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”

Breathless, by Amy McCulloch: There’s a Killer on the Mountain (Book review)

That was the thing about mountaineering. It tested every single one of your faculties, in a place that was depriving your brain of oxygen. That’s why it was all about putting actions into logical steps, a series of checks, making steps so foolproof that even when you were being a fool, you wouldn’t get itContinue reading “Breathless, by Amy McCulloch: There’s a Killer on the Mountain (Book review)”

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)”

The Arctic Curry Club, by Dani Redd: the perfect winter heart-warmer!

Maya moves to the Arctic to accompany her boyfriend, Ryan, as he embarks on some very important scientific research to do with tracking polar bears. She has left a life in London including friends, a job, and her own home, to come to a land that’s in perpetual darkness and sub-zero temperatures, and she findsContinue reading “The Arctic Curry Club, by Dani Redd: the perfect winter heart-warmer!”

The Women of Troy: part two of Pat Barker’s superb re-telling of the Iliad

Pat Barker got me interested in Greek mythology. But, more importantly, she got me thinking about the women who were lost in the stories. The Women of Troy, the second part of Pat Barker’s series, after The Silence of the Girls, is a re-telling of the Iliad but told from the point of view ofContinue reading “The Women of Troy: part two of Pat Barker’s superb re-telling of the Iliad”