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

Book review: One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke

Friday, August 12, 2022 Permalink

One of the Girls opens with a prologue and Lucy Clarke tells us then that someone dies on a hen’s* weekend before introducing us to the six – quite disparate – women who’ve journeyed to a remote luxurious villa on a Greek island.

We learn all of the women have secrets and some have hidden agendas… and though I expected this to be predictable in how it plays out, it’s actually far from that.

four-stars

Book review: Look Both Ways by Linwood Barclay

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 Permalink

Linwood Barclay opens Look Both Ways with a foreward in which he tells us of his father’s love of cars – one he inherited. As a result, he describes his latest release as a bit of a departure from his usual style. It’s less of a ‘whodunnit’ and more of an action-packed thriller.

It didn’t entirely work for me but (then again) I’m more interested in something plot-driven rather than action-driven. I can certainly imagine this on the big or small screen however; where belief can be suspended and the fast-paced visuals drive the narrative. That said, the pacing (plot-wise) works well in the book as the action doesn’t let up from the opening to the very last page.

three-half-stars

Book review: The It Girl by Ruth Ware

Monday, August 1, 2022 Permalink

The It Girl by Ruth Ware is an absorbing read. It unfolds in the past and present, both via our narrator Hannah. In the past she’s starting out at Oxford University, climbing out of her public school past and and navigating the quagmire that is university life – grappling with study and new friends (which I remember as if it wasn’t 35 years ago 🙄 ). And in the present, she’s married, living in Edinburgh and working in a bookshop – never having graduated from university.

Ware doesn’t keep us guessing why as the book opens with Hannah finding the body of her best friend and room-mate April but we’re then taken back to their meeting and the weeks and months leading up to April’s murder.

four-stars