Latest reviews…

I’ve been reading widely lately, so my most recent reviews have covered Infertility treatments, Japanese thrillers, reminiscing about old TV shows and a new Alexander McCall Smith story…

The AMS book, Unusual Uses for Olive Oil, is from a series that I initially didn’t get on very well with.  I never mention the von Igelfeld stories when I enthuse about AMS to anyone, but actually this one pleased me more than the earlier stories – it wasn’t quite so dry and although the hero is still painfully pompous and awful I still enjoyed it.  You can read my full bookbag review here.

The book about infertility was interesting – it’s actually focussed on helping families deal with pregnancy, birth and parenting after infertility treatment and I thought it was sensitively handled and very well written – more on that here.

Villain turned out to be a difficult read.  If I hadn’t been reviewing it I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it, but as it was I’m glad I did.  Not really thrilling as a thriller, but it asks some interesting questions, if you can get beyond the truly dire, factual style at the beginning that is…Bookbag review up here.

Sophie Duffy’s The Generation Game is another that might have lost my attention initially, but again I was glad I kept on reading because the ending was wonderful – really took me by surprise and it was very well done.  See more on The Bookbag.


Catching up….

I thought I’d do a post about some of my favourite books that I’ve read and reviewed since March but haven’t posted about here…

For itty bitty babies my favourite recent read was  From the day you were born by Sophie Piper.
It’s a lovely, moving read and perfect for sharing with your baby as he or she grows up.  You can read my full review here.
Art and Max by David Wiesner was an unusual picture book.  Fabulous illustrations and a funny story, my Bookbag review is here.

For older kids I thought  Small Change For Stuart by Lissa Evans was a great read, full of action, adventure and mystery.  It’s full of humour, and the characters are very engaging.  My full review is here.

For the grown ups I loved Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner.  I knew almost as soon as I began that I would enjoy it, and I adored Vaclav, the main character.  The style and language is wonderful, and it’s such a sweet, tender story.  My full review is here.

Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson is also a good debut novel and although I struggled with the style initially it was ultimately a compelling, emotional read.  My Bookbag review is here.

There was also the joy of this unusual, short novella: The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman which was rather bizarre but I thoroughly enjoyed reading something a bit more experimental and fun, as you can see here.

Finally in non-fiction I enjoyed The Art of Roughhousing by Anthony T DeBenedet and Lawrence Cohen which advocates good old fashioned horseplay with your kids and led to some interesting Sunday afternoons in our house and my husband damaging his neck!  Find out more here.

Review: History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this story, since I’m not usually one for historical fiction. The characters are really well drawn and there’s a good pace & tension to the story. It’s very playful, extremely erotic (you might not want people reading this over your shoulder on the tube!) and ripe for a sequel.

In the post today…

I haven’t updated here for ages…tut tut. Life got in the way a bit, but hopefully I’ll be writing more frequently in the future. To start us off, here’s what I received in the post to review today…




Review: Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

It’s been a long time since I read Goodnight Mister Tom at school. Picking it up again twenty five years later I wondered how good I would find it. I needn’t have worried. This wonderful story captured my attention from the very beginning and I became so caught up in Tom and Will’s lives that I didn’t want it to end. Set during World War Two, William Beech has been evacuated from London and is placed with Tom Oakley, thanks mainly to his proximity to the local church, as Willie’s God-fearing mother requested he be close to a church. They seem an unlikely match, the gruff old man who keeps himself to himself and the thin, timid young boy, but there lies the joy of the story, in watching their relationship grow.

Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.

Review: Underground Time by Delphine de Vigan

Mathilde is unhappy at work. More than just unhappy actually, because after expressing an opinion different to her boss he has frozen her out of the team and bullied her mentally and emotionally for months. Mathilde is a woman on the edge of breaking point, feeling increasingly brow-beaten by both the demands of city life and her awful boss. Meanwhile Thibault is an emergency on-call doctor, racing from one district to another through the nightmares of Parisian traffic, unhappy in his relationship and also struggling, mentally, to survive. Will today be the day that changes everything?

I found this to be a really compelling read. Both Mathilde and Thibault are immediately interesting, sympathetic characters. For Mathilde in particular, De Vigan creates a rising tension, and as the book progressed I felt physically sick on behalf of Mathilde and the unfairness of her situation. You can immediately see how easily such a situation can come about, and although you’re screaming for Mathilde to tell someone, to get some help, at the same time you can see how she has found herself stuck, unable to act and rescue herself. As you watch her boss’ actions you’re on the edge of your seat, hoping against hope that everything will, somehow, be okay.

Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.

Review: Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

When I read The Housekeeper and the Professor by Ogawa I fell completely in love with the book. It was gentle, and beautifully written. Hotel Iris is very, very different and really ought to have a warning label on the cover for those who simply recognise the author’s name and pick it up hoping for more! This is the story of a seventeen year old girl who is seduced by an old man in a sadistic, distressing manner.

Mari first encounters The Translator (we never learn his name) at her family’s hotel. There is a rumpus in one of the rooms where an elderly gentleman (The Translator) has a prostitute and both of them are ejected from the hotel. Mari is bewitched by his voice and finds herself compelled to try to find out more about him until she ends up tangled in a strange relationship that’s part love affair, part rape.
Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.