Book review: The Way from Here by Jane Cockram

Saturday, April 16, 2022 Permalink

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.

two-half-stars

Book review: No Hard Feelings by Genevieve Novak

Thursday, April 14, 2022 Permalink

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.

four-stars

Book review: Remember Me by Charity Norman

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 Permalink

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.

four-stars

Book review: The Trivia Night by Ali Lowe

Friday, February 25, 2022 Permalink

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.

three-half-stars

Book review: Em & Me by Beth Morrey

Friday, February 11, 2022 Permalink

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.

four-stars

Book review: Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp

Saturday, January 29, 2022 Permalink

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.

four-stars

Book review: Lily Harford’s Last Request by Joanna Buckley

Sunday, January 23, 2022 Permalink

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.

three-half-stars

Book review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 Permalink

I used to love Jodi Picoult’s books. Some felt a bit obvious or preachy, or perhaps overly spiritual but they were full of emotion yet subtly poignant. However… after some time they became a bit sameish and it felt like I was reading the same story, with different players and themes in a different setting.

Having said that I very much appreciated some of the themes she’s tackled in a nuanced way recently, such as racism in Small Great Things and women’s reproductive rights in A Spark of Light. I felt like her last book, The Book of Two Ways, was a bit of a departure and I’m afraid I put it aside, the detail of Egyptian history and language being too much for me.

Her latest, Wish You Were Here, is a difficult read to describe. You think it’s going to be one thing. But then it’s not. And for a while I really liked where it was heading. But then there’s a change of direction again. It was obviously an important book to her however and Picoult has written a note in the back describing why she felt impassioned to write it.

four-stars

Book review: Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson

Sunday, December 12, 2021 Permalink

What a delightful read this was! It’d be easy to say that it’s predictable… which it kinda is, but I went into it expecting that. Wanting that. I needed a happily ever after.

The blurb suggests it’s You’ve Got Mail meets The Proposal. I’m not entirely sure how it relates to the latter other than being about the book industry but it also reminded me of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, in which love grows from notes left between two people sharing a an apartment – albeit at different times so never meeting.

three-half-stars