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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Permalink

I wasn’t sure if I’d struggle with this book. I was in my early 40s before I gave up on meeting the man of my dreams. Or just someone who wanted to spend their life with me…. and started contemplating motherhood solo.

Dreary stories about sperm donors, artificial insemination and IVF aside… it didn’t happen for me and – as a result – I’m occasionally bitter and twisted about the whole thing. (Something others take for granted etc etc).

So, it was with some trepidation I embarked upon this story on motherhood.

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four-stars

Audiobook review: The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Permalink

It will surprise those who regularly follow my reviews to see this book pop up as it’s more than a-stone’s-throw outside my usual / preferred genre. I’ve talked before about why I don’t read ‘straight’ romance novels… and in summary it’s sadly because my default state-of-mind is far too cynical and insufficiently tolerant or wistful enough for romance.

However, I’m trying to broaden my horizons and hoping to do that via audiobooks as I drive a bit for work. And because I knew I had a 6hr drive to attend an author event as well as some work travel I put in a request for this audiobook. Which – incidentally – I enjoyed, though tried not to think about the fact I could have read it in 2-3 hours, not 10-11hrs stretched over 3 weeks of driving and a few lunchtime walks.

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three-half-stars