The Sixth Gun Volume 4


Read 30/05/2016

Rating: 4 stars

I couldn’t resist buying the next trade paperback in this series, after gobbling up volumes 1-3 last week.

This grouping of six stories didn’t feel as strong in terms of plot development as the previous three trades, but what I liked most about it was the silent fourth chapter (issue 21) and Mr Tyler Crook’s illustration of the sixth chapter (issue 23). Continue reading

Did You Ever Have a Family


Read 29/05/2016-30/05/2016

Rating: 3 stars

Read for The Readers’ Room March Madness Challenge

I don’t know whether I liked this book. It gripped me, but not in the best way. It gripped me like a car crash story of misery would in the Family section of The Guardian. Continue reading

The Shadow Girls


Read 25/05/2016-28/05/2016

Rating: 5 stars

Henning Mankell’s Wallander series is one of my favourite discoveries of recent years. We stumbled upon the Swedish film adaptations late one night (the ones starring Krister Henriksson, not Rolf Lassgård) and I sought out the books. It was love at first read. I love crime and detective fiction anyway, but this was different to what I was familiar with. Wallander was more human, more vulnerable, more honestly ridiculous than most other middle aged, emotionally dysfunctional male detectives that populate the genre. He was those things as well, but he reflected on his inadequacies and used his job as a distraction and a proof that he wasn’t all bad. He also reflected on the nature of the crimes he investigated, not willing to pass them off as the inevitable actions of bad people, but recognising changes in society as an underlying cause. Wallander isn’t a hard boiled cop, he’s a cop with a conscience. The life Mankell built for him outside work was as richly described as his professional one, making him more real. I cared about him. For anyone who hasn’t read the series, I won’t give away the ending, but I will admit that I cried.

I’ve read other books by Mankell, too. I loved Italian Shoes and The Return of the Dancing Master. The Man from Beijing wasn’t my favourite, but it was readable. Mankell also had a passion for Africa and spent a lot of time there, developing a theatre company in Mozambique. He was politically active and supported social justice. He wrote a few novels based on his experiences in Africa, and when I went to change my books at the library recently, I decided to give one a try. I picked up The Shadow Girls, which is about refugees and immigration. Continue reading

The Sixth Gun Volumes 1-3


Read 23/05/2016-25/05/2016

Rating: 4 stars

The Sixth Gun is a series of comics written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt. My husband has the first three trade paperbacks, The Sixth Gun Volume 1: Cold Dead Fingers, The Sixth Gun Volume 2: Crossroads, and The Sixth Gun Volume 3: Bound, which bring together issues 1-17. There are currently 8 trades available, with the final three issues due to be compiled into Volume 9 this summer.

I decided to start reading them because I left The Red Queen on my desk at work one night this week. I was hooked immediately. I made myself finish The Red Queen, but I jumped straight into the second Volume rather than start another novel, and then devoured the third straight after that. I love this series! Continue reading

The Red Queen (Philippa Gregory)


Read 21/05/2016-24/05/2016

Rating: 3 stars

This isn’t a work of great literature, but it is an entertaining read. Gregory clearly puts lots of research into the background to her historical novels, if this is anything to go by. I don’t know nearly as much as I should about the Wars of the Roses, and I had to keep checking online to see which Edward and which Richard was which, and to find out the significance of the battles mentioned in the novel.

Margaret Beaufort seems a little priggish at first, but she soon develops an admirable strength of character when she is given in marriage to Henry VI’s half brother Edmund Tudor and subjected to conjugal rape from the age of 12 until she becomes pregnant. She knows her duty, and when Edmund is captured, she takes charge of her household, protecting her unborn child and future king to the best of her ability. Continue reading

Life After Life


Read 17/05/2016-20/05/2016

Rating: 3 stars

LibraryThing review

It’s a clever device, enabling a character to have repeated goes at life, returning them each time to the start, giving them that sense of déjà vu, that sense of premonition, that enables them to dodge the previous death on the next go around until they finally get life on the right track. Continue reading



Read 17/05/2016

Rating: 3 stars

I changed my library books today. One of the books I chose turned out to be children’s fiction mis-shelved in the adult fiction section.

Rooftoppers is a magical mix of The Silver Sword, The Summer Book and Tom’s Midnight Garden, shot through with the child-like wonder of Amélie. Continue reading