Deeplight, Frances Hardinge

Some authors deserve a fanfare when they are about to publish and Frances Hardinge is one of those! A new novel from Hardinge is a thing of joy! She is one of those authors who seem to have never put a foot wrong in their writing: plots, impeccable; characters, vivid and real; language, beautiful and…

The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon

It is no secret that I love my fantasy. I cut my reading teeth on fantasy – thank you Tolkien and Eddings and so many others! I love the way that the freedom of a fantasy world can throw a light into the contemporary. I love the sheer fun and spectacle that can come with…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18!

Returning to this Book Challenge – I fear optimistically as the prospect of returning to work looms! – we meet Day 18 and A book you like by an author no longer living. Now, as I’ve said before, I’ve had to read widely and enjoyed a huge variety of books written by people who have…

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….

Weekly Round Up 28th May

Okay, so some books are a quicker read than others, sometimes life, children and work get in the way of reading and finishing a book. Half-terms always seem like a good time to catch up on that eternal TBR pile … but then life intervenes and you end up standing in a river in glorious…

Etymologicon and The Elements of Eloquence, Mark Forsyth

These are not worth separate blog posts: same basic book written in the same basic style about the same basic themes.  Which sounds terribly dismissive but shouldn’t: as a self-confessed language geek who’s alert to the absurdity and beauty of our mongrel mother tongue, these books were a delightful treat.and a little like talking to…

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…

The House Of Silk, Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz, for me as an English teacher is almost synonymous with his teenage spy Alex Rider. Although probably with fewer helicopters, assassins and explosions. And more writing. The series is a very boy friendly, speedily paced series of novels which are one out go-to series for reluctant boy-readers. So it was with some surprise…

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…

The Rehearsal, Eleanor Catton

Some books just blow you away. This one is absolutely in that category. One of those books that I struggle to find an adjective to describe the experience of reading it. Astonishing. Scintillating. Experimental. Complex. Extraordinarily sensuous. I can understand why many people might not like it. It is written in a non-linear way –…