Clock Dance - Anne Tyler


I love Anne Tyler's writing so much that I got this as soon as it was published (the UK cover isn't as appropriate as this one, presumably the US version). Her books are wise and quirky and well-observed... and this was... yet it seemed unremarkable, even inconsequential. It's really a series of short stories about the central character but doesn't quite hang together as a novel. If it wasn't Anne Tyler, I probably wouldn't be so indulgent.

The Bellwether Revivals - Benjamin Wood


This was on my 'to be read' list for, literally, years. So was it worth the wait? Well, it's very readable, the prose is strikingly lovely at times, and the descriptions are often uniquely evocative. The characters and the plot, however, are vague and ill-defined. Stuff happens; people react; it tails off to a whimper.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness


There's no denying that Patrick Ness is among the most accomplished and inventive authors of Young Adult fiction. He's great at developing characters and experimenting with ideas, so the 'off-centre heroism' premise for this was intriguing. But it didn't really work, ending up an uncomfortable mix of sketchy fantasy and teenage angst.

The Silent Companions - Laura Purcell


When I picked this up in Waterstones, three separate booksellers swooped down to convince me of its brilliance. Well, as derivative Gothic horror goes, it's pretty accomplished at ratcheting up the inevitable doom. But the characters, like the sinister 'companions' of the title, are unlikable and two-dimensional, and so much is thrown at the plot that it becomes more creaky than creepy.

Solomon Creed - Simon Toyne


From the British tone of voice in an American setting to the unconvincing characters and incoherent plot, there is nothing very thrilling about this ridiculous thriller.

The Swish of the Curtain - Pamela Brown


With a sudden burst of nostalgia for this childhood favourite, I ordered the new edition from the library. And, while it's not exactly the epic tale of theatre folk I remembered, it's still a delightful, perceptive and engaging account of a group of overachieving children (mostly aged 13+ but teenagers had not yet been invented). It's even more extraordinary for having been written by a 14 year old, evidently an overachiever herself.

The Music Shop - Rachel Joyce


Unlike Joyce's other books, this is sad but not tragic, and [spoiler] even has a happy, cheesy ending, which is unexpected from this author. It's also so slow, with such tedious characters, that I nearly gave up several times. Well-written, of course, but unremarkable.

Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz


Another ingenious, slightly postmodern and very English novel from the prolific Horowitz. It was clever, and pleasing from my point of view to have an editor act as detective, but somehow ultimately unsatisfying.

A Convenient Marriage - Georgette Heyer


More of the same - fine, fun fiction. These modern covers are fabulous.

False Colours - Georgette Heyer


Some amusing characters but ultimately unmemorable.

A Face like Glass - Frances Hardinge


A solid Young Adult fantasy adventure with some imaginative and compelling ideas. It loses its way a little in the middle, and could have done with a more robust copy edit, but generally this seems to be an author to seek out for post-Potter tweens.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman


This is the Current Big Thing so, of course, I really wanted to hate it and, indeed, the narrator is incredibly irritating at first. But she mellows (or, more likely, the author forgets to make her quite as annoying) and I enjoyed the redemptive story despite myself. I also liked Glaswegian setting, a surprisingly rare location for bestselling novels.

When the Floods Came - Clare Morrall


As post-apocalyptic, dystopian novels go, this was a lot of fun. A well-imagined situation, with interesting characters. Best not to think about the coincidences and plot holes too much.

The Word is Murder - Anthony Horowitz


In a slightly postmodern twist on the standard murder mystery, the author casts himself in the bumbling Watson or Hastings role to the inscrutable detective. It works well as a mix of autobiography and fiction, and is cleverly plotted enough to provide enough false leads for a satisfying denouement.