Book review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Monday, April 20, 2020 Permalink

Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare was one of my THREE favourite books of 2019. Unfortunately – and unfairly for her – it meant she had a lot to live up to with the release of her second book.

Fortunately for her (and thankfully for me), O’Leary certainly didn’t fall into the dreaded second-book trap (ie. in which it’s a disappointment: either an ‘actual’ disappointment, or just in comparison to the debut) as I was absolutely smitten with her new novel, The Switch.

I read it over two nights – which is unusual for me as I’m normally all about instant gratification. However, I had to put it aside on the first night and returned to it the next and….  those who know me would have seen my tweet (below)… I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end.

four-half-stars

Book review: Inheritance of Secrets by Sonya Bates

Saturday, April 18, 2020 Permalink

I’m not sure why but I shy away from historical fiction. Though that’s probably an understatement. If I start reading a blurb and see reference to World Wars I or II or indeed anything pre-20th century I leap away as if it’s coronavirus-laden. I do, however, seem to make an exception for books unfolding in multiple timeframes. (ie. the ‘then’ and the now).

Very weirdly, with Inheritance of Secrets by Sonya Bates I had read THREE books about World War II (including concentration camps and refugees), all within a week or two of each other. Obviously I didn’t plan it that way; it was just a weird coincidence that three Australian books were coming out at once, partially set at the same time.

four-stars

Book review: The Shifting Landscape by Katherine Kovacic

Saturday, April 11, 2020 Permalink

I met Melbourne author Katherine Kovacic at the BAD Sydney Crime Writers’ Festival in late 2019. Her first book, The Portrait of Molly Dean was a finalist for Australia’s premier crime-fiction award, The Ned Kelly Awards.

I’d heard of the book but as I’d assumed it was historical non-fiction I hadn’t read it (usually preferring to chew off my arm than read either historical fiction or non-fiction). But after meeting Kovacic and learning more about the book, I bought it and was enchanted.

four-stars

Book review: The Deceptions by Suzanne Leal

Friday, April 3, 2020 Permalink

I read Suzanne Leal’s The Teacher’s Secret when it was released in 2016. I enjoyed the novel and was particularly interested in the way Leal considered society (in general) via the microcosm of a small town.

Her latest release ponders similar societal issues, though subtly. It’s one that unfolds in two timeframes, during World War II (and immediate aftermath) and the present. Well, 2010 which apparently is a decade ago though doesn’t feel like it.

The thing I like most about Leal’s work and this book in particular, is that she also challenges readers, taking us to dark places and forcing us to consider complex issues. She doesn’t spoon-feed us life lessons or shove ethical and political / societal / cultural dilemmas of today down our throats, but they’re evident nonetheless and impossible not to ponder – perhaps long after we finish reading.

four-stars

Book review: Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins

Friday, March 20, 2020 Permalink

I loved Lucy Atkins’ debut book The Missing One. It was in fact one of my favourite books of 2014. I’ve also read her two subsequent novels.

Magpie Lane is Atkins’ latest release and the thing that’s interested me most about her books is that, though are often centred around secrets and strained relationships, they all feel quite different.

three-half-stars

Book review: Riptides by Kirsten Alexander

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Permalink

I feel like I’m a latecomer to Riptides by Kirsten Alexander as it seems to have been out for a while, though really it’s only been a month or two. It’s been hugely popular however and (I understand) already reprinted twice.

Alexander offers readers a challenging narrative as we wonder what we’d do in a similar situation but I must admit what I loved most about this book was the trip down memory lane as it’s set in 1974-1975. I would have only been six years of age at the time but it brought back far more memories than I expected.

four-stars

Book review: The River Home by Hannah Richell

Friday, February 28, 2020 Permalink

A local friend was raving about Hannah Richell’s writing (and books) and I had to admit I hadn’t read any.

Thankfully I’d requested her latest and I can see why my fellow-avid-reader loves her work. Her writing is stunning. I’m not a very visual person so some of her incredibly descriptive prose is probably wasted on me, but she strings words and phrasing together in an almost lyrical fashion. As if it comes easily.

four-stars

Book review: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Saturday, January 11, 2020 Permalink

Diane Chamberlain is a hugely popular though I’ve only read one book by the American author, Pretending to Dance, published in 2015.

Her latest, Big Lies in a Small Town unfolds in two timeframes and is centred around two women whose livelihoods – and in some ways their futures – depend on an opportunity they’ve been presented in small-town Edenton, almost 80 years apart.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Dilemma by BA Paris

Saturday, January 4, 2020 Permalink

I read BA Paris’s Bring Me Back in 2018 and rated it highly. I follow Paris on Twitter so have been seeing news of her latest release The Dilemma quite a bit. I wasn’t exactly sure when it was out however, so delayed reading it until after 2020 ticked over.

Interestingly this is another book which reminded me I’m a presumptuous smart-arse. I kept considering exaggerated eye-rolls thinking how obvious the plot/s of this book was / were going to be (there are a couple of threads). I assumed I knew EXACTLY what the twists and secrets were. And… I was wrong. Yet again.

four-stars