A supernatural historal romp in Alison Goodman’s Dark Days Club

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, literary london, London, Uncategorized

Lady Helen is about to make her entrance into Regency society – but there’s something different about her. She can sense things about people, can tell what is about to happen, can react with lightening speed. She meets Lord Carlston, who tells her she is born to help stop demonic creatures who prey upon innocent lives, and who tries to convince her to join the cause. She is at once attracted to and mistrustful of him, whilst on the side of society and propriety is another suitor…

I don’t really remember the plot of this one fully, but I have many lasting impressions. In lots of ways, it’s a book that does exactly what you’d expect. Lots of interplay between the dark supernatural world and polite society, the occasional emergence of a famous figure, and plenty of heartache for our feisty main character. As such, it wasn’t hugely stupendous or memorable, but was pretty enjoyable.

Five reasons I’m nervous-excited about Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust

Book Thoughts, children's books, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts

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In case you don’t keep up to date with all the latest in book news, here it is: PHILIP PULLMAN IS BRINGING OUT THE BOOK OF DUST, an ‘equel’ to HIS DARK MATERIALS.Β Guys, we get to adventure again with Lyra!!!!

I love Northern Lights so much, and the rest of the series not much less. Lee Scoresby. Iorek Bryrinson. The fantastic evilness of Mrs Coulter. The wonderful world Lyra lives in, then colliding with our world and others. I read and re-read these books so so many times as a teenager.

So I should be just over the moon about this, right? But my excitement is definitely tinged with some concerns… here we go:

Films have changed the way we read and write – Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, theatre, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


They’ve got half and hour left. Max and Carys fell in love – but love is not allowed. In their world relationships are only ever short term, and you only live in one place for one cycle. But they’re determined that their love can beat the system and change the rules, taking their case to the highest powers. They are sent on a mission into space together – a mission doomed to disaster. Is love worth it, in the end?

In a plot woven between the present moment and the story of their love, Max and Carys’ predicament fans out around the reader, with the elements of mystery becoming clearer and clearer. This book draws you in very cleverly, with you as the reader rooting for the couple more and more as you learning more about their past, making the outcome of the present moment more and more tense.

Tarnished time travel – All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing Thoughts

Tom lives in a golden world of amazing technology and father is a genius who just invented time travel. Tom is lazy and does not apply himself, but finds himself on the time travel team – then after the love of his life abandons him, he takes her place and goes back in time. He finds himself in an alternate future – in the world we know. Now it’s up to him to return humanity to the future that we always dreamed of…

Gosh! Time Travel books, eh? So confusing!! This book wasn’t too bad though, and any internal mysteries were cleared up at the end. It was clever – but lacking enough warmth or character connection for me to be emotionally invested in what was happening. It became more like a puzzle than a story; I wanted the intellectual satisfaction of knowing the solution, but was not emotionally involved. Which is perhaps why I’m not very good at puzzles.

Harmony – cults, autism and family life in one intriguing novel by Carolyn Parkhurst

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended


When Tilly is kicked out of school and deemed to be on the autistic spectrum, her mother Alexandra is at the end of herself; and hearing of Camp Harmony and it’s engaging pioneer seems to be the answer that she has been looking for. Younger daughter Iris isn’t so sure; and has a distrust of everything that is happening as they move in with other families to start the camp and follow the edicts of the enigmatic leader.

I was really intrigued to read this book. In many ways one knows exactly where it’s going; we’re going to witness the start of some sort of cult, it’s going to be bad, people have been hoodwinked. But it doesn’t matter – I’m still fascinated.

I don’t think I like these literary themed houseboats (and here’s three reasons why)

Book Thoughts, literary london, London, Uncategorized, Writing Thoughts

 





I saw these two barges whilst walking along Regents Canal. At first it was a pleasant surprise, a feeling of connection. Someone else loves that book too, hooray!

But really, underneath, I wasn’t so keen, and I’ve worked out why:

When the Floods Came – a different treatment of a common trend by Clare Morrall

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


Rosemary and her family have lived in the block of flats for as long as she can remember, safe from the scavengers and dangers of post-flood Britain. Despite the draw of Brighton, the last society around, they stick it out as a family – until a new arrival shatters their worldview. Rosemary’s world, her relationship with long-term finance Hector from Brighton who she’s only ever met online, her view of her family and her certainty in her future are all thrown into relief as they try to decipher the strange world around them.

The only other book I have read by Clare Morrall was just SO different to this!! It felt like an already established author taking a dip into the post-apocalyptic trend, but once I’ve got used to the idea, it definitely worked. It was more thoughtful and less action packed than other books I’ve read of the same premise, but all the more interesting for it. It was great!

The Five Famous Foods of Enid Blyton that I want to eat

Book Thoughts, children's books, picture books, Uncategorized

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“You can’t have adventures on an empty stomach,” reasoned Dick.

Enid Blyton is the queen of fictional food. I set out to write a post about the four fictional feasts I would love to eat, but quickly realised that everything that I was writing about was from Enid. Why does she love food so much? How does she make it sound so magical? I just don’t know. But here are the things that stick in my mind as the foods I’d share with my small, plucky crime fighting gang.

This book was like going to Narnia – The Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, teen book reviews, Uncategorized


Amani is sick of the small town life she seems destined to live, and the family determined to marry her off. Using her unusual sharpshooting skills she escapes into the desert – and into even more danger. Here she meets magic, a mysterious stranger and the rebel force, and finds herself drawn into what she never knew would be a destiny.

My VERY FAVOURITE THING about this book is that it reminds me so thoroughly of The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis. It’s probably not that similar, but from the very start I was transported to my mental landscape where that book takes place, and I like it there. Hooray! Otherwise, this was a pacy and exciting book without too many original ideas but a thoroughly good mix up of old ones that take you on an exciting adventure.

What is it really like to be a Chinese person in America? I’m a little closer to knowing thanks to Peter Ho Davies’ The Fortunes

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


Young Ah Ling, son of a prostitute and white man, lands in 1860s California and navigates his way through the laundries of his Chinese heritage and the railroads of the white men; never quite at home with either people. Years later Anna May Wong; Hollywood’s first Chinese film star, must take seductress roles and cannot kiss a white man onscreen – visits China, and her father, and feels alien. Years later again, Vincent Chin is murdered in a bar because he looks Japanese. And years later again, half-Chinese writer John Ling Smith visits China to adopt a baby girl.

Though in style this book was like a fictionalised documentary, it got me completely. I was hooked on every story, and so enjoyed the experience of entering into each of the four worlds it portrayed. And I think the fictionalisation probably made the points the more poignant: we were taken intoworlds and saw different themes and ideas that run through the whole thing. Like being offered the proof rather than the conclusions. I really enjoyed it!