Review: Bill Bryson At Home

I love Bill Bryson. I thought his Notes from a Small Island was witty, biting and showed an endearing love of Britain with all its flaws. Its American equivalent was just as interesting, given his propensity for going off on a seeming tangent to dump a load of fascinating facts that you want to share with other people and then coming back, pages later, to his original point. So I was predisposed to like this book. It’s set up as a history of private life – the reasons we have more than one floor in our house, the development of …

Review: The Cousin’s War series

The Cousins’ War series by Philippa Gregory has formed a major part of my summer reading. Spoilers ahead, but mostly of the history involved, so if you know the history there won’t be much to surprise you. It’s a five-book series focusing on the war between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, as told through the women involved as major players. If you know about the war, also known as the Wars of the Roses because of the white and red symbols of the houses, you’ll know the names of the English kings involved – Edward IV, Richard III, the princes who went …

Review: The Passage (Justin Cronin) 5/5

This is an absolutely stunning novel. I loved it, every moment of it. I was given it by a colleague who thought it would be exactly my kind of thing, knowing that I love thick, gothic, supernatural fiction, and she was absolutely right. It’s amazing, a book I literally couldn’t stop reading – every spare moment – and I pretty much picked up the second one immediately. Definitely go and read it now. Spoilers below. It’s told in such an interesting way – starting off with a series of medical experiments, designed as a combination of ways to extend human …

Review: Light by Michael Grant

  Light is the final book in Grant’s series, which I’ve reviewed as I’ve been reading them. Despite a dip in the middle, I think this final book was superb – the characters all came together, action was fast paced and exciting, and it was a good ending to the series. Starting the novel with the statement that “the best bit about any story is its ending” smacks a little of arrogance – and certainly sets himself a high target to achieve! I wouldn’t say this is necessarily the best of the books, but it is a fitting ending. Each …

Review: Fear (Michael Grant)

Despite a slight disappointment in Plague, the fourth book in this series, I read Fear straight after it – and Grant definitely got his writing mojo back!! The FAYZ is still as deadly as ever, but this book focuses on the way the FAYZ is changing rather than the people in it. Nobody’s developing new powers except the gaiaphage, the creature that seems to have been taking advantage of the FAYZ to grow, take over and destroy. There’s an uneasy sense of peace between Perdido Beach and the lake, and the changing relationship between Sam and Caine is fascinating – they’re …

Review: Hunger, Lies and Plague by Michael Grant

As I read these in quick succession, I thought I’d review them all at once. The series picked up pace in Hunger and Lies; Grant’s world continues to be horrific after everyone aged 15 and over disappears suddenly one day, and the showdown between Sam and Caine has resulted in a divided group of children who don’t know what to do next. Things just go from bad to so unbelievably worse in the FAYZ. In these three books, there’s famine because the kids were disorganised at first and ate everything processed and sweet before the veg now rotting in the …