Hotel Splendide by Ludwig Bemelmans

Hotel Splendide by Ludwig Bemelmans My rating: 4 of 5 stars Perhaps best known for the eternally joyful Madeline, Hotel Splendide allows Ludwig Bemelmans to showcase another side of his personality. This strange, slender and occasionally deeply melancholic book is the story of his time at the Hotel Splendide in the 1920s. Bemelmans moves upContinue reading “Hotel Splendide by Ludwig Bemelmans”

Putin’s Russia, the rise of a dictator by Darryl Cunningham

Putin’s Russia: The Rise of a Dictator by Darryl Cunningham My rating: 4 of 5 stars My goodness, this is a heck of a book. I finished it and had to make a mixture of ‘wait, what’ faces at the wall to calm down. Putin’s Russia has been on my wavelength for a while (IContinue reading “Putin’s Russia, the rise of a dictator by Darryl Cunningham”

Rereading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I have a list of the books I want to reread and one of the constants on it for the last few months has been a reread of the Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins. If you don’t know of these books, then they kind of marked a point where young adult literature spilt veryContinue reading “Rereading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins”

The complete Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, illustrations by E. H. Shepard

The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne My rating: 5 of 5 stars I had a sort of sudden realisation the other day (driven, might I add, by the discovery of an excellent boxed set in the charity bookshop) that I had never really sat and read the Winnie-the-Pooh stories all the way through from theContinue reading “The complete Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, illustrations by E. H. Shepard”

Felicity’s Fortune by Bessie Marchant

Felicity’s Fortune by Bessie Marchant My rating: 3 of 5 stars A very late stage Bessie Marchant novel, Felicity’s Fortune is also a rather interesting thing. It begins with Felicity who (over)works in an office and lives a relatively impoverished life with her widowed mother and the rest of her family. It is, as everContinue reading “Felicity’s Fortune by Bessie Marchant”

Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett

Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett My rating: 5 of 5 stars There was a moment, about a quarter of the way through reading, that I realised something very precise about Further Adventures of the Family From One End Street. I think it is better than The Family fromContinue reading “Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett”

The Guardians of the House by Lucy M. Boston

The Guardians of the House by Lucy M. Boston My rating: 4 of 5 stars After many years of not understanding her work, I am increasingly obsessed with Lucy M. Boston. I found The Sea Egg a remarkable thing, and A Stranger At Green Knowe transformative. I think it is the stubborn strangeness of herContinue reading “The Guardians of the House by Lucy M. Boston”

Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver

Managing Expectations: A Memoir in Essays by Minnie Driver My rating: 4 of 5 stars A “memoir in essays” is an interesting thing because it’s always going to be more selective than the – already selective – form of the autobiography. It’s a challenge to set for yourself and it’s one that Driver answers veryContinue reading “Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver”

A Small Person Far Away by Judith Kerr

A Small Person Far Away by Judith Kerr My rating: 4 of 5 stars A Small Person Far Away is the third of Kerr’s thinly veiled autobiographies. It begins with When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and after that: Bombs on Aunt Dainty, and then here: Berlin, post war, and Anna being called to her mother’sContinue reading “A Small Person Far Away by Judith Kerr”

Always, Clementine by Carlie Sorosiak

Always, Clementine by Carlie Sorosiak My rating: 5 of 5 stars When I finished reading Always, Clementine for the first time, all I could think of was if I was nominating a book for the Carnegie then this would be it. There is something very special here and it might even be one of theContinue reading “Always, Clementine by Carlie Sorosiak”

Cherry Tree Perch by Josephine Elder

Cherry Tree Perch by Josephine Elder My rating: 4 of 5 stars Cherry Tree Perch is the second in a series and sometimes it feels it: you are launched into the premise with very little preamble and asked to simply catch up. It works, for the most, but there are quite a few moments whereContinue reading “Cherry Tree Perch by Josephine Elder”

The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett

The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett My rating: 4 of 5 stars There are times, I think, when the world sends you the right book for the right moment. We’ve all dealt with piles of books to be read and sometimes a book can sit on that pile for weeks if notContinue reading “The Family From One End Street by Eve Garnett”

Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

Kristy’s Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier My rating: 5 of 5 stars I recently found the first five of the graphic novel Baby-Sitters Club books in a local charity shop and reader, I screamed and grabbed them all and cackled my way home. I find these books intensely charming and rather brilliant things and so,Continue reading “Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier”

Happy Birthday How To Be True

My new book is out! How To Be True is the story of Edie Berger and how she became the brilliant little revolutionary that she is today. You’ll discover all about her family and her history and also there will be chocolate spread sandwiches and cobbled Paris streets and revolutionary first years and adventures galore.Continue reading “Happy Birthday How To Be True”

Writes Of Passage : words to read before you turn 13 by Nicolette Jones

Writes of Passage: Words to read before you turn 13 by Nicolette Jones My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was pleasantly surprised by this collection because, if I’m honest, I expected something that might have read a little bit worthy. There’s always the risk of that with books like this because it can beContinue reading “Writes Of Passage : words to read before you turn 13 by Nicolette Jones”

The Chalet School and the Lintons

The Chalet School and the Lintons by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars The first thing to say about The Chalet School and the Lintons is that it’s a much better hardback than it is paperback. In a way it marks the first of the Armada edits that, to me, make veryContinue reading “The Chalet School and the Lintons”

The Chalet School and Rosalie and The Mystery at the Chalet School by¬†Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School and Rosalie & The Mystery at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars Two books in one which can be basically summed up as “girls: mean” and “girls: complicated!!!” We begin with a Mystery at the Chalet School which gives us a new girl with aContinue reading “The Chalet School and Rosalie and The Mystery at the Chalet School by¬†Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The New House at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The New House at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Today was a day for New House. The weather was thick and hot and dense; that still, heavy air that is just hot and nothing else, and what else should one do on such days but read aContinue reading “The New House at the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh My rating: 4 of 5 stars Sometimes I think thar you can get to books too soon. I first read Brideshead Revisited when I was at school, somewhere around my A Levels, and I was not ready for it. But then, I think, neither was it for me. We wereContinue reading “Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh”

The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir and Amber Padilla

The Secret Garden on 81st Street: A Modern Retelling of the Secret Garden by Ivy Noelle Weir My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s difficult to tell you how much I loved this book without just shrieking “I LOVED THIS BOOK” and basically just repeating that for several paragraphs or so. The Secret Garden onContinue reading “The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir and Amber Padilla”

The Years of Grace edited by Noel Streatfeild

The Years of Grace by Noel Streatfeild My rating: 3 of 5 stars I was alerted to The Years of Grace by a friend (thank you!) who knew I enjoyed books of this nature. And I do, I am very fond of those kind of ‘how to be a girl’ books from, say, the 1940sContinue reading “The Years of Grace edited by Noel Streatfeild”

Max Counts To A Million by Jeremy Williams

Max Counts to a Million by Jeremy Williams My rating: 4 of 5 stars Max Counts To A Million is the first children’s book I’ve read to be set within the COVID pandemic. This is something I’m still wrestling with about whether or not to reference the pandemic in my own work and I don’tContinue reading “Max Counts To A Million by Jeremy Williams”

The Girl Who Lost A Leopard by Nizrana Farook

The Girl Who Lost a Leopard by Nizrana Farook My rating: 4 of 5 stars I found this super charming and I’m grateful to Nosy Crow for sending me a copy to look at. The first thing to note is how beautifully they produce their books there. I always mention it because it’s always true:Continue reading “The Girl Who Lost A Leopard by Nizrana Farook”

The Alchymist’s Cat by Robin Jarvis

The Alchymist’s Cat by Robin Jarvis My rating: 4 of 5 stars Every now and then I return to Robin Jarvis’ work like somebody finding dry land after weeks at sea. I first came across the Deptford books a long while ago, somewhere in that messy early nineties period of children’s literature where nothing wasContinue reading “The Alchymist’s Cat by Robin Jarvis”

Tom Tackles The Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Before I get to the review itself, can I tell you a bit about my copy of Tom? It’s one of the most precious books in my stash and honestly, it doesn’t look like it should be. It’s a slightly mothy Armada paperback with those soft, rubbed corners, so familiar to a book that’s beenContinue reading “Tom Tackles The Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Changes for the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Changes for the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I remembered how much I love these books when I got to the part where one character vaults out of the window and vanishes. Honestly, I think I cackled for a week over that one and I will probably cackleContinue reading “Changes for the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Sabotage on the Solar Express by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman

Sabotage on the Solar Express by M.G. Leonard My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have such respect for this wild and well-told adventure series and so I was thrilled when the publishers sent me a copy of Sabotage on the Solar Express to review. Adventure stories are hard to plot, mystery adventure stories areContinue reading “Sabotage on the Solar Express by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman”

Judith Kerr (the illustrators)

Judith Kerr by Joanna Carey My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s difficult for me to tell you how perfect this is so instead, I’ll tell you about how I had to stop halfway through reading to have a moment over how perfect it was. I have lusted over the Illustrators series from Thames andContinue reading “Judith Kerr (the illustrators)”

Stalking the Atomic City by Markiyan Kamysh

Stalking the Atomic City: Life Among the Decadent and the Depraved of Chornobyl by Markiyan Kamysh My rating: 4 of 5 stars Delirious, dangerous, and rather intoxicating, Stalking The Atomic City tells of the author’s visits to the ‘exclusion zone’ that exists about Chornobyl. There’s more than a little bit of Trainspotting about it butContinue reading “Stalking the Atomic City by Markiyan Kamysh”

The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Alexandrina Victoria aged 10 3/4

The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Queen Victoria My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve had this on my to be read list for a while, interested not only for the author but also because of my research into young female writers. It is an amazing topic to look at and one which fascinates meContinue reading “The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Alexandrina Victoria aged 10 3/4”

The Last Weapon by Theodora Wilson Wilson

The Last Weapon by Theodora Wilson Wilson My rating: 3 of 5 stars I came to The Last Weapon through one of Wilson’s children’s books Five of Them and could not quite believe how the author of that could also write this, an anti-war polemic that was banned during the first World War. It seemedContinue reading “The Last Weapon by Theodora Wilson Wilson”

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine

Killing and Dying: Stories by Adrian Tomine My rating: 4 of 5 stars Hovering somewhere between literary fiction, comic, short story, and ‘crisp, stark ruminations about life’, Killing and Dying has left me a little bit breathless. I found it almost by accident in the library and picked it up because I am always hereContinue reading “Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine”

Susan Kendall, Student Nurse by Patricia Baldwin

Susan Kendall, Student Nurse by Patricia Baldwin My rating: 3 of 5 stars It’s an interesting one this, a career novel from 1960 (so written at the tail end of the 50s) and detailing the progress of Susan Kendall into her chosen career as nurse. It’s published by Victory Press Books, a religious press, andContinue reading “Susan Kendall, Student Nurse by Patricia Baldwin”

The answers to the Second Quite Niche Children’s Literature Quiz

As promised, here are the answers to the quiz I posted on Christmas Eve! How did you do? Round One: Boarding School Stories One M-L hanging off a sturdy young sapling = One Mary-Lou hanging off a sturdy young sapling Two O’S T not caring at S C = Two O‚ÄôSullivan Twins not caring atContinue reading “The answers to the Second Quite Niche Children’s Literature Quiz”

The Second Ever Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz

Hello! Last year, I started a new tradition on this blog and I see no reason why I should not continue it this year. So here we are – it’s time for The Second Ever Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz. You can revisit the first one here, and if you’d like a reminder ofContinue reading “The Second Ever Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz”

The Chestnut Filly by Primrose Cumming

The Chestnut Filly by Primrose Cumming My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s not often you get a pony story like this and that, I think, makes The Chestnut Filly rather interesting. Randal Gray, a stammering and shy thirteen year old, has come into money due to a wayward godfather finally remembering that his godsonContinue reading “The Chestnut Filly by Primrose Cumming”

Michelle Obama by¬†Maria Isabel S√°nchez¬†Vegara¬†and Mia Saine

Michelle Obama by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve been a fan of the classy Little People, Big Dreams for a while. The quality of them is outstanding and I’ve always loved the artistic style used, a kind of vibrantly loose interpretation of the real world situations they depict coupledContinue reading “Michelle Obama by¬†Maria Isabel S√°nchez¬†Vegara¬†and Mia Saine”

The Rivals of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Rivals of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I realised recently that I have a handful of books left to do before I have reviewed the entire Chalet School series and so, I headed off to Rivals to start ticking them off. It had been a whileContinue reading “The Rivals of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Finishing my Goodreads reading challenge

I have been using Goodreads for a while. It began when I first started blogging, primarily because I didn’t know how to format things then (what on earth was this thing called HTML???) and I quite liked how Goodreads did the work for me. I’ve stuck with it ever since because I’ve become increasingly intriguedContinue reading “Finishing my Goodreads reading challenge”

How To Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess

How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve wanted to read How To Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess ever since I heard about it. I’m always excited by the books that put something different or under-represented into the world, and books featuring asexualityContinue reading “How To Be Ace by Rebecca Burgess”

Dulcie’s Little Brother by Evelyn Everett-Green

Dulcie’s Little Brother by Evelyn Everett-Green My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was surprisingly charming, albeit in that very Victorian ‘everybody gets a moral’ kind of way. The story is simple: Dulcie and her brother Tottie live in London with their nurse Nancy. Their father is away being something of a foolish wastrel (asContinue reading “Dulcie’s Little Brother by Evelyn Everett-Green”

Rescue In Ravensdale by Esm√© Cartmell

Rescue in Ravensdale by Esme Cartmell My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh this was interesting. I picked this up from one of my local bookshops with a healthy section in vintage children’s fiction. I’ve found some interesting titles there before and this, with the local – ish, connections caught my eye. I didn’t knowContinue reading “Rescue In Ravensdale by Esm√© Cartmell”

Welcome To The New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan

Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern My rating: 4 of 5 stars A thoughtful and eloquent “graphic novel and true story” Welcome To The New World is the story of an arrival. The Aldabaan family, originally from Syria, have arrived in America at the same time that Donald Trump has arrived in theContinue reading “Welcome To The New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan”

Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was just looking back at my prior reviews of this series and every single one has five stars. And so it is with Danger At Dead Man’s Pass that takes the series to somewhere spooky and spectral and (when theContinue reading “Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman”

The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter

The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was catching up on some long overdue review copies this weekend and The House On The Edge was on top of the pile. It’s a Nosy Crow book which always means quality – the way they present their titles andContinue reading “The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter”

Wonder Pony by Marie Sp√©nale

Wonder Pony by Marie Spenale My rating: 4 of 5 stars God, I found this so incredibly charming. It’s a rather deliciously eccentric comic which details the adventures of Louison at her new boarding school. That includes all the normal parts of new school life – making friends and finding a place in the worldContinue reading “Wonder Pony by Marie Sp√©nale”

The 1933 Girl’s Own Annual

(What are heatwaves made for if not to enjoy books that are eighty-eight years old?) If you’ve never come across a Girl’s Own Annual, you’re missing out. They were yearly bindups of the Girl’s Own paper – a publication that ran from 1880 – 1956 – and included work from authors as legendary as NoelContinue reading “The 1933 Girl’s Own Annual”

The Admirable Crichton by J M Barrie

The Admirable Crichton by J.M. Barrie My rating: 5 of 5 stars I came across the film first. The Admirable Crichton (1957) caught my eye because of the mention of Kenneth More – an actor who I’d enjoyed in some other films of that period, despite his rather wonderful ability in them to be nothingContinue reading “The Admirable Crichton by J M Barrie”

The Abbey Girls Go Back To School by Elsie J. Oxenham

The Abbey Girls Go Back To School by Elsie J. Oxenham My rating: 2 of 5 stars I keep trying with EJO and she keeps testing me and yet, I keep coming back. Why I cannot quit this series, I do not know. I keep putting them all in a bag to go to theContinue reading “The Abbey Girls Go Back To School by Elsie J. Oxenham”

A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson My rating: 5 of 5 stars I think sometimes Eva Ibbotson can be so perfect that you can’t quite figure out how she can be better, and then she writes: “At which point there entered a deus ex machina.It entered in an unexpected form: that of a lean,Continue reading “A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson”

The Yearbook by Holly Bourne

The Yearbook by Holly Bourne My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have such time for what Holly Bourne does. I like how smart and fearless and honest her writing is. I really like how she’s unafraid of giving people complex endings. Life isn’t neat. Things don’t cleanly web together. We knot, we fray, weContinue reading “The Yearbook by Holly Bourne”

On slow book collecting

I’ve been thinking a lot about the art of book collecting. It is an art, I think, for it comes with its own peculiarities, rhythms and language, and one can spend a thousand years studying it and yet still somehow not quite understand the twists of fate and circumstance that bring a book into yourContinue reading “On slow book collecting”

Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot

Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot My rating: 5 of 5 stars I recently finished a substantial bit of writing (finished, I say, in that way that Substantial Drafts Are Never Finished Oh God Oh God) and I decided to celebrate by sleeping for three weeks and then reading Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot.Continue reading “Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot”

How To Be Brave is out in one month!

Publishing is so strange. Everything seems to take forever – there’s things you can’t talk about to people for aaaaaaages, and then all of a sudden, you’re writing a post telling everybody that your debut children’s book is out in precisely one month (July 1st for the UK; July 6th for the US). Strange, yes,Continue reading “How To Be Brave is out in one month!”

Murder on the Safari Star

Murder on the Safari Star by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is just so good. SO good. I’ve talked before about the Adventures On Trains series before (reviewing The Highland Falcon Thief and Kidnap on the California Comet and loving them both intensely) and so, when Macmillan sentContinue reading “Murder on the Safari Star”

Otherland by Louie Stowell

Otherland by Louie Stowell My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is the story of one very challenging night in the lives of Myra and Rohan. Born within seconds of each other – and dying, too, before the doctors bring them back – they celebrate each other’s birthday/deathday each year together. The only problem isContinue reading “Otherland by Louie Stowell”

Night of the Red Horse by Patricia Leitch

Night of the Red Horse by Patricia Leitch My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s a point in the Jinny books where they step up into a whole new gear, and I rather suspect that it’s here. The Night Of The Red Horse picks up the themes that have been within the series and flipsContinue reading “Night of the Red Horse by Patricia Leitch”

The Lost Caf√© Schindler by Meriel Schindler

I’m increasingly conscious of the narrowness of history. Growing up in Britain in the nineties meant that our history was a very specific thing. You would have been forgiven for thinking that Britain had historically hopped from period to period; romans! tudors! victorians! the! modern! day! everything else in between just sort of happened! (Or,Continue reading “The Lost Caf√© Schindler by Meriel Schindler”

The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum

The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve had a lot of time for Kirsty Applebaum’s previous work, so when Nosy Crow sent me a proof of The Life And Time of Lonny Quicke, I was fascinated to see what she did with it. The premiseContinue reading “The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum”

Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland

Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh this is nice. Eland’s carving herself something of a delightful and rather elegant niche here, discussing complex and often challenging emotions with a lightness of touch and a beautifully wistful style. Having previously looked at sadness in When Sadness Is at YourContinue reading “Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland”

How To Be A Hero by Cat Weldon

There are some stories that tell you what human experience is and what it will be. Myths. Legends. Folklore. I love them. They’re the DNA of the human experience and there’s always something fresh and thrilling to be found in the telling of them, whether it’s Vikings, or Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis (and hisContinue reading “How To Be A Hero by Cat Weldon”

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bront√ę

I mean, where do you begin with a book like this….? The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bront√ę My rating: 5 of 5 stars I think that sometimes there are stories that you do not meet at the right time in your life, that somehow neither you nor it are right for each otherContinue reading “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bront√ę”

Vy’s Special Gift by Ha-Giang Trinh and Evi Shelvia

Let’s start the year off with a good, good picture book. I get a lot of emails from people asking me to review things here and there was something about this one that made me say yes. And oh, I’m so glad I did. Wild, beautiful, fiercely distinct artwork, and a story that’s full ofContinue reading “Vy’s Special Gift by Ha-Giang Trinh and Evi Shelvia”

Dogger’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes

Okay. So you know we’re a fan of Shirley Hughes here at DYESTT Towers. There’s nobody out there who can quite do what she does and we are SO lucky to be able to read it. (You can probably imagine my face when I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Dogger’s ChristmasContinue reading “Dogger’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes”

Luna Rae Is Not Alone by Hayley Webster

Luna Rae is Not Alone by Hayley Webster My rating: 5 of 5 stars There are a lot of new things in Luna Rae’s life. New home, new school, new friends. It’s a lot to deal with and the one she thinks might help would be winning the school’s baking competition with her mum. TheContinue reading “Luna Rae Is Not Alone by Hayley Webster”

The Accidental by Ali Smith

I’ve been wanting to read a lot more Ali Smith for a bit, and The Accidental felt like a perfect place to start. It’s easy, I think, to be a little bit intimidated by the authors and the books that win all of the awards because sometimes it can feel like you’re missing something ifContinue reading “The Accidental by Ali Smith”

Kidnap on the California Comet by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

Once when I was very little, I got press-ganged (they called it ‘being part of the Brownies’ and ‘community action’ but honestly, press-ganged) into helping clean up the local station. Can you imagine the sight? A gang of four foot nothing children in brown outfits depressedly cleaning windows. Amazing. A hundred years ago, and I’mContinue reading “Kidnap on the California Comet by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman”

The Most Popular Girl In The School by Bessie Marchant

You know when you just finish reading a book and go ‘huh, so. what. just. happened?’. That’s The Most Popular Girl In The School in a nutshell. I read it and had to have this little moment where I flicked back through to check that I hadn’t imagined it all. But I hadn’t. Honestly, everythingContinue reading “The Most Popular Girl In The School by Bessie Marchant”

Girls In Green by Elisabeth Morley

I’m going to apologise in advance for this review of Girls In Green, but honestly – this book. It starts in a normal place and then BOOM we’re up a tree and BOOM there’s stitched up pillowcases and BOOM somebody’s about to cark it in the pond. What I’m trying to say is there’s aContinue reading “Girls In Green by Elisabeth Morley”

Ballet for Drina by Jean Estoril

[Can I tell you a secret? I only discovered in the last few years that Jean Estoril was a pseudonym for the legendary Mabel Esther Allan..and I’m still not quite over it. Fun fact: “Jean Estoril” is almost an anagram for “neorealist” and this has entertained me ever since…] Ballet for Drina by Jean EstorilContinue reading “Ballet for Drina by Jean Estoril”

Chester House Wins Through by Irene Smith

[This has been on my TBR pile for a while, and today I felt like it was the time. I sort of thought it might be brilliant – I rather like it when books tell me off for waiting to read them – but reader, it wasn’t. However, Chester House Wins Through does have theContinue reading “Chester House Wins Through by Irene Smith”

The Monsters of Rookhaven by P√°draig Kenny

The Monsters of Rookhaven by P√°draig Kenny My rating: 4 of 5 stars The first thing to recognise about The Monsters of Rookhaven is how beautiful it is. It’s a really rather perfectly put together book, which is always a good sign. It tells you that the publisher understands this book, that they know whatContinue reading “The Monsters of Rookhaven by P√°draig Kenny”

A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt

[Back when lockdown ended, and the world opened up again, one of my first visits was to a street in my town that’s full of charity shops. Each charity shop has its own character. One is very good for antique crockery (I’ll save my blog on cake-stands for another day), another is curiously obsessed withContinue reading “A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt”

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

[Hello! I’ve been reading some not great books recently – hence the great gap between the last review and this. You know the sort of thing I mean? The book that you read a couple of pages of and realise instantly that they’re not for you. That. A lot of them, suddenly, all at onceContinue reading “Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively”

Welcome To Your Period! by Yumi Synes and Dr Melissa Kang

Welcome to Your Period! by Yumi Stynes My rating: 5 of 5 stars Welcome to Your Period! is funny, frank and fearless and I loved every inch of it. Even though I’m roughly three thousand years old at this point (hello 2020!), it took me back to the sex education classes we all received atContinue reading “Welcome To Your Period! by Yumi Synes and Dr Melissa Kang”

A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars It recently hit me that there were still a few titles to do in my review of the Chalet School series and, that A Future Chalet School Girl is quite poor in every definition of the word, so where elseContinue reading “A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Red King’s Dream : Or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland by J. E Jones and J. Francis Gladstone

The Red King’s Dream: Or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland by J.E. Jones My rating: 3 of 5 stars So, before we begin: I am no Alice scholar, nor am I particularly fond of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I enjoy it but it’s never been one of those books that has particularly resonated with me norContinue reading “The Red King’s Dream : Or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland by J. E Jones and J. Francis Gladstone”

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s always a good sign when a book looks as stunning as The Black Flamingo does. This is a treat of design, all the way from that luscious front cover full of colour and style and power through to the pages themselves whichContinue reading “The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta”

The Last Word and Other Stories by Graham Greene

The Last Word and Other Stories by Graham Greene My rating: 4 of 5 stars I think I’m in love with Graham Greene now and I’m not sure how to feel about that. In many senses, I’d written him off as somebody who wrote about things that I wasn’t interested in. A sweeping statement IContinue reading “The Last Word and Other Stories by Graham Greene”

The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I reread The School by The River for a lecture I attended online this week, one concerned with the role of memory and how the act of reading is in itself situated across our lives. What does it mean toContinue reading “The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota My rating: 3 of 5 stars It was only when I finished The Year Of The Runaways that I managed to figure out what wasn’t working for me. There’s a lot here that does; it was nominated for the Booker in 2015 and rightly so, it’s aContinue reading “The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota”

The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf edited by Susan Dick

The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf by Virginia Woolf My rating: 5 of 5 stars I am circling around the work of Virginia Woolf, dipping in my toe every now and and then and trying to figure out what this author is for me and what her work can be. I struggled a lotContinue reading “The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf edited by Susan Dick”

Fracture by Andr√©s Neuman

Fracture: A Novel by Andr√©s Neuman My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve been making a deliberate push for a while to read more translated fiction, a reaction, I suppose, to the world we find ourselves within at the moment and the way that even the bottom of the road seems a little unknowable andContinue reading “Fracture by Andr√©s Neuman”

Seven Men of Gascony by R. F. Delderfield

Seven Men of Gascony by R.F. Delderfield My rating: 4 of 5 stars (And what do we do in a a pandemic, but turn to the stalwart classics of the bookshelf?) I do not remember the first time I read Seven Men of Gascony but I know that it was a long time ago. ItContinue reading “Seven Men of Gascony by R. F. Delderfield”

Trials For The Chalet School, an audio review

I’ve been contemplating doing some audio content for a while (I feel like I need to hashtag that liberally but I honestly can’t bear it, so forgive me). The current situation in the world has given me that opportunity and so, here we are with a review of Trials For The Chalet School – aContinue reading “Trials For The Chalet School, an audio review”

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami My rating: 4 of 5 stars A lyrical exploration of tragedy, The Other Americans is an incredibly poised and eloquent novel. One night Driss Guerraoui crosses the road and is killed by a speeding car; the novel follows what happens next, spiralling through a series of chapters told byContinue reading “The Other Americans by Laila Lalami”