Book review: Spirited by Julie Cohen

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Permalink

Julie Cohen’s two most recent books, Together and (The Two Lives of) Louis and Louise have both made my very short ‘favourite books of the year’ listing when released.

I knew her latest, Spirited was a little different and, as it combines a couple of elements I usually avoid—historical fiction and the supernatural—I was a tad nervous. And though it’s set in the 1850s its themes resonate today. Cohen’s books are often hard to describe but I saw this from a fellow author on Twitter and it seemed apt.

Continue Reading…

four-stars

Book review: The Sight of You by Holly Miller

Friday, June 26, 2020 Permalink

The most important thing you need to know about The Sight of You by Holly Miller is that I bloody loved it. Like LOVE loved it. I randomly picked it off my overflow TBR pile (on the trolley in my bathroom) not entirely sure what I was in for. Although if I’m honest I was probably slightly worried by the mention of premonitions as I’m not a fan of the illogical in my reading.

But… oh my god, I was smitten from the get-go. By Miller’s writing. By her characters. I was in love. I note a quote from Beth O’Leary inside the book and think it’s reminiscent of her book (I also loved) The Flatshare, which offers readers a growing relationship from both a male and female perspective. This does the same and Miller’s written it in a way that Joel and Callie are funny, charismatic and likeable as individuals; so as a couple who perfectly complement the other, they’re addictive.

Continue Reading…

five-stars

Book review: Riverstone Ridge by Mandy Magro

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Permalink

I’ve not read any of Mandy Magro’s books before though heard of the Far North Queensland-dwelling author who has over a dozen novels to her name.

This appealed as it sounded as if it included some suspense and though I don’t read ‘romance’ I don’t mind romantic suspense. (Or apparently books featuring ‘romantic elements’ which I hadn’t realised was a sub-genre of some sort!)

Continue Reading…

three-half-stars

Book review: A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino

Monday, April 29, 2019 Permalink

I’ve read a couple of Nicky Pellegrino’s books, One Summer in Venice and Under Italian Skies, and I enjoyed both. Of course it had long been my dream to travel to Italy. It was my big bucket list item and since reading those books I’ve been able to tick it off my list as I spent just over 3wks in Italy last September / October including a fabulous week at a Tuscan villa.

Pellegrino lived in Italy (and England) before settling in New Zealand and her passion for Italy – its culture and cuisine in particular – shines through in each of her novels.

Continue Reading…

three-half-stars

Book review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Thursday, April 25, 2019 Permalink

Oh my goodness oh my goodness. Well usually I’d say something far more blasphemous but I’m trying to start this review in a vaguely professional manner so too many ‘f’ words first-up might be a bad thing.

I broke my ‘no reading during the day’ rule for this book. I’d been doing chores and got sweaty, so decided to pop into the bath for a soak and a very short half-hour read before getting into my afternoon plans.

Three hours later I closed this book.

Continue Reading…

four-half-stars

Book review: The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion

Saturday, February 16, 2019 Permalink

I hadn’t read Esther Campion’s debut novel, Leaving Ocean Road and hadn’t realised there were connections with her latest release when I started reading. It didn’t matter. In fact Campion includes enough backstory to give us some context, but not too much that it’d render reading her first book redundant.

As is so often the case (lately!!!!) I’d misunderstood and thought this was going to be a book about people who come to live at a house for their ‘second chance’ of happiness. I’d envisaged women escaping violent marriages and those who’d overcome a drug addiction. I thought it might have been heavy going, but thankfully it wasn’t that literal and is more about the lives of those involved in planning and renovating the house itself.

Continue Reading…

three-half-stars

Book review: Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Saturday, June 16, 2018 Permalink

For some reason I’d been a bit reticent to dive into Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. I’m not a fan of romance but the idea of being ‘ghosted’ by someone who seemingly had no reason to disappear / ignore you was kinda intriguing.

And thankfully I decided to give the book a ‘try’ because I enjoyed it far more than expected and it ended up consuming my Friday night.

Continue Reading…

three-half-stars

The Upside of Over (not exactly a book review)

Thursday, June 7, 2018 Permalink

I was planning to sit down and write one of my usual (exceedingly eloquent and learned) book reviews, this time of The Upside of Over by JD Barrett, but realised much of what I wanted to say is really not about the book, but about the notion itself.

Given I already inject far too much of myself into my reviews I figured I’d touch v.briefly on this book – which I enjoyed – a well-written and easy read – perfect for a sunny day at the beach or when cocooned under blankets in a cold house with rain falling outside…. but really talk more a little about the concept:

That sometimes what feels like the very worst thing that could happen to us, is – in fact – the best.

Continue Reading…

three-half-stars

Book review: The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Permalink

I enjoyed Natasha Lester’s second book, Her Mother’s Secret, but I’d really really loved her first book, A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald. At the time I very much appreciated the insight it offered into the plight of women who’d come less than a century before me – not just through career-limitations but also through society’s beliefs and values, and sadly, its norms.

I reflected on this as I steamed through The Paris Seamstress. It’s most certainly saga-like. It doesn’t centre around topics as heavy and lesson-laden as Lester’s debut novel and yet I adored it and could not put it down.

I was rivetted. By the story of Estelle – a wannabe fashion designer in the 1940s – and her granddaughter Fabienne, a young woman wanting to make her own mark on the world.

Continue Reading…

four-half-stars