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Showing posts from November, 2012

Desert Angel by Charlie Price

'He is waiting. He is watching. He will hunt her down.'
Desert Angel is a seriously terrifying and tense story. Angel is a teenager whose whole life has, so far, consisted of moving from one place to the next as her flakey mum works through a succession of abusive relationships. The only constant in her life is her relationship with her mother, but even that has been taken away from her by Scotty, her mum's last boyfriend. Last ever boyfriend that is, after an argument got even more heated than usual and Scotty's bloodlust ended in murder.

Angel knows something terrible has happened as she follows Scotty out into the desert. There she finds her mother's shallow grave, her body hurriedly hidden. There's no time for Angel to grieve, Scotty is dangerous and she needs a plan. My heart nearly broke as Angel stuffs down the pain she feels:

'Angel could feel the cry coming, bad, huge, and it scared her. What if she couldn't stop? What if she broke apart? She pu…

Research Trip

I'm in Edinburgh this week on a research trip. The Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh has a splendid library, and it holds the William Cullen archive. Cullen was a physician of some repute in the eighteenth century. People wrote to him from all over Britain asking for his help with their various ailments. I am particularly interested in stomach problems and people asking for advice about their daily regimen. I've had a great afternoon today reading through lots of letters, and I'm here for another two days.

I might not get any book reviews done until the weekend, but I read Salley Vicker's The Cleaner of Chartres on the train on the way up north, and it is fantastic. I am really looking forward to writing a glowing review as soon as I can.

Laura Lamont's Life In Pictures by Emma Straub

The bright lights of Hollywood had always been beckoning Elsa Emerson. Growing up in a small-town theatre run by her parents, the stage was her home. That she would leave the idyllic surroundings of her childhood became inevitable once the security she had known was destroyed by a family tragedy. So, at the first opportunity, Elsa flees, searching for a new and bigger life.

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures tells the story of Elsa's transformation into Laura, the glamorous film star. Her decision to leave home, with the first opportunity in the form of Gordon-from-Florida, to pursue her dreams sets her on a tumultuous journey. Elsa goes from teenager to wife and mother rapidly, and her dreams seem further away than ever. Gordon finds work at the Gardner Brothers Studios, whilst Elsa is left behind to look after the family and home. Her lucky break comes at a studio party, where she is spotted by studio boss Irving Green. She leaves with a new identity and a promise. But her good …

Downstairs at Picador

Last night I was lucky enough to attend an event Downstairs at Picador. It was an evening showcasing and celebrating the publisher's hottest new authors. It was amazing! Six authors read from their books, all due to be published next year, and we had a jolly good chat with lots of book-loving folk. It really was such a lovely evening. As a result of all this fun I now already have six book I absolutely have to read in 2013...

How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman

I think this is going to be a creepy and disturbing story of a marriage, in which the wife is oblivious to some terrible secret. Marta and Hector have been married so long that Marta has trouble even remembering the time before they were a couple. It sounds great, and the extract Emma read last night gave a taste of Marta's unease.

It's not too long to wait for this one, it's published 3rd January 2013.

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler

I could have listened to Sarah read from her book all eve…

Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson

Consider the Fork is a very entertaining look at the history of the equipment with which we have cooked and served food. I realise that, on the face of it, not everyone will be jumping up and down with excitement about this topic, but you would be rather mistaken to think this a dry survey. As anyone familiar with Bee Wilson's food column in The Sunday Telegraph knows, she is an engaging writer. The book skips along taking in a whole range of objects that help make the food on our plates more tasty and appealing.

The book is divided up into eight sections, each one discussing a particular type of kitchen technology, be it pots and pans, knives, ice or fire. Wilson examines the influences on the development of gadgets and styles of cooking. As in so many other areas of everyday life, some inventions are the by-products of military research. Other changes have been stimulated by sweeping social changes. During the middle ages it was usual to carry one's own knife for use at the t…

Through the Eyes of Formula 1

This is such a good idea - drivers and team members from up and down the pit lane were given cameras and told to photograph things that meant something to them. The result is a eclectic mix of pictures. There are some great photos taken during Grand Prix weekends; I especially like Lewis Hamilton's shot of his view from the cockpit of his car. There are some stunning landscapes too. Kamui Kobayashi might consider a second career as a photographer; his picture of Mount Fuji is breathtaking. There's also a few unusual choices scattered throughout the book - who knew Damon Hill was so into surfing? It's good to see some devotion to dogs in evidence here too. It's not surprising that Mark Webber loves going home to his two gorgeous dogs, and Sergio Perez's hound is a joyous sight!

I think this is an excellent Christmas present idea for F1 fans. The photos all have little captions explaining why the person chose that particular shot, and the book is a who's who of …

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler