Book review: Somebody’s Home by Kaira Rouda

Thursday, January 13, 2022 Permalink

Kaira Rouda’s Best Day Ever was one of my favourite books of 2017. I haven’t received any since for review but managed to read The Favourite Daughter just recently.

Rouda’s talent seems to lie in offering up flawed characters but luring us into their world, so we bond and feel sympathy or empathy before twisting things until we realise we’ve been duped. Often along with other characters we’re following on the journey.

four-stars

Book review: The Vacation by John Marrs

Sunday, January 9, 2022 Permalink

The Vacation by John Marrs is a difficult book to write about. It’s certainly an addictive read as I was desperate to see how it ended – or more accurately – how our characters all fared.

In some ways it’s a bit like a Woody Allen-esque movie featuring a series of vignettes with an array of characters, all with their own stories that come together in some unbelievably coincidental way at the end.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Good Mother by Rae Cairns

Sunday, January 2, 2022 Permalink

I’d heard good things about The Good Mother by Rae Cairns, which I believe was previously self-published and shortlisted for the prestigious 2021 Ned Kelly Debut Crime Fiction Award.

I was a little worried however. I’m a bit ‘over’ books about motherhood in general… not being a mother myself means I often struggle to relate to the whole there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my kids thing. And then there’s mention of Belfast and the IRA and even though that’s not exactly historical fiction I tend to stay away from anything that delves too deeply into politics or well…. history.

But, I needn’t have worried as I read this book in a sitting. Its pacing is fantastic and plot complex without being unwieldy. And the mother in question, Sarah, is relatable and likeable.

four-half-stars

Book review: Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 Permalink

I was a bit nervous going into Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath as we’re told the premise: it’s a bit of a kill or be killed kinda scenario and I had flashbacks to Eeny Meeny by MJ Arlidge, a novel in which couples or pairs are captured and have to do just that.

But Heath goes further here. Thankfully it isn’t just a gladiator-style fight to the death, but far more complex – both in terms of our characters and the depth of their backstories and personalities as well as the events unfolding in the present.

four-stars

Book review: Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Sunday, November 28, 2021 Permalink

Unforgiven is the third book I’ve read by Australian author Sarah Barrie and she always delivers intriguing thrillers with complex and often-flawed characters. Unforgiven is certainly my favourite of hers so far as I found myself invested in the fate of the lead characters and intrigued by the unfolding plot.

I’ve commented on the settings of her other books, but though she also demonstrates her incredible ability to give readers a sense of ‘place’ particularly in the beginning when one of our characters is trying to work out where to ditch a body, this book focuses less on the where and more on the fast-paced what.

four-stars

Book review: The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

Saturday, October 30, 2021 Permalink

The Last Woman in the World is the third book I’ve read by Inga Simpson. I saw her speak at a bookshop locally around the time of her 2014 release Nest. I commented in that review about how inspiring I found her in person (and appreciated her blunt honesty about the challenges of becoming a published author), how much I loved her writing and her ability to instil in readers a sense of place.

I confess in my review of Where the Trees Were (2016) that I’m actually not a lover of nature. Of flora and fauna. And I’ve admitted on many occasions that I’m not a visual reader so not able to picture what I’m reading.

four-stars

Book review: Mercy by David Baldacci

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 Permalink

One of the first things you’ll be told as a budding writer is to ‘show’ not ‘tell’. Because apparently audiences (ie. readers) find it boring (or at least less engaging) and feel patronised. At least that’s why I’ve always assumed you don’t provide laborious detail in your prose.

David Baldacci very much breaks that rule in the beginning of his latest novel, Mercy, providing backstory on FBI Agent Atlee Pine and her sister, kidnapped three decades earlier. And I for one appreciated it because, even though I’ve read the entire series AND re-read my review of Mercy’s predecessor, Daylight, I was a bit murky on the details. So Baldacci’s summary – succinct yet informative – hit the spot.

four-stars