Book review: Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Sunday, November 28, 2021 Permalink

Unforgiven is the third book I’ve read by Australian author Sarah Barrie and she always delivers intriguing thrillers with complex and often-flawed characters. Unforgiven is certainly my favourite of hers so far as I found myself invested in the fate of the lead characters and intrigued by the unfolding plot.

I’ve commented on the settings of her other books, but though she also demonstrates her incredible ability to give readers a sense of ‘place’ particularly in the beginning when one of our characters is trying to work out where to ditch a body, this book focuses less on the where and more on the fast-paced what.

four-stars

Book review: Happy Hour by Jacquie Byron

Friday, November 26, 2021 Permalink

Happy Hour by Jacquie Byron was a delightful surprise. It very much reminded me of other books I’ve loved, The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock, Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray and¬† Saving Missy by Beth Morrey.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m ageing, but I appreciate books about older women (or men) and it’s a reminder that lives can be just as happy or messy or uncertain no matter whether you’re 20 or 70.

four-stars

Book review: The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

Saturday, November 20, 2021 Permalink

Before The Stranger in the Lifeboat I’d not read anything by Mitch Albom. I’ve not even seen the movie based on his popular book, Tuesdays with Morrie. But something about his latest release had me intrigued.

As a lover of mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction, I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘that’ kind of book, but there was mention of a mystery at the heart of this novel which I thought might appeal. And I certainly enjoyed this book, however it wasn’t really the question posed by the book, but Albom’s writing that had me enchanted.

four-half-stars

Book review: Game On: Tempting Twenty-Eight by Janet Evanovich

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Permalink

I thought I’d only missed the most recent Stephanie Plum ¬†adventure but according to Goodreads the last I read was #25. And in the two books I’ve missed Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur has been married and widowed. Again.

Things seem to have progressed with one of Stephanie’s love interests as well. Though here, it’s not the Ranger vs Morelli dilemma we’re used to, but someone called Diesel raises his apparently handsome head. And I found myself wondering where he fits into things, though have a vague memory of him – perhaps in a different series or a standalone book?

three-half-stars

Book review: The Little Cafe by the Lake by Joanne Tracey

Thursday, November 11, 2021 Permalink

The Little Cafe by the Lake by Joanne Tracey is the latest in a series of interlinked books – set across Australia, New Zealand and England.

These books and Tracey’s strength continues to be the relatability of her characters and the ease of her storytelling. I also appreciate that she paints players in shades of grey. Here there’s an unwelcome visitor and – though it’d be tempting to paint them in a cast them as completely villainous – she resists the urge, which has been the case in her previous books. And it’s surprising to find ourselves feeling sympathy or empathy for those responsible for others’ pain.

four-stars

Book review: The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 Permalink

I love Michael Connelly’s Detective Renee Ballard series, even more so in the recent novels in which he’s paired her with his stalwart Harry Bosch.

Ballard’s a bit of a lone wolf in LAPD and normally works alone, so – despite Bosch’s murky reputation with his former colleagues – I like the collaborative ‘smarts’ and insight we see when the pair join forces… not to mention the mutual respect and camaraderie.

four-half-stars

Book review: Deception Creek by Fleur McDonald

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 Permalink

Every time I review one of Fleur McDonald’s Detective Dave Burrows books I feel compelled to mention there are TWO series featuring Burrows. A contemporary series in which he appears but the lead character is often loosely linked to one from the previous book in the series. And then there’s the young Dave Burrows series, set a decade or two earlier, when he first becomes a police officer.

I also always comment on the authenticity McDonald’s own background as a farmer lends to her work. Not only does she effortlessly drop in details about farming life (stuff about cattle or crops and prices or new technology) but many of her characters promote the role of women in agriculture and which the author herself does as well.

four-stars

Life lately – October 2021

Monday, November 1, 2021 Permalink

It may surprise you to know that even sometimes I eyeroll over my navel-gazing posts. I’ve got several started. One about how I wish I could erase my memory so I’m less prone to compare myself in the present to the past. And yes I know, we’re supposed to become ‘better’ people as we age, although I think I’ve failed big-time there.

There’s another about scarcity and enoughness. Sigh. Another about my internal voice, complementing last week’s post, about the fact I hear everything I think. (And again others are the complete opposite.) And then there’s one about the way we consume stuff and the fact I’ve not ‘pivoted’ (#sorrynotsorry) to podcasts, Facebook / Instagram live, online launch events when others have embraced them.

Yeah… nah. Can’t be arsed pursuing any of those thoughts but wanted to write something so here you have it.