Book Review: Build Your House Around My Body, Violet Kupersmith

1986: The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family gets lost in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father, and is forever changed by the experience. 2011: Twenty-five years later, a young, unhappy Vietnamese-American disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.The fates of both women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and… Continue reading Book Review: Build Your House Around My Body, Violet Kupersmith

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

Book Review: Into The Drowning Deep, Mira Grant

“The seas did not forgive, and they did not welcome their wayward children home.” I recall doing a Top Five Saturday post - I really should get back into that meme, there were some lovely people taking part! - about mermaids and, unlike Ariel, I could not find any that did not have nasty vicious… Continue reading Book Review: Into The Drowning Deep, Mira Grant

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

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

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!

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

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… Continue reading Weekly Round Up 4th June

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

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

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… Continue reading The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar

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 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… Continue reading The Boy On The Bridge, M. R. Carey

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.… Continue reading The Plague Charmer, Karen Maitland

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 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

Company of Liars, Karen Maitland

This was ... not what I expected. A band of travellers in the England of 1348, travelling and telling tales to each other over the course of their journeys. The reviews and comments on it make an obvious but - to my mind - highly suspect assertion that this somehow a re-imagining of The Canterbury… Continue reading Company of Liars, Karen Maitland

Library Of Souls, Ransom Riggs

I'm not going to dwell long on this review: it concludes the story begun in Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and continues in Hollow City from which this book continues directly. It is also my last book of 2015, and Miss Peregrine was my first book of 2015 so it gives my year a… Continue reading Library Of Souls, Ransom Riggs

Hollow City, Ransom Riggs

Okay. I confess. I only read this and the next book (Library Of Souls) to complete a trilogy for my 2015 Reading Challenge. And because I was running out of time. I did complete them by 31st December... just a little slow blogging about them. Due in part to a busy Christmas and also to… Continue reading Hollow City, Ransom Riggs

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

The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

  Oh I'm in two minds about this book.  I so wanted to like it.  A alternate history world in which the borders between reality and books is flexible and malleable. Who would love to pop to Wuthering Heights for a cup of tea with Nelly Dean? Or stroll through the 100 Acre Wood? Or play hide-and-seek… Continue reading The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

The Girl With All The Gifts, M. R. Carey

  Oh dear.  I fear I'm going to be unpopular here because I've heard so much good about this book. People have raved about it. A friend, whose book recommendations I've often been steered well by, re-reads it. Monthly.  So I apologise in advance.  I found it to be... okay.  It was standard zombie post-apocalyptic horror fare… Continue reading The Girl With All The Gifts, M. R. Carey