Double Book Review: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt & I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson

The YA genre can be a bit hit-and-miss for me. I’m now 25 and some YA novels that I might have obsessed about 10 years ago now seem twee, slushy and/or overly predictable. However, recently I read two British YA contemporaries that were hard-hitting, completely unpatronising and that dealt with serious issues in a mature and thoroughly compelling way. Continue reading “Double Book Review: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt & I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson”

Book Review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Essex Serpent Blue
Beautiful blue Waterstone’s exclusive hardcover – you can’t see from this picture but some of the detail is stunningly picked out in gold foil.

One of our titles for May book club, I have wanted to get round to The Essex Serpent for an embarrassingly long time. Waterstones Book of the Year, Overall Book of the Year and Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction… I could go on with its various accolades but let’s just say it’s one of the most critically acclaimed books of the moment. Continue reading “Book Review: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry”

This Bookseller Recommends… Title recommendations for fans of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

One of the most frequent requests I get from customers as a bookseller is, “I really loved [insert book here] or [insert author here], and now I don’t know what to read next.” With my This Bookseller Recommends series, I will take a highly popular book or author and recommend other books to read that I think are similar in subject matter, style or general feel. Continue reading “This Bookseller Recommends… Title recommendations for fans of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins”

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
This is a proof – I believe that the UK cover is still black but has more detail; the US cover is VERY different – see which one you prefer!

This book is so important. It’s a book that I can not only see being hugely successful, but one that I believe will continue to be successful, and relevant, and maybe even studied in classrooms in the not-so-distant future. Inspired by the Black Lives Matters movement, this novel follows Starr, a 16-year-old black girl who witnesses the murder of her unarmed friend Khalil at the hands of a white policeman. Continue reading “Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas”

Audiobook Review: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

Gustav Sonata Screenshot

Although I finished this novel pretty much ages ago, I felt like I couldn’t write a review straight away because I wasn’t actually sure how I felt about it. I went into it fairly blind; the only plot detail I knew was that it was set in Switzerland around the time of the Second World War and that Erich Perle, a policeman and Gustav’s father, had lost his job for helping Jewish refugees to enter the country by falsifying documents. Continue reading “Audiobook Review: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain”

Book Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I think I’m a little bit in love with Laini Taylor. She doesn’t just write fantasy; she writes bold, expressive, character-driven fantasy, with sentence after beautifully-crafted sentence building rich and complex worlds that demand to be explored. I absolutely adored the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which made Laini Taylor my favourite fantasy discovery of 2016 (well, it’s a toss-up between her and Brandon Sanderson but it’s a very close competition). Continue reading “Book Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor”

Book Review: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

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I think I’ve just listened to one of the most unexpected and pleasantly surprising books ever. Not surprising because I thought that the brilliant Anthony Horowitz could ever write anything bad; I downloaded this new book on faith without knowing much about it because I trusted that it would be good. A devoted Alex Rider fan before I moved on to the Raven’s Gate series and then to his adult Sherlock Holmes novels, I’ve never met a Horowitz book I didn’t like. However, I still wasn’t expecting this amazingly clever and razor sharp twist on the relatively clichéd and formulaic vintage crime classic, rendered all the more unique because of its “novel within a novel” concept. If Horowitz’s ability to write intelligent, original crime was ever in doubt, Magpie Murders just serves as further proof of his talent. Continue reading “Book Review: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz”