Book review: Contacts by Mark Watson

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Permalink

Contacts by Mark Watson is going to be hard to review because though I enjoyed it – to an extent – my main issue with it is the content (underlining premise) itself. I can’t decide whether I think it’s ill-conceived, irresponsible and totally inappropriate or perhaps cathartic or helpful.

Either way it needs a big trigger warning as the entire book is about someone planning to suicide and how they got to that point.

three-stars

Book review: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

Friday, November 27, 2020 Permalink

I’m not sure why I wasn’t drawn to The Miseducation of Evie Epworth earlier. I’m a sucker for a weird book title. Think, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Not to mention almost everything by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman.

One of my friends loved this debut novel by Matson Taylor but it still took me months to get to it and I am so thankful I did. In fact, although I was keen for something light… a good psychological thriller about some murderous psychopath; from the opening lines of this novel I was transported into Evie’s world. It’s written in first person from 16 year old Evie’s point of view and almost akin to stream-of-consciousness thinking. Taylor gives Evie a really delightful voice and this is a quirky and often-funny read. At the same time however, there are moments of poignancy, some of which come as a result of life experience and realising things young Evie does not.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Saturday, September 5, 2020 Permalink

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman came as a huge surprise. I’d requested it thinking it sounded a bit quirky but at the same time unsure I wanted to hang with a bunch of old people talking murders.

But it’s addictive. It’s cleverly-written, extremely funny and offers up some delightful characters. It reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Britt-Marie was Here and The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village. With a side or two of murder thrown in for good measure.

four-half-stars

Book review: Something to Live For by Richard Roper

Sunday, June 2, 2019 Permalink

Something to Live For by Richard Roper is being billed as ‘the most uplifting and life-affirming debut of the year’. And given it’s about a man whose job it is to visit the homes of recently deceased who have no obvious family / friends, to try to find a single person who knew them or a will (or money to pay for the funeral); it could be very depressing.

But it’s not. It’s a reminder that while there’s crappy stuff happening in the world and… yes, people die alone all of the time, there are still kind and generous people to be found. Not to mention the fact that people live small, rich and happy lives, or sad and loud lives we may know nothing about.

four-stars

Book review: Look Alive 25 by Janet Evanovich

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 Permalink

It’s kind of depressing knowing we’re not going to get a final book in the Kinsey Millhone (alphabet) series by Sue Grafton – following the author’s death last year. It was one of my staples – along with Robert B Parker* Spenser & Jesse Stone series’, JD Robb’s In Death series, and Jane Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books.

Thankfully Evanovich and her ‘bail enforcement agent’ are still in partnership and continue to offer we readers enjoyable respite from the tedium of our lives.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell

Saturday, October 20, 2018 Permalink

This blurb on the backcover of this likens it to the TV show Grace and Frankie and book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. None of which I’d watched or read, or really found appealing.

That’s not to say I don’t like books about ageing ‘disgracefully’ or the quirks that come with old age. One of my favourite books is one called Elizabeth is Missing, about a woman grappling with dementia, in addition to Fredrik Backman’s books about grumpy old men and women (A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here).

three-stars

Book review: Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

Thursday, April 19, 2018 Permalink

This delightful book was not on my radar until a friend mentioned she’d read several positive reviews about it. I’d received a copy so opened it tentatively… normally eschewing ‘historical’ fiction in favour of psychopathic serial killers. And similar.

However, (un)surprisingly, AJ Pearce’s debut novel – through its characters and charm and beguiling prose – won me over and I lapped it up in a sitting.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak

Sunday, October 8, 2017 Permalink

I went to my friend’s house last weekend to ‘interview’ (using the term loosely) my godson about a book I’d been given for review. (In related news, check out our Finn and Puss book review, if you missed it.)

While I was there 6yr old Pickle dragged out another story he wanted me to read. As it happened his mother had already told me she’d bought this book, and I suspect I’d come across it via the same person / site as I’d recently heard of it for the first time as well.

Book review: Amber and Alice by Janette Paul

Friday, June 23, 2017 Permalink

I think if I’d known rom-com author Janette Paul was also Jaye Ford – Australian suspense / crime fiction author I might have tucked into this book earlier. And not wavered quite so much in the early stages.

I’m afraid I may have been put off by the cover… which was way too glossy and bright (for me!) and reminded me of a UBD or travel guide or something. Of course that latter part is probably with good reason, because the book does offer a bit of an insider’s guide into the Northern Territory and central Australia.

three-half-stars