Five reasons my one year old finds books irresistible.

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


I find Kezia playing with books so so much of the time, and when we sit down to read a couple of times a day she absolutely loves it. As do I! It seems so mysterious: what is it that makes them so exciting? I’ve done a quick run down and this is what I reckon:

Utter delight from the title to the end- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katharine Arden

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized


Vasya knows the spirits and traditional folklore creatures are real – she speaks to them, feeds them, harbours them in exchange for their protection. But there are other creatures too – and one in particular who threatens their village, their lives and much much more. Vasya must fight alone against an enemy no one else believes in, under increasing pressure from her family and the fanatic priest who is determined to abolish old superstition, especially when he hears a voice speaking to him from the darkness…

I A D O R E D this book!! Hooray! It feels so good to start of the year with two glowing reviews! It’s out very recently, and is a retelling of a Russian fairytale which I didn’t know beforehand. Thankfully it’s spoken at the beginning of the story, and you can see the parallels as they occur. But gosh! This book has pretty much EVERYTHING that I love – and in no way did it disappoint. I got a kindle review copy free but I’m going to have to buy it too because it’s so lovely – and gosh, that cover!

I want to buy this for everyone – Morgan Mccarthy’s The House of Birds

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


Oliver and Kate met officially one afternoon in Oxford when they were young, she fell off her bike and they snuck a look at Kate’s creepy aunt’s house. Oliver’s family moved to Milton Keynes before they get to say goodbye, but they meet and get together years later at a party when Kate has just inherited the house amidst some controversy. After quitting his city job that he hates Oliver goes to Oxford to do up the house and finds himself enchanted by it and the diaries he finds in the books there. These engrossing letters tell of a woman in an unhappy marriage seeking comfort at the Bodlein, and an unlikely guide. The story Oliver chases has direct impact on the present for both his life plans and the ownership of the house.

I don’t know why but I kind of put off reading this book. I can’t believe it – it’s definitely in the top books I’ve read this year! So much so that I’m skipping all the other reviews I need to write to give it a shoutout. A beautiful sense of place, compelling dual timelines, lovely sympathetic characters, opposition of old and new and overall a sense of trust. I knew very quickly that this narrator was not going to mess me around. I wasn’t going to be disappointed. I enjoyed this thoroughly!

Last year’s resolutions – a review :S

Book Thoughts, Writing


Last year I took a risk and made my New Year’s Resolutions very public! It’s beyond time to check back in and see how I’ve done. I’m about to paste the list in and comment. I’m expecting a mixed bag. There are some I definitely didn’t do, but I’m pleased with the effect the ones I did manage have had on my life. Here goes..

Women are awesome in The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

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


An illness hits earth, and 99% of men die. And 99.8% of women die. The remainder of humanity wander and scrounge from the earth, women enslaved and objectified. And endangered – if any of them become pregnant they and their babies die. An ex-midwife is one of the few to survive, and soon finds her mission; to travel in disguise helping the women she meets as much as she can; distributing advice, medicine and contraceptives as she falls in and out with various peoples trying to make a life.

So, here we are again. Most humans have died from a disease. I’m sure I’ve read at least two of these recently in the last couple of years. This one appealed to me because of the midwife: a profession that after having my baby I greatly admire. And it was interesting

7 things to add to your book gift to make it the ultimate reading experience

Book Thoughts, Uncategorized


As I said in my post the five books to buy your reading friends this year, for me there’s nothing quite like getting a book for Christmas. But a few years ago one of my friends went above and beyond and made the whole thing a thousand times better!

Rather than just a book she got me a whole reading experience… a bag with a book, scented candles, chocolates and probably something else that I don’t remember. What a treat! Rather than just a book you are providing your friend with at least one evening’s luxurious, Hygge filled entertainment. Here’s some quick ideas of what to add to your book gift to make it extra special:

Famous philosophical writer’s foray into history – The Spy by Paulo Coelho

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Uncategorized


Mata Hari is due to be executed for espionage, and recalls her life in a diary. She tells of her escape from a small town and a stifling marriage, and her sensational dance performances that gained her fame, the men she favoured and loved, the dangerous trip to Germany at the outbreak of war. Her subsequent attempts to gain status through different spy rings don’t result in much, but still she ends up on trial.

Normally I’m a bit meh about Paul Coelho. I feel like the meaning imposed on his writing is a little simplistic, and I want to dig into what is happening a bit more. I have only read two other of his books – but this was my favourite by far! I think the fact that it was grounded in history and was a real person helped give it a lot more depth for me. I really enjoyed it!

Five books to buy your reading friends this Christmas

Book Reviews, book shops, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized

 

Until I started a blog and started getting books for free all the time, there was NOTHING like getting a new book for Christmas. The possibility contained within the pages, the whole world waiting for me to discover, the few hours of enjoyment promised to me. Oh the possibility in a wrapped parcel that looks book shaped!

Oh the disappointment if it was something else!

Anyway. Here’s some recommendations for all of you trying to decide what to buy your book loving friends this Christmas:

After Alice by ‘Wicked’ author Gregory Maguire – amusing and clever but a bit exclusive

adaptations, Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, children's books, London, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


Alice’s friend Ada is tasked with finding the fallen child, and finds herself tumbling down the rabbit hole to find familiar faces and new adventures. Meanwhile the search for Alice continues, as her big sister and governess search fruitlessly, and their father receives a visitor with a foreign ward. The worlds above and below turn to chaos as everyone tries to find or leave home…

Hmmmmm. I was super excited to read this, though my excitement was tempered by the fact that LOTS of people had told me that Maguire’s Wicked was boring. Now, this book wasn’t boring at all. The plot was interesting, the characters intriguing, the concept brilliant. And there was a lot of Carrollian absurdity, invention and wit. But I think that the problem people have with Maguire’s writing is his elitist prose.

Lewycka charm in a council estate – The Lubetkin Legacy

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, literary london, London, Recommended


On a council estate in London Bertie’s mother dies; and in a desperate attempt to reclaim the flat he believes to be his he adopts an old Ukranian woman from a hospital to pretend to be his mother. Meanwhile beautiful and idealistic Violet moves in next door while to work at a International Wealth Preservation company, and there’s a plan to take down the estate cherry trees. 

This is my first experience of Marina Lewycka, but from my assumptions of her writing it rings true. Realism that highlights, gently mocks and celebrates the bizarre and ridiculous but nevertheless true idiosyncrasies of human life. She manages to tell what are some terribly sad stories, and usually pitiable people, with warmth and kindness that emphasises humanity above all else. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!