Book review: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

Sunday, October 16, 2022 Permalink

One thing Jodi Picoult does and does well is highlight often-fraught realities and force readers to consider their own uncomfortable opinions and assumptions. I’ve mentioned this as she’s written about racism and reproductive rights and (most recently) COVID. Here she tackles a few complex issues – including something I won’t mention as it’s a spoiler.

But we also spend time with a mother – who endured an abusive relationship until her son was 6 years of age – now forced to question whether her son is capable of the same violent behaviour as his father… either inherited DNA infecting his make-up or by witnessing (when young) his father’s actions.

four-stars

Book review: Found Object by Anne Frasier

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 Permalink

US author Anne Frasier has several series under her belt, standalone books as well as romance novels under the pseudonym Theresa Weir. This (however) is my first book by Frasier and it features investigative journalist – the spectacularly named – Jupiter (Edwina Delilah) Bellarose. I suspect it’ll become the first in the series and though I found it a little overly-convoluted and ‘fantastique’ (in the end), I liked Jupiter and would happily spend more time with her.

three-stars

Book review: My Darling Daughter by JP Delaney

Monday, September 12, 2022 Permalink

My Darling Daughter is the fifth book written by Tony Strong under the pseudonym of JP Delaney and I’ve (now) read and enjoyed all five. They lean strongly to domestic noir, featuring secrets kept between partners or husbands and wives and challenging relationships to breaking point. They’re also consistently clever and offer a number of twists and surprises so readers generally need to be prepared to strap themselves in.

four-stars

Book review: The Blame Game by Sandie Jones

Friday, September 2, 2022 Permalink

Even the blurb for The Blame Game by Sandie Jones is quite clever. Two voices. Two truths. Or one truth seen two ways perhaps? Either way… Jones offers up quite a few twists and a myriad of ethical dilemmas. I wonder if this should be used (for example) as a text book for psychology / counselling students as a warning about what happens when you cross the therapist / client boundary!!! Like a ‘what not to do’.

four-stars

Book review: The Liars by Petronella McGovern

Tuesday, August 30, 2022 Permalink

The Liars by Petronella McGovern is the third book I’ve read by the Australian author and my favourite so far, which is probably more to do with the fact that the first two focused more around the parenting of young children whereas this felt like more of a ‘whodunnit’ and appealed more to my age bracket as I could relate to reflecting back on my younger self, thinking of my school days and the dreams I had. Roads taken or not… etcetera. Of course here there’s the added juxtaposition of the next generation on the cusp of similar life experiences and ready to make decisions about their futures.

four-stars

Book review: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

Sunday, August 28, 2022 Permalink

I must begin my review of Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney by saying how much her writing blew me away. I was only 9 pages in and realised I’d flagged quotes I’d like to use – either beautifully written prose or casually delivered poignant insights – and almost filled a page of the notebook I keep beside the bath (where I read).

I sometimes assume the writing in plot-driven books should hover in the background. Unnoticed so as not to distract readers from the unfolding action, but the seemingly effortless eloquence (I very much noticed here) did not detract at all from the plot.

four-stars

Book review: Denizen by James McKenzie Watson

Friday, August 26, 2022 Permalink

Like several other books I’ve read recently Denizen by James McKenzie Watson was an award-winner before it was even published, winning the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize

I only belatedly requested a review copy after seeing others rave about it following its July 2022 release. And it’s certainly a brilliantly-written book. A confronting and challenging read in some ways and the second I’ve read in a row that tackles mental illness and self-harm.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Brothers by SD Hinton

Friday, August 19, 2022 Permalink

I realise I probably didn’t enjoy The Brothers by SD Hinton as much as others because of my disinterest in all-things-war-related.

As a result I skimmed sections that talked about Jake’s time in the military. Thankfully – though there’s a lot of reference to Jake’s deployments (his experiences and the result of his injuries) – it doesn’t have much to do with the unfolding plot here, other than to explain why Jake and Tom haven’t seen each other for some time.

three-half-stars

Book review: Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

Monday, August 15, 2022 Permalink

I’ve read all three of Megan Goldin’s previous books and commented in past reviews that she gives us something different in each outing and I wonder if it’s the varied nature of Goldin’s journalistic background that has her moving between thrillers and domestic noir, dipping into the world of podcasts, cold crimes, rape trials and… escape rooms.

In her latest release, Stay Awake, she explores the world of amnesia, trauma and lost memories. It’s akin to Drew Barrymore’s condition in the popular movie, 50 First Dates… although here it’s brought on my psychological trauma rather than brain damage. Which of course means those memories could reappear at any time…

four-stars