The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller

Today. August 1, the Back Woods. A mildewed book of poetry lies open on the table. “To a skylark,” soaring into the blue – painful, thrilling – replays in my mind as I stare at the still life of last night’s dinner. “The world should listen then, as I am listening now.” He read itContinue reading “The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller”

Wahala, by Nikki May (Book Review)

A story about friendship, food and fate. The smell hit her first. Smoky burned palm oil, fried peppers and musty stockfish. Next came the noise: Fela Kuti blared out of the speakers, struggling to compete with the group of three men at a corner table, talking over each other. And because this was effectively Nigeria,Continue reading “Wahala, by Nikki May (Book Review)”

The Maid, by Nita Prose (Book Review)

Murder, intrigue, cleaning. Every day, when I arrive to work at the Regency Grand, I feel alive again, part of the fabric of things, the splendor and the color. I am part of the design, a bright, unique square, integral to the tapestry. Gran used to say, ‘If you love your job, you’ll never workContinue reading “The Maid, by Nita Prose (Book Review)”

A Net for Small Fishes, by Lucy Jago (book review)

Based on a true story, the book opens with our narrator, Anne Turner, being led to meet with Frances (Frankie) Howard in her chambers, having been called there by Frankie’s mother to dress her to meet the King. We are immediately thrown into Anne’s world. It’s dark and tearful as we wind our way throughContinue reading “A Net for Small Fishes, by Lucy Jago (book review)”

A Keeper, by Graham Norton

This was my second book of the year and also part of #beatthebacklog which I’ve been following on Twitter. To recap, this idea was set up by @Owlbesatreading and aims to encourage us to select from our shelves before buying new books. Sometimes it works…. and sometimes you just need that new release. But AContinue reading “A Keeper, by Graham Norton”

Joyous and Endearing: Dear Mrs Bird, by AJ Pearce (Book Review)

I started off this year with a promise to myself: that I would not buy any new books until I had read some of the ones that I already have. At the last count I had around 120 unread books dotted about my house (!) and I don’t have a big home. They are onContinue reading “Joyous and Endearing: Dear Mrs Bird, by AJ Pearce (Book Review)”

Imaginative, hilarious, gruesome: How to Kill Your Family, by Bella Mackie (book review)

Limehouse prison is, as you might imagine, horrible. Except maybe you can’t imagine it, not really. There are no games consoles and flatscreen TVs, as you have surely read about in the newspapers. There’s no friendly communal vibe, no sisterly tribe – the atmosphere is usually frantic, hideously loud, and it often feels as thoughContinue reading “Imaginative, hilarious, gruesome: How to Kill Your Family, by Bella Mackie (book review)”

October Round-Up: What I read this month

In this week’s edition of ‘books by the fireplace’ as I am now calling it, I’m looking back on some of my favourite reads from October and looking ahead to what is on my TBR list for November. Matrix, by Lauren Groff I found this book difficult to get into at the start because itContinue reading “October Round-Up: What I read this month”

The perfect twisty thriller for the end of October

Book review: The Vanishing Year, by Kate Moretti. Published in 2016 by Titan Books. He smelled nice. Like soap and aftershave. He wore a wedding ring. I wondered if his wife was as young as him. Perhaps pregnant with their first child, round and glowing… He probably rubbed her tired feet at night, massaged cocoaContinue reading “The perfect twisty thriller for the end of October”

If you only read one more book this year, make it this one…

The storm comes in like a finger snap. That’s how they’ll speak in the months and years after, when it stops being only an ache behind their eyes and a crushing at the base of their throats. When it finally fits into their stories. Even then, it doesn’t tell how it actually was. There areContinue reading “If you only read one more book this year, make it this one…”