hinchcliffe

Top Ten Tuesday: Hallowe’en Freebie

 Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics September 7: Books Guaranteed to Put… Continue reading Top Ten Tuesday: Hallowe’en Freebie

Book Review: Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath -- but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.Sealed… Continue reading Book Review: Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

Mini Book Review: Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

When glamorous socialite Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband, Virgil Doyle, is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable,… Continue reading Mini Book Review: Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Review: The Deathless Girls, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

‘What did he say before you murdered him?’‘He asked me to kill him.’‘That’s convenient,’ she said.‘And told me the Dragon had made his daughter a monster. He told me she was strigoi. They say the thirst for blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.’ I remember really… Continue reading Book Review: The Deathless Girls, Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review: White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

“But then, maybe “I don’t believe in you” is the cruelest way to kill a monster.” Oyeyemi has been on my radar for a while, but has been languishing on my bookshelf for longer than she deserves. There were words and phrases connected to her which tantalised - fairy tale, gothic, ghost, unconventional - and… Continue reading Book Review: White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi

Book Review: Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado

Stories can sense happiness and snuff it out like a candle. I have a certain weakness in my reading, and that is fairytales. Fairytales that cleave to the dark and unnerving quality of pre-Disney versions. Fairytales which are anything but children's stories. Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber is one of my favourite books and a… Continue reading Book Review: Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado

Book Review: Pine, Francine Toon

“'My mum.’ The images of death are involuntary and relentless: crushed snail shells, veins in meat, vampire teeth, soil filling a mouth.” The year's end is always a great time to read a chilling novel: I remember finishing 2018 with Melmoth by Sarah Perry; 2019 with Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley; and now 2020… Continue reading Book Review: Pine, Francine Toon

Starve Acre, Andrew Michael Hurley

Wow! This was deliciously dark and disturbing! An ideal creepy read for that strange, unsettling time between Christmas and the New Year, where no one quite knows what day of the week it is or how long they have left on holiday! I'd listened to The Loney by Hurley as an audiobook a little while… Continue reading Starve Acre, Andrew Michael Hurley

The Trespasser, Tana French

I'd been saving this one up for the summer holidays when I have time to indulge it, not sneaking a half-hour read in late at night when I should be sleeping. I also wanted to head back to the beginning of the series, having started with The Secret Place, and catch up chronologically. And I… Continue reading The Trespasser, Tana French

Wakenhyrst, Michelle Paver

This was my first Paver read having heard some good things about her, and it thrust me straight into a solid Gothic historical yarn with some genuinely creepy moments! The novel is perhaps misnamed: it focuses on the house Wake's End set beside the local fen, some three miles from the village of Wakenhyrst; and,… Continue reading Wakenhyrst, Michelle Paver

Lost Acre, Andrew Caldecott

This is a deliciously quirky trilogy of novels! Many many things in the books, Rotherweird and Wyntertyde should not work, and yet they somehow do. Gosh! Wyntertyde had left us on a cliffhanger: a second mixing point was discovered; Bolitho was revealed as Fortemain and then dispatched; the vile Calx Bole had succeeded in resurrecting… Continue reading Lost Acre, Andrew Caldecott

Rotherweird and Wyntertyde, Andrew Caldecott

Of coracles and crosswords... You know what they say about judging books by their covers? Well, I did with these because they are lovely lovely covers! I was also aware of Caldecott, a respected QC in media law with a string of high profile cases to his name - and what appeared to be a… Continue reading Rotherweird and Wyntertyde, Andrew Caldecott

Melmoth, Sarah Perry

Look! It is winter in Prague: night is rising in the mother of cities and over her thousand spires. Look down at the darkness around your feet, in all the lanes and alleys, as if it were a soft black dust swept there by a broom; look at the stone apostles on the old Charles Bridge, and at all the blue-eyed jackdaws on the shoulders of St. John of Nepomuk. Look!

Washington Black, Esi Edugyan

Oh well, having set down my best intentions earlier, to review Washington Black before finishing Sally Rooney's Normal People, and to complete the 30 Day Book Challenge by Christmas, I have failed on all accounts and now have Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls to review as well! But, I have had a lovely Chrsitmas… Continue reading Washington Black, Esi Edugyan

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 Five!

Day Five is such a strange strange week at work! Surreal does not begin to cut it! Anyway, back to the challenge and, today, we are looking for Favourite classic novel. Oh Lord! Again, just one? One?  And what exactly is a "classic"? Ask a thousand readers and you'll probably find a thousand definitions, but… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day Five!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day One!

Okay, so I came across this at the great Professional Book Nerds site and with an unexpected day off work, I thought I'd start off today. And doing it on my blog rather than Twitter gives me a little more space to ruminate over the prompts which today is Favourite book in a series. Do… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day One!

See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an axeAnd 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 plot and move… Continue reading See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt

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 -… Continue reading The Black Book of Secrets, F. E. Higgins

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

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… Continue reading The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley

Broken Harbour, Tana French

Recipe for a Tana French Dublin Murder Squad novel: Take an atmospheric and intense setting, such as the last remnant of an ancient forest, a secluded mansion or a half completed housing project abutting the sea; insert a handful of characters with intense and golden relationships; raise the pressure and temperature; remove from the oven when those relationships… Continue reading Broken Harbour, Tana French

The Collectors, Phillip Pullman

  This is an absolute gem of a read - or more likely a listen, as Pullman wrote it for Audible as a free giveaway at some point. That's how I collected it - see what I did there? - and it's been lurking in my library ever since and today I thought I may… Continue reading The Collectors, Phillip Pullman