Book review: The Hush by Sara Foster

Saturday, October 23, 2021 Permalink

Some of the promotional material for The Hush by Sara Foster describe it as a ‘near-future thriller’ which I must say, is incredibly apt.

And… wow, just wow. Foster has managed to reflect many of the issues of increasing concern in society today, in a way that seems both fantastically impossible and completely comprehensible at the same time.

It’s an extremely clever book, with an inspired premise, though we’re seeing more and more books with George Orwellian-type themes, such as Kate Mildenhall’s The Mother Fault. Foster’s confronting narrative is further strengthened by fabulous characters who felt very real, complex and engaging.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Monday, September 20, 2021 Permalink

Beth O’Leary’s 2019 novel, The Flatshare, was one of my favourite books that year. I also enjoyed 2020’s The Switch.

The Road Trip didn’t seem to arrive with the fanfare of its predecessors but is still an enjoyable read. It unfolds in in two timelines. The present (which involves the very long and fraught road trip) and a period of a year or two in the recent past.

four-stars

Book review: The Curlew’s Eye by Karen Manton

Thursday, September 16, 2021 Permalink

I’ve seen The Curlew’s Eye by Karen Manton billed as a crime thriller or a gothic mystery. In reality it’s less about a mystery to be solved or any present threat, and more about secrets and pasts that need to be faced up to.

Manton offers a strong and pervasive sense of place here. Lovers of flora, fauna and of nature in general will certainly adore her prose as she so richly describes life in outback Australia.

three-stars

Book review: The Five Year Plan by Jodi Gibson

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 Permalink

The Five Year Plan is the second book I’ve read by Jodi Gibson, who I know virtually through our shared love of reading and writing. Although this and her previous novel The Memories We Hide,  veer a little more towards romance than my usual reading fodder I enjoyed both. They’re quintessential summer reads. They’re comforting…. offering some reassurance that all will be well in/with the world.

In some ways you can predict how things will ultimately end up but it’s the getting-there that I very much enjoyed here, particularly as Gibson predominantly sets this in Bari, in Italy’s Puglia region. I’ve never been but (very) coincidentally was in Italy this time three years ago.

three-half-stars

Book review: Freckles by Cecilia Ahern

Monday, September 6, 2021 Permalink

I hated my freckles as a kid. I used to joke about joining them together, like a dot-to-dot drawing. Unfortunately I didn’t have a cute smattering across my nose, rather they were clumped together in splotches. Of course in retrospect I realise I was far more conscious of them than anyone else around me.

The lead character of Cecilia Ahern’s latest novel is given the nickname Freckles for obvious reasons. Allegra doesn’t mind though. She loves her freckles and as a teenager drew links from one to another, mapping constellations.

four-stars

Book review: The Others by Mark Brandi

Sunday, July 4, 2021 Permalink

If I understood the genesis of the term waxing lyrical (and wasn’t too lazy to google it) I would say I would be doing just that about The Others by Mark Brandi. Because I adored this book.

Brandi’s given us an amazing narrator in 11 year old Jacob and I do have a penchant for books written from a child’s point-of-view. It has to be done well though because their voice can very easily seem off. It can hard to capture innocence and naiveté of the young, when some – like Jacob – have good cause not to be.

five-stars

Book review: Snowflake by Louise Nealon

Thursday, June 17, 2021 Permalink

I’d only just hopped in the bath and started to read Snowflake by Louise Nealon when I shared a picture (of the book, not me…) and commented that I didn’t think I was going to be able to put it down until I finished.

Such is the addictive allure of 18 year old Debbie and the world in which she inhabits. Nealon opens by giving us some history into Debbie and her family – her uncle Billy and, to a lesser extent, her mother Maeve. in fact it takes Debbie a while to reflect on childhood events involving her mother and when she does it’s centred around her dreams and her mother’s belief that both she and Debbie have the ability to see other’s dreams.

four-half-stars

Book review: Nancy Business by RWR McDonald

Friday, June 4, 2021 Permalink

Let me just start by saying, when I grow up I want to be 12 year old Tippy Chan. Or at least occupy her world along with her pragmatic mother Helen, her eccentric Uncle Pike and his mostly over-the-top partner (and Tippy’s honorary sissy) Devon.

It’s so easy to get lost in the world RWR McDonald creates, that it seems very real. I feel sad at the thought of leaving them behind each time I turn the last page. Although – in reality – it feels as if it’s I’m the one being left behind.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 Permalink

The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock was a delightful surprise. I particularly liked its lead, Mercy Blain. She’s in her mid thirties and well-established in her life and career, so relatable for me.

I’m loving the current trend of ‘normalising’ characters with quirks, phobias or mental health issues. Once upon a time it felt like they (we) were portrayed as victims or case-studies. Now their (our) idiosyncrasies and issues are merely part of who they (we) are. I commented in my recent review of Love Objects that I appreciated that the author, Emily Maguire, didn’t feel the need to rid her lead character of some of her obsessive (yet comforting-to-her) tendencies.

Here Mercy has become an agoraphobic – the result of a trifecta of things going badly in her life two years earlier. She’s barely left her house since but forced to do so when it burns down.

four-half-stars