The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder

    Okay.  I'm going to 'fess up here.  This is no great work of fiction. This is not a literary masterpiece. It is neither lyrical, resonant or thought-provoking - those three adjectives appearing more and more regularly on my blog as praise-words for novels. It does not sparkle with intriguing new metaphors; its prose does… Continue reading The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder

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 

My Swordhand is Singing, Marcus Sedgwick

Sedgwick has been on my radar for a few years now, creeping into the shortlists for the Carnegie Medal regularly. I'd previously read his White Crow, and Midwinterblood. The first of those I had thoroughly enjoyed, bouncing between time zones; the second was breathtaking, tracing echoes of a story back through generations and encompassing wartime escapes,… Continue reading My Swordhand is Singing, Marcus Sedgwick

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs

Woohoo my first finished novel of 2015 and a start to my Reading Challenge! This book was not what I expected. There was something very evocative and intriguing about both the title and cover - as well as the photographs inside. Almost all of which, according to the note appended to the novel, are genuine… Continue reading Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs

The Strain, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Oh dear. What a let down. I was really looking forward to this one. And now I feel just... let down. I've read some great books recently: emotional, lyrical, beautiful. I wasn't expecting any of that from The Strain. I was looking forward to an enjoyable, rollicking horror vampire fantasy in the style of del… Continue reading The Strain, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Scar, China Miéville

Miéville is one of my favourite authors: acutely political, wildly imaginative and linguistically sparkling. I discovered him through Perdido Street Station and adored the sprawling city of New Crobuzon: mercantile, rapacious, brutal but utterly compelling. It is a city populated by renegade scientists, scarab-headed khepri, eagle faced garuda, the amphibian vodyanoi, the cactacae and brutally… Continue reading The Scar, China Miéville

Blackout, Mira Grant

I'm not going to write much about this book: it doesn't really warrant it! This is the third in Mira Grant's post-zombie-apocalypse political thriller Feed trilogy - so I have that glow of satisfaction of completion having read it - but it is a trilogy that should never have been. The first book, Feed was,… Continue reading Blackout, Mira Grant

The Twelve, Justin Cronin

It's a strange thing with books. You can start one - particularly a lengthy one like this - and things get in the way of you finishing it. That's not the strange thing. That - I imagine - is familiar. Maybe you put it down because work has become hectic or your baby is born… Continue reading The Twelve, Justin Cronin

Intertextuality in the The Woman in Black

Intertextuality is a strange idea. It's reasonable and intuitive that texts refer both backwards and forwards within themselves: how many stories and tales begin and end at the same place and setting? Detective fiction is built on the importance of small early details turning into clues to be resolved later. Anton Chekov went so far… Continue reading Intertextuality in the The Woman in Black

The Woman In Black, Susan Hill

Miniature review due to absence of Internet and wifi. In fact, only now possible because phone can - sometimes - get some reception... Somewhat uncomfortably, I finished reading this book this morning. At about 7:30. As my 12 week old daughter lay asleep in my arms. It made the final chapter particularly unnerving! This is… Continue reading The Woman In Black, Susan Hill

Zom-B, Darren Shan

Miniature review due to absence of Internet and wifi. In fact, only now possible because phone can - sometimes - get some reception... I bought this for my son and wanted to cast my eye over it before he read it. He is only twelve and these are zombies. My ears still ring with his… Continue reading Zom-B, Darren Shan

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, Neil Gaiman

There is only really one word to describe this book. Perfect. Absolutely and undoubtedly, a perfect book. Powerful, moving, honest. A true book. A summary of the plot here will not serve to convey its power. Go out and read this book. In my own small way, however, here goes. The adult narrator returns to… Continue reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman and mothers

What is it with Neil Gaiman and mothers? I am in the midst of listening to the wonderful The Ocean at the End of the Lane - personally, I think that this book is going to be a clear favourite from Gaiman who is already one of my favourite authors! - read by Gaiman himself.… Continue reading Neil Gaiman and mothers

Deadline, Mira Grant

In education, there is a chap by the name of Dylan Wiliam who espouses the theory that one shouldn't give grades out. Children look at their grade and either think "yeah, that's good enough" or they think "I'm a failure and there's no point in trying". Dylan Wiliam tells us that we should just give… Continue reading Deadline, Mira Grant

Feed, Mira Grant

I'm a sensitive soul, me. I like books and words; I wear my heart on my sleeve. I cringe at the sight of gore and blood. So why have I been immersing myself in gore recently? The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin and now Feed, book one of the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira… Continue reading Feed, Mira Grant

The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter

Angela Carter is just bloody brilliant! I mean bloody brilliant! Being just a man, lacking in x-chromosomes, I'm sure I'm missing much of her political feminist subtlety but as a writer she blows me away! The balance she holds between the real, the fantastical and the macabre is fantastic. Take this first eponymous tale in… Continue reading The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter

Let The Right One In, John Ajvide Lindquist

Its odd how my book reading lurks in certain genres for a while: after a crime spree, I notice a range of horror books collecting on the pages of this blog - with more on my to-be-read list. I wonder what it is with Scandi-Lit. Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy; Jo Nesbø; Mons Kallentoft ... There… Continue reading Let The Right One In, John Ajvide Lindquist

Mortal Coil, Derek Landy

I have been enjoying this series. They were nothing exciting, nothing terribly original. But they were fun. They were light hearted. They were fast-paced and witty. But niggles and worries are starting to mar my enjoyment of them now. The worse elements are coming to the fore and the books are becoming increasingly dark, violent… Continue reading Mortal Coil, Derek Landy

Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick

This is my second foray into Marcus Sedgwick's writing: White Crow, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal a couple of years ago was the other. And this is by far superior, more beautiful, more powerful, more poignant. This book is shortlisted for the Cilip Carnegie 2013 and tells the tales of Eric and Merle. Tales. Tales… Continue reading Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick

Carnegie 2013 Shortlist

It's that time of year again: the Cilip Carnegie Medal Shortlist has been announced! It is genuinely one of the highlights of my year! I reserve the Easter holidays to reading as many as I possibly can of the list. I mean, we do shadow the Carnegie Medal in our school and I like to… Continue reading Carnegie 2013 Shortlist

The Bloody Red Baron, Kim Newman

After reading a couple of extremely well-written, moving but rather serious books, picking up The Bloody Red Baron was intended to be a welcome piece of light relief: a bit of fun vampiric horror. Kim Newman takes up the reigns of his alternate history some thirty years after the events in the previous Anno Dracula. Having fled from England… Continue reading The Bloody Red Baron, Kim Newman

World War Z, Max Brooks

My teeth grated together in horror as soon as I listened to this: "World War Zee by Max Brooks!" intoned the narrator. "Zee"? "Zee"?! No!! World War Zed! Despite that, this was a brilliant book to listen to as an audiobook: it is formed from interviews with various survivors of the war against the undead.… Continue reading World War Z, Max Brooks

The Passage, Justin Cronin

Horror is not usually my thing at all. I don't like blood. I get bored by violence. I get worried by crime writing's increasing interest in hugely violent bloodied crime scenes and the minutiae of destruction that can be inflicted on the human (and usually female) form. So it was with some misgivings that I… Continue reading The Passage, Justin Cronin