General book stuff, Monthly round ups

August round up

Book and Brew in August has been a pretty busy place. There have been reviews, travels, news of exciting projects to come, the reliving of my first book love and finding cool bookshops abroad. Ah, so much great stuff.

In case you missed something or just want to re-read my mutterings, here’s a round up of book reviews, book chat and book love from August.

Book reviews by Book and Brew

I reviewed two great books this month.

Alice Thompson’s The Book Collector is a dinky little story that entwines fairy tales with the very best features of the gothic tradition. You’ll devour it in one sitting – just make sure you have a blanket to hide under.

I also reviewed Hannah Kohler’s debut novel The Outside LandsThis family saga is set in America and has the Vietnam War as its backdrop. There’s drama, love affairs, redefining of relationships and much more. It’s an accomplished piece for a new writer and sets the bar high for Kohler’s second novel – which she assures me (via Twitter) is one its way.

And, if you’re after some inspiring reads, I pointed you in the direction of The Reading Lists – a project that’s aiming to collect the best reading lists from the best minds.

Book chat from Book and Brew

I got the chance to hear from three fantastic authors this month.

The Book and Brew book club gals took a day trip to the Edinburgh Book Festival where we had the privilege of listening to the first reading of Ali Smith’s new novel. It was sublime and I can’t wait for it to be released.

I attended a fascinating lecture by Philippa Gregory, who set out her remit to redefine the stories of women from British history. The level of research this author performs is extraordinary, and her passion for her subject was very inspiring.

And, I went full book geek by sitting in the front row for an evening with Jessie Burton at Waterstones Newcastle. She is probably my favourite contemporary author and it was a thrill to hear more about her reading and writing life. (She was raised on Roald Dahl so is OK with me.)

Oh, and I also told you about a children’s literature extravaganza coming to Newcastle next month. And guess who’s on the blog tour? Yup, me! I’m interviewing Harriet Whitehorn on 9 September so come back to find out what it’s like to write for 7 year-olds.

Book love from Book and Brew

There was so much book love this much.

I told you about all of the fabulous sessions available at this year’s Berwick Literary Festival to help you improve your writing skills and increase your knowledge of the workings of the publishing industry. I also shared my own desires to do some creative writing.

My trip to Prague uncovered some awesome book treasures. I found the coolest of bookshops (with a bar!) and got to check out one of the world’s oldest libraries. Beers and pretzels were also involved a bit.

Those of you who are looking to break into publishing might find my interview with the Society of Young Publishers useful. It was packed with tips for building your CV and profile – even if you’re not in London.

I went all gooey over my first book love. I talked to you about the book that I fell in love with at 16 and how it stays with me now (well into my 30s!).

Now, that summer is drawing to a close I shared my reader’s guide to surviving autumn. It mainly involves cosy socks, blankets and HobNobs. You need to start preparing so read this before the temperature drops.

And, drum roll please…

I unveiled the spectacular line-up for September’s Book and Brew takeover. So many brilliant readers, writers and publishers will be sharing inspiring stories with us next month that you just have to come back.


I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read in August. If you’d like me to review a book or write something for you next month, get in touch and let’s talk.

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