Saturday, May 07, 2016

Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly MacMillan, Piatkus, 2015.


I've just reviewed Burnt Paper Sky over here.  It's a really good read, which was published last year and I borrowed from the library.

I'm enjoying the warmer weather and the sunshine, although the accompanying tree-pollen related hay fever is tedious.  The washing is blowing on the line and I will have to get it in shortly because it is, I suspect, barbecue time.

It is hard to believe that a week ago we were just back from a very chilly, snowy Lake District, where I had spent a few lovely days in Grasmere with some very special creative friends.  We are all determined to keep the creative vibe going on, but returning to the world of daily life and domestic routine makes that challenging.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

New Blog for Books

I've got a new blog - Reading in the Magic Armchair - in which to write about my book adventures and travels.

 Hopefully I'll be returning to blogging on life in general here from time to time - books haven't altogether taken over my life (though some might argue with that!)  I hope to see you there as well as here.

The Bones of Grace by Tahmina Anam


An unusual, glorious tale of love, tragedy and adventure: a search for identity and meaning, and a rite of passage.  I loved the lyrical writing and the complex plot, set in the contrasting worlds of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Bangladesh.  Zubaida is an engaging heroine, seeking fulfilment through career (as a paleontologist) and relationships, and also seeking her roots, her place in the world, peace and grace,  This story also had me searching on the internet for the Glass Flowers of Harvard museum - well worth investigating and I would now love to see them.  This book, as exquisitely crafted as the flowers,  swept me up and delighted me.  Where we come from may shape us, but in the end we must take responsibility for our own destiny.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton



Such an unusual novel: it reads rather like a single case study in social psychology or a fly on the wall television documentary, which sees a couple through stages in their relationship with a running commentary to consider what is going on at deeper levels.  It is wry, wise, funny and tender but also oddly objective and interpretative.  It is easy to forget that it is a novel.  It makes for interesting and entertaining reading.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh



The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book is just brilliant, beautifully written with intricate plot and very real characters. I am in awe of Emma Kavanagh's skill. The detectives are fully fleshed human beings, the conflicts between the job and their home lives being understandably and sympathetically described. The investigation of a missing mother turns into a complex case which turns as often as a mountain road and defies all guessing. A deliciously compelling read.



Hitman Anders and the meaning of it all by Jonas Jonasson

iHitman Anders and the Meaning of It All

A thoroughly charming, engaging, and genre-bending novel which mixes crime thriller with romance, comedy and a bit of light-hearted philosophy to result in a jolly good read.  The main characters are the recidivist Hitman Anders, a priest and a receptionist, and a cast of hoodlums and ne'er do wells.  Serving the masses and survival are the aims, as well as seeking the meaning of it all.  A mirthful Scandi noir and a truly enjoyable book.

If you liked Jonas Jonasson's previous books (The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden) you will be reassured to know that this story is as bonkers as those - all part of the charm. It made me think about morality, and it made me laugh out loud. 

Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick


A truly charming tale of Arthur Pepper, who is numbed and shocked after the death of Miriam, his wife and the love of his life. A strict routine gives him the structure to go on, but it is a joyless existence.  A surprising find sets him on a journey which will allow him to make further discoveries and discover that his life is not over, that there is life after loss.  The plot is clever and this story is well told: a delight to read.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

From Here to Home by Marie Bostwick


This story makes for satisfying reading.  The main characters are  strong and resourceful women and some unusual menfolk, and it is set mainly in the little town of Too Much, Texas, where there are lessons to be learned about the importance of doing what you love.  Horses and making patchwork quilts are central to this tale, as are family and romance.  It's  a really enjoyable book.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

Such a thrilling thriller: tautly plotted, peopled by well-drawn and convincing characters, with suspense and suprises aplenty.  DCI Erica Foster may be on her first outing with Robert Bryndza, but she comes with a strong and tragic back story as well as a fine investigative instinct and good leadership skills.  Newly arrived in London, she hits the ground running when required to head up a politically sensitive murder enquiry.  The situation escalates and she faces incredible challenges from outside influences and interference, as well as personal danger.  As the cover says, it's a serial killer thriller, blessed with pace and fine writing.  I am so glad there is not long to wait before Erica is back in the incident room on a new case, she's a great character.