Book review: Whenever You’re Ready by Trish Bolton

Sunday, January 28, 2024 Permalink

Whenever You’re Ready by Trish Bolton is a bittersweet tale of family and friendships and of love and loss. I read this as my mother’s 80th birthday neared and was a little sad that there’s even any question about older women’s worth or how much living septuagenarians might have left.

And of course that’s the thing about age; 30, 50 or 70 seems old… until you’re there. And 10, 15, 20 seems young… unless you’re there. I recall finishing high school and looking at the year 8 students thinking we NEVER looked that young. And now I look at staff in stores and they look like they’re 12.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Kill Your Husbands by Jack Heath

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 Permalink

Kill Your Husbands by Jack Heath is very cleverly written because in the present the police are interviewing the survivors politely, using their title and surname, but in the past (well, very recent past… last weekend) they all use first names. So for a long time we don’t know who’s dead and who’s not.

Weirdly it didn’t occur to me until I started the book that it was a follow-up to Kill Your Brother, which I enjoyed when it was released in 2021. It’s not exactly a sequel as such, rather it features two of the same characters, cop (here recently promoted to detective) Kiara Lui and her girlfriend Elise (held capture in the first book). Their relationship is on rocky ground here, well so thinks Kiara as Elise is acting strangely and keeping secrets from her.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Green Dot by Madeleine Gray

Friday, October 13, 2023 Permalink

Green Dot by Madeleine Gray is a book based on a premise that will possibly divide its readers. Essentially it’s about a woman who falls in love with a married man and continues to have an affair with him, even after finding out. It’s cliched in some ways because she’s sure he’s desperately unhappy in his marriage and just waiting to escape in a way that doesn’t hurt his wife. Too much.

The thing I liked most about this book however is that Gray doesn’t take the easy way out by making our leads cliches. Hera knows she will be harshly judged by others for her behaviour. She knows it’s viewed by everyone – including herself – as ‘wrong’ but she loves Arthur desperately and cannot imagine life without him. And Arthur – doesn’t make a lot of false promises. He doesn’t diminish his relationship with his wife. But he falls in love with Hera nonetheless.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Echo Lake by Joan Sauers

Friday, May 19, 2023 Permalink

Echo Lake by Joan Sauers is an atmospheric read, set in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. It’s an area I don’t know at all but Sauers does a great job of placing readers amidst the frost and drizzle, with the setting very much reflective of the book’s tone, rather than overpowering the unfolding narrative.

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four-stars

Book review: Headcase by Jack Heath

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 Permalink

Headcase by Jack Heath is the fourth in the series featuring cannibalistic problem solver Timothy Blake. Annoyingly my review of this book’s predecessor, published in 2020, mentions it ending with a bit of a twist. Alas I shared no spoilers and as I was super keen to read this, I was too impatient to go back and skim Hideout to jog my memory.

It didn’t actually matter however. I’m assuming perhaps that the love of Blake’s life, FBI agent Reese Thistle found out about his flesh-eating predilections and the pair broke up, as here he’s pining for her while working with new partner Zara on a covert CIA operation in the US.

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four-stars

Book review: Clarke by Holly Throsby

Sunday, November 13, 2022 Permalink

Clarke by Holly Throsby was inspired by the high-profile disappearance of a woman (Lynette Dawson) in Australia in the early 1980s. Although the book is centred around the police’s sudden search for the body in the yard of the house in which the fictional Ginny Lawson used to live with her husband, it’s the impact that search has on the house’s new resident and neighbours that makes this a powerful and (ultimately) somewhat poignant read.

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four-stars

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.

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four-stars

Book review: The Tilt by Chris Hammer

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 Permalink

The opening chapter of The Tilt by Chris Hammer is prefaced by a map and a family tree. Now, I know many people LOVE a good map but I’m spatially challenged so tend to avoid them at all costs. And the family tree had me worried that there were so many players we’d need help remembering who was who. But thankfully it’s not the case at all. Instead it gives us context and a reminder how complex lives can be in small communities.

Interestingly I also realised that you sometimes assume there can be no secrets in small towns of intertwined communities and families, but instead it can mean they’re often so well hidden or buried they’re left to fester for years.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Paris Mystery by Kirsty Manning

Thursday, September 22, 2022 Permalink

I’m not shy in sharing my antipathy towards historical fiction. If I read a synopsis and the book is set before 1960(ish) I put it aside.* Worse still novels about events from centuries ago. Perhaps that’ll change at some point. I know my taste has changed over the past couple of decades so maybe I’ll become a reader of historical non-fiction or fantasy novels at some point. Or maybe not.

Although I love Agatha Christie I’ve avoided popular series by Kerry Greenwood and Sulari Gentill (and others) because I’ve assumed I’d feel the same about historical crime fiction. However, after seeing some glowing reviews of Kirsty Manning’s latest release The Paris Mystery, I thought I should dive on in… particularly because it’s the first in a series – testing the waters or something.

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four-stars