Goldenhand by Garth Nix

In my recent review of Clariel, I mentioned that The Old Kingdom series was a series that I had loved as a teenager and that I had been very excited to discover Nix was releasing another novel in the series. Off the back of this excitement, I had read Clariel over the summer and was a little disappointed by it. Part of me thought that maybe it was simply a case of growing up and literary tastes changing, but Goldenhand showed me that this was very much not the case: I loved this novel so much that my housemate ended up laughing at the little smile I had on my face the whole time I was reading. Read more


Season of Stories: The Bed Moved

Season of Stories: ‘The Bed Moved’ or ‘http://www.msjiz/boxx374/mpeg’ by Rebecca Schiff

At the time of writing, I think I have to say this is my least favourite of the stories I’ve received through the Season of Stories initiative. Whilst with ‘Dumpster Diving with the Stars’ and ‘Full Body’ I was left on the Friday considering whether to buy the short fiction collection from which those works originated, I did not have the same response to ‘http://www.msjiz/boxx374/mpeg’ (titled in Season of Stories ‘The Bed Moved’). I struggled to connect to the characters, and found the narrative somewhat lacking in direction. Read more

Season of Stories: Full Body

Season of Stories: ‘Full Body’ by Mona Awad

This was the second story I received by email through the Season of Stories initiative. For a more general introduction to the Season of Stories, and the plan for these short reviews, have a look at my review for Helen Ellis’ ‘Dumpster Diving with the Stars’. At the time of writing I have received four stories and this story is probably my joint favourite of the stories I have read, along with ‘Dumpster Diving with the Stars’. In a similar way to that first story, reading this one made me consider whether to invest in a copy of the short fiction collection by Mona Awad from which this story originates. Read more

Season of Stories: Dumpster Diving with the Stars

Please note: As I explain below, I have been receiving short stories by email through Penguin Random House’s Season of Stories initiative. I wasn’t sure how to review these since, by nature of being individual pieces of short fiction, the reviews were also relatively short. So I’ve decided to post these reviews in blocks of more concentrated posting: the first three will go up Wednesday, Saturday, and Monday over this coming week. The rest will be up in a few weeks. 

Season of Stories: ‘Dumpster Diving with the Stars’ by Helen Ellis

This was the first of the short stories I received through Penguin Random House’s Season of Stories. I was really excited about receiving the first one, especially since it came very conveniently in time for my lunch break. Over the next three days, I enjoyed getting installment after installment of this short story in my inbox and now, as I’m writing this, I’m considering whether to get myself a copy of Helen Ellis’ short fiction collection from which this piece originates. Read more

All My Friends Are Superheroes

All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

I had never heard of this novella until this video from Penguin Platform appeared in my subscription box a few weeks ago. The title and the premise immediately intrigued me: I have always been a fan of the ordinary person surrounded by extraordinary people. I was also in the middle of reading War and Peace at the time (I still am at the time of writing and probably still will be at the time of posting) so I was looking for something quick and light to read as a break. I know (now, after research) that this a very popular novella and I can definitely see why it has received attention; Kaufman takes an interesting premise and uses that to talk about the nature of what it means to be a flawed, insecure human. Read more

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Despite my interest in Victorian Literature, it actually took me a long time to get stuck into any novels of Dickens and this is the first one I have read without it being required for a course. I studied Great Expectations during my undergraduate degree, followed by Bleak House and Oliver Twist; of these, I probably connected with Bleak House the most, although I did struggle with the long passages about the law. I will admit that my main reasoning for reading A Tale of Two Cities was mostly to do with its opening and closing lines: without doubt among the most famous opening and closing lines in the English language. However, I didn’t know much about the plot before I started reading and it was definitely not what I was expected. Read more

From Mansfield With Love (Foot in the Door Theatre, 2015)

From Mansfield With Love (Foot in the Door Theatre, 2015)

I’ll be honest: I really don’t like Mansfield Park. Not just in a ‘it’s my least favourite of Austen’s novels’ way, but in a ‘I just don’t like it as a novel’ way; I found it hard to engage with the characters and was left unenthused by the overall plot. Up until From Mansfield With Love, I had only ever seen one adaptation of Mansfield Park and it had done little to change my opinion. However, given that it was a UK-based web series, I decided that I should at least watch the first episode of From Mansfield With Love when it aired to show some local support. It only took that one episode for protagonist Frankie Price to endear herself, and I quickly grew to love this series and these characters. Read more