Book Review: The Island Of Missing Trees, Elif Shafak

It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret, hidden beneath the… Continue reading Book Review: The Island Of Missing Trees, Elif Shafak

Transcription, Kate Atkinson

“The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel,” “But then, what constituted real? Wasn’t everything, even this life itself, just a game of deception?” Kate Atkinson is such a pleasure to read! Human and emotional, thoughtful and smart at the same time. Whether it be detective fiction in… Continue reading Transcription, Kate Atkinson

The Mitford Scandal, Jessica Fellowes

I love the covers of this series of novels by Jessica Fellowes! The blue here is gorgeous! All art deco, beautiful, vibrant. Not unlike the eponymous Mitford sisters around whom the novels revolve. This is the third outing for Louisa Cannon, previously nursery nurse to the younger Mitford sisters and friend to Nancy Mitford in… Continue reading The Mitford Scandal, Jessica Fellowes

Teaser Tuesday: The Fountains of Silence, Ruta Sepetys

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker. I am shamelessly stealing this from Ali's blog iwuvbooks because -… Continue reading Teaser Tuesday: The Fountains of Silence, Ruta Sepetys

The Mitford Murders, Jessica Fellowes

What a classy cover! Don't be judging a book by its cover, but even so... classy! I want to describe it as being in an art deco style but I'm not entirely sure what that term means... Similarly classy is the pedigree of the author: Jessica Fellowes is a well renowned journalist and editor; she… Continue reading The Mitford Murders, Jessica Fellowes

The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

The Greek epics seem to have had a resurgence - dare one say a renaissance? - or a reimagining recently. On my to-be-read list are Stephen Fry's Mythos and Heroes, Madeline Miller's Circe, and Song of Achilles and now this by Pat Barker. I don't know what the appeal is of these narratives, nor why they are… Continue reading The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

The Muse, Jessie Burton

I adored The Miniaturist! It was one of those books which had stayed with me: the cold of her repressed Amsterdam, the sweetness of marzipan, the claustrophobic house. The hint of the supernatural. The difficult, prickly bond between the women. So it was with pleasure and anticipation that I began The Muse and it took… Continue reading The Muse, Jessie Burton

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

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is one of those authors who I have been aware of but avoided for a while. I put my hands up, it was and has been deeply unfair of me. Like that chap in the village I grew up in who always crossed the road when he saw my mother to avoid talking… Continue reading Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

I am no historian and my knowledge of World War Two is pretty much skewed by literature as much as my knowledge of World War One is skewed by poetry. But literature of World War Two seems to have waited. Almost as if it were too horrific, too traumatic to digest. Much of the literature… Continue reading All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro

When I was an impressionable teenager, which feels a long time ago now, I imbibed a lot of Arthurian legends. Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Gawaine, Bedivere, Ector, Cai, Pelias, The Fisher King, Tristran, Iseult, Mordred, Morgana La Fey. And from there, at University, a unit on Medieval Literature reunited me with Gawain in Sir Gawain and The… Continue reading The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro

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 

Tinder, Sally Gardner

This is the first of my reviews of this year's CILIP Carnegie Medal nominees. Well, my second. Patrick Ness' More Than This I read back in August - see here for my review - six months before the shortlist was announced. And to be honest, it will take some beating!Anyway, this is my first knowing CILIP Carnegie read. And… Continue reading Tinder, Sally Gardner

Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones

Many things about being a teacher vex me: longer hours than the public realise, pay, governmental meddling. Paperwork. Ofsted. As a teacher of English though, the lack of imagination in exam boards' choices for set texts is pretty high on the vexing-list. Really, Of Mice And Men, again? An Inspector Calls as modern drama? Don't… Continue reading Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones

The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

There is so much to admire about this book that I feel almost guilty that I didn't love it. And I feel I might struggle to explain why without losing sight of the fact that it is a great book and beautifully written in places. As you'd expect from Waters, The Paying Guests inhabits a… Continue reading The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

Strange Meeting, Susan Hill

I do not generally choose war books. In all honesty, had I come across this book with this cover in a shop or library I would probably have skipped over it. I like Susan Hill; I dislike war. I am particularly hesitant about The Great War novels written recently: I'm uncomfortable with the glorification of… Continue reading Strange Meeting, Susan Hill