One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

Read with caution: Cleaning companies may never be the same again! I've come to Kate Atkinson late in her career: I can recall surprisingly vividly my mother's water damaged, crinkly paper copy of Behind the Scenes at the Museum teetering on the side of the bath - an avocado kitsch bath - from my childhood… Continue reading One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

Circe, Madeline Miller

Divine days fall like water from a cataract, and I had not learned yet the mortal trick of counting them.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

Next up, from the Women's Prize Longlist came Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer, an interesting parallel to Akwaeke Emezi's Freshwater. It is an intriguing little novel - a mere 240 pages, for those for whom that is relevant, not much more than a day or weekend's read - and remarkably effective in the… Continue reading My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi

I have lived many lives inside this body. I lived many lives before they put me in this body. I will live many lives when they take me out of it.

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 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

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

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 Mars Room, Rachel Kushner

I am not a fan of prison drama. Orange Is The New Black? No thank you. Shawshank Redemption? I just don't like the prison setting. It may have something to do with an innate suspicion of large numbers of people being together; it may have something to do with having been a criminal barrister and… Continue reading The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner

The Overstory, Richard Powers

"Let me sing to you, about how creatures become other things" I was brought up - and still live - very much in the countryside. A safe, British countryside. I know my oak from my elm for my yew. I am currently harvesting apples and blackberries from the garden, looking forward to the walnuts being… Continue reading The Overstory, Richard Powers

Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie

With two stories in the news today - Safir Boular, at 18, being the youngest girl to be convicted of terrorism offences; and Alia Ghanem speaking of her son. Osama bin Laden - about terrorism and the legal system and family, the importance and relevance of a book like Home Fire is painfully apparent. The… Continue reading Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie

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 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

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 Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne

  Some books you can knock out a review in a moment or two after reading them. Others take time to digest and consider and reflect on. And this beautiful, heart-aching, visceral, funny, tragic novel is one of the latter. But as yesterday was the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Intersexism and Transphobia  - should… Continue reading The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne

Oathbringer, Brandon Sanderson

I was concerned about the shift in tone from the end of the second book in The Stormlight Archive, Words of Radiance: Kaladin and Shallan had been lost characters slowly discovering their powers and paths in their own way, interracting with their spren and learning in a softly organic way; as Words of Radiance ends, Knights… Continue reading Oathbringer, Brandon Sanderson

Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor

This is one of the most unusual and beautiful books I've read for a while. Hard to define. Difficult to keep track of people. But beautiful and lyrical. Radio 4 do a slot of "slow radio" sometimes and this book reminds me of that. And of my childhood. And of a familiarity with the country… Continue reading Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor

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

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

Sometimes, you read a short story that leaves you wanting more and makes you wish that the writer had extended it to a novel length. With this novel, well written and crafted as it is, I wonder whether it could have been reduced to a short story. Or began life as a short story or… Continue reading Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

His Bloody Project,Graeme Macrae Burnet

Authenticity is often what we look for in a book. Is the setting authentic? Are my characters authentic? Is my voice authentic? Is my lexis authentic? It doesn't take much sometimes to pull a reader from a novel and inauthenticity can do it. I've still got concerns about the use of the f-word in Hilary… Continue reading His Bloody Project,Graeme Macrae Burnet

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

Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood

Once again, a deliciously striking cover for Margaret Atwood's most recent novel, and the most recent entry into the Hogarth Shakespeare Project... and the first in the project that I've read. Now, I have a confession to make before going much further: I've never really got Margaret Atwood. I've wanted to; I've tried to. I… Continue reading Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood

Nutshell, Ian McEwan

Some books need more of an exercise in imagination than others. A bigger suspension of disbelief. An unborn narrator, for example, is one such. And not just unborn in a metaphorical sense but literally foetal. The narrator of McEwan's most recent book - recently serialised on Radio 4 - is a third-trimester Hamlet, set in modern London, recounting… Continue reading Nutshell, Ian McEwan