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 Gift of Life by Josephine Moon

Sunday, April 28, 2019 Permalink

I hadn’t requested this book when it was first offered as I think I assumed it was a romance novel or about babies / childbirth. Both of which are kinda sore points for me much of the time.

It wasn’t until later I discovered it was about the recipient of a heart transplant and the wife of her possible donor. It’s a subject I know a little about as my father had a heart transplant (in December 2000) when he was 61, and it gave him 11 additional years with us until he passed away in late October 2011.

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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 French Photographer by Natasha Lester

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 Permalink

I’d had this book for a while before I read it as I’m participating in a blog tour for this latest release by Natasha Lester, The French Photographer. It means I’ve seen a few reviews around, including a negative one in mainstream media which Lester shared just after the book’s publication.

I was surprised by that as this is possibly my favourite book by Lester; although it might be a toss-up between this and A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald, and I think that is because the subject matter is ‘meatier’ than her two more recent novels. (If that makes sense!)

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan

Monday, March 25, 2019 Permalink

I wasn’t sure about this book as it’s a bit outside of my usual reading genre. I don’t read a lot of women’s fiction and stay far far away from historical fiction.

I do however, often read books that alternate between the past and present (a la Natasha Lester, Kate Morton etc), which this book does and I was thankfully engaged in this story and drawn to the characters from the get-go.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Monday, February 25, 2019 Permalink

I enjoyed Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go, released last year. At the time I described it as genre-less. In a good way.

The blurb for her latest mentions World War II and the 1940s which had me worried as I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I do however, read books that flick between timeframes, as per Kate Morton and Natasha Lester, which is exactly what The Things We Cannot Say does.

It’s a book in which Rimmer tackles a couple of weighty subjects: WWII and Nazi Germany; as well as complexities associated when parenting children with disabilities and learning difficulties.

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four-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: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Monday, January 28, 2019 Permalink

Sally Hepworth’s books seem to be getting better and better… or more likely, they were always good and perhaps my taste is changing or evolving.

I usually prefer mysteries or thrillers and The Mother-in-Law isn’t quite that. I mean, it is about a death – a potential murder and the lead-up to it… so there’s an element of suspense, but it’s so much more. In many ways it’s a complex study of relationships: those between husband and wife or lovers; between parents and children; between siblings; between colleagues and friends; and (of course) those with our in-laws. 

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four-stars