The Work Wives by Rachael Johns is the latest standalone by the popular West Australian author. I enjoyed much of this novel about two women – work friends, but very different and at very different stages of their lives.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the first book I’ve read by the popular American author. I’d heard A LOT about Daisy Jones and the Six. I didn’t get a copy for review and haven’t bought it, though not sure why given I’ve only heard consistently good things about it.
And if it’s anything like Carrie Soto is Back, then I’m sure I’ll be hooked as I was with this upcoming release. I adored everything about this book and the things I didn’t adore I realise I wasn’t supposed to. My frustrations were with Carrie and they were lessons Carrie herself needed to learn and we got to tag along for the journey.
The Way from Here by Jane Cockram divided some of my friends. I have one who loved it and one who didn’t really enjoy it at all. Sadly I’m probably closer to the latter. It dragged a little for me. I suspect the fact that the early stages of the plot were a bit all over the place, were supposed to reflect the state of mind of 19 year old Susie… pursuing one guy, then another when that didn’t work.
But it felt a bit scattergun. I wondered if Cockram was a ‘panster’ (writing by the seat of her pants) and letting the book take her where it wanted – unsure what story she wanted to tell or what sort of book it was to be. Things become clearer and the pace picks up, but not really without becoming overly-complex at the same time.
No Hard Feelings by Genevieve Novak reminded me very much of another book I read recently – Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp. (And I note that Allsopp has provided a cover quote for this book.)
I particularly enjoyed that both weren’t about exceptionally talented women… you know, the kind authors sometimes assume women aspire to be. But nor were they about completely dysfunctional or unreliable narrators. In fact, both lead characters are somewhere in between. And perhaps that makes them more relatable. They don’t have their shit together despite having reached adulthood. Instead they’re wading through the waters of life trying to reach the solid ground society seems to expect of them.
Remember Me by Charity Norman is the second novel I’ve read by the New Zealand author. It’s centred around Emily, a woman in her 40s, who’s returned to NZ to look after her father who has dementia. In the background lurks the mystery of a young woman who disappeared twenty-five years earlier, setting off to hike an area she knew well, but never returning.
This is more intriguing than edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. Leah’s disappearance casts a shadow over their small town and but also over Emily’s relationship with her father as she unearths secrets hidden for over two decades.
I usually try to avoid books featuring warring parents (both the intra and extra-familial kind). As a non-parent myself, novels featuring yummy mummies or daddies or parents trying to outdo each other; those where the parenting skills of others are judged; and even discussions about the way children are parented make my eyes glaze over.
It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy these books but it means I’m less likely to engage with the characters, though I realise they’re excellent bookclub fodder for groups of school mums and the like. They are – of course – of more interest if they feature something dire… like a disappearance or a murder, which The Trivia Night by Ali Lowe does.
Em & Me by Beth Morrey was a delightful surprise. Not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. I certainly loved Morrey’s debut novel, Saving Missy… but my thrall here was because my reading of it came at exactly the right time. It was the feel-good book I didn’t know I needed. If that makes sense.
Before I started it I’d wondered if the blurb gave away too much and the book itself would have nothing left to proffer, but it wasn’t the case. Because though we do kinda know where this is going, I was very happy to travel along with Delphine and her daughter Emily and the assortment of family and friends they’ve gathered along the way.
I had a sleepless night after reading Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp. Not because of the book itself… I just had a heap of stuff on my mind; but it means it got the full post-reading Deborah over-thinking / over-analysis treatment because my mind wouldn’t shut down. (So I apologise for that in advance!)
I very much enjoyed this debut novel by Allsopp. It’s probably a little different than my usual reading fare, which is probably why I didn’t receive a print copy for review. And though Rory is a couple of decades (at least two, maybe three) younger than me, I could kinda relate to the messiness of her life and the denial in which she’s wrapped herself… assuming everything will work out and she’s on the right track.
I’d not long watched the movie, The Father, featuring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman (about an ageing father and his daughter) when I read Lily Harford’s Last Request by Joanna Buckley. My own father had dementia and I know the toll it took on my mother as his carer. And as a middle-aged woman myself I’m conscious of my ageing mother’s needs and most of my friends are in similar positions – assisting elderly parents or making decisions about future care and support.