Book review: I’ll Leave You With This by Kylie Ladd

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 Permalink

I’ll Leave You With This by Kylie Ladd is the second book I’ve read by the Melbourne-based author and I very much enjoyed 2017’s The Way Back. Ladd brings her experience and expertise as a psychologist in the health system to the table when writing. Here she’s talking about organ donation and legacies of the very tangible kind as well as those less-so.

I sometimes struggle reading books about organ donation as it’s something my family has first-hand experience with, as my father was the recipient of a heart transplant… aged 61 in 2000. I certainly know how someone else’s* generosity benefitted my family – giving my father 11 more years. But am also aware of some of the burden it brings. The guilt, gratitude and fear that can accompany it. And of course I can only imagine the bittersweet impact it has on donors’ families. Seeing ‘part’ of their loved ones’ live on in others.

four-stars

Book review: The Knighton Women’s Compendium by Denise Picton

Saturday, January 21, 2023 Permalink

The Knighton Women’s Compendium wasn’t really on my radar until I realised it was by Denise Picton, whose debut novel The Family String was my favourite book of 2022. As a result I put in a belated request for a review copy and was then even more excited to discover the book featured my favourite kind of narrator – a child! I regretted the time I’d wasted having initially eschewed this (thinking – from the cover perhaps – it was another book about women in a retirement village!), though at the same time happy I could savour this delectable treat.

four-half-stars

Book review: The One and Only Dolly Jamieson by Lisa Ireland

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 Permalink

What a delightful read The One and Only Dolly Jamieson by Lisa Ireland is! I would have read it in a sitting (in the bathtub) had I not had my mother visiting (at the time) and needed to be social and prepare dinner. I was reminded from previous books I’ve read by Ireland, she’s got the ability to create really warm and familiar characters that you feel as if you get to know – and perhaps – befriend, in the few hours you spend with them.

four-stars

Book review: Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 Permalink

Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton is the kind of feel-good read that is perfect for this time of year. While it covers some deeper themes around familial relationships and the challenges that come with them, it offers engaging and mostly likeable characters and quixotic but (at the same time) relatable ‘scenarios’.

It features four sisters – all very different, but bound in the way siblings are… or at least can be. Apologies in advance to my brother, but this made me wish I had sisters. Other versions of ‘you’. The best friends you can’t rid yourself of, who drive you crazy, know your faults and idiosyncrasies but love you anyway and always, always have your back.

four-stars

Book review: Clarke by Holly Throsby

Sunday, November 13, 2022 Permalink

Clarke by Holly Throsby was inspired by the high-profile disappearance of a woman (Lynette Dawson) in Australia in the early 1980s. Although the book is centred around the police’s sudden search for the body in the yard of the house in which the fictional Ginny Lawson used to live with her husband, it’s the impact that search has on the house’s new resident and neighbours that makes this a powerful and (ultimately) somewhat poignant read.

four-stars

Book review: Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts

Saturday, August 20, 2022 Permalink

There was a lot I liked about Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts. I’m tempted to say it’s a bit of a departure from my usual crime fiction and thriller reading, but in all honesty a lot of my favourite books are general or literary fiction, so I probably need to stop with the ‘I only read crime fiction’ mantra.

I very much liked our lead Matt, who’s in a mental health in-patient facility. We learn it’s his third time and as a result it probably doesn’t need to be said, but nevertheless this book comes with a big trigger warning relating to mental illness and self-harm.

three-half-stars

Book review: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Saturday, July 9, 2022 Permalink

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the first book I’ve read by the popular American author. I’d heard A LOT about Daisy Jones and the Six. I didn’t get a copy for review and haven’t bought it, though not sure why given I’ve only heard consistently good things about it.

And if it’s anything like Carrie Soto is Back, then I’m sure I’ll be hooked as I was with this upcoming release. I adored everything about this book and the things I didn’t adore I realise I wasn’t supposed to. My frustrations were with Carrie and they were lessons Carrie herself needed to learn and we got to tag along for the journey.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 Permalink

I ADORED Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley giving it a rare 4.5 stars. It was astoundingly clever and such a delight. Rowley wrote with humour and sensitivity and – though not a dog / animal lover – I was completely enchanted by Ted the human and Lily the dachshund. (And, sadly… the octopus that ‘consumed’ her.)

I leapt at the chance to read The Guncle. The blurb had me wondering if it’d be like RWR McDonald’s wonderful ‘The Nancys’ series… featuring Uncle Pike and his partner Devon… albeit without the whodunnit.

four-stars

Book review: The Family String by Denise Picton

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 Permalink

I LOVE books written from a child’s point-of-view. It can be hard for writers to nail the voice without it sounding contrived, but if it’s done well it offers an opportunity for a story to be delivered without much of the nuance we usually get from a narrator who – whether they mean to or not – adds a layer of subjectivity.

Some of my favourite books are those ‘told’ by children, such as Lost & Found by Brooke Davis, Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel, The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna, The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady,  Room by Emma Donahue, as well as everything I’ve read by Favel Parrett. And (not-so-coincidentally) I notice the media release for this references the two books first on my list.

The events of The Family String by Denise Picton are relayed to us by not-always adorable though desperately likeable, 12 year old Dorcas.

five-stars