I’ve been increasingly enjoying JP Pomare’s work over the years. His latest release is actually a re-release of an audiobook (via Audible) from late 2022. I noted a few authors were doing something similar – releasing audiobooks or even novellas in the form of ebooks. It probably means this is a little shorter than usual. It’s very much in his style though… some slightly devious storytelling that has us making certain assumptions only to find out later that we were duped.
The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop is a novel that – I suspect – could divide its readers. Including me. I mean, it’s not that I didn’t like it because I certainly did. But my various personalities prevaricated between adoring Bishop’s glorious writing; feeling frustrated at things obviously being kept from readers or made little sense (which could potentially be plotholes); while at the same time wondering if I’m too obtuse to understand the not-necessarily-logical order in which elements of the plot flowed.
Toni Jordan’s debut novel Addition, was one of my favourite books when it was released in 2008 and I also loved The Fragments – giving it a rare (for me) five stars. I commented then on her beautiful writing and her ability to develop complex, quirky, likeable and very real characters.
Prettier If She Smiled More features Kylie Schnabel – a judicious pharmacist and a responsible and pragmatic daughter, sister, friend and girlfriend – who’s perfectly content with her lot in life, harbouring no great ambitions for more than she has. Until it starts disappearing before her eyes.
Lying Beside You is the third in the series featuring forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven and his former client and now-housemate Evie Cormac. Both Cyrus and Evie had tumultuous childhoods so there’s a bond between the pair that has been challenged as past secrets come to light, but continues to grow with each outing in this series.
The Very Last List of Vivian Walker by Megan Albany involved a lot of sniggering. Which is kinda weird given it’s about a woman who’s terminally ill with cancer with just months (or less) to live.
But it’s the no-holds barred approach to death and dying Albany – via Vivian – that’s both shocking and smile-inducing. Albany’s writing is sassy and chock-full of snark rather than poignancy. It’s all delivered through Vivian’s voice. And Vivian’s dry sense of humour is certainly a blessing because…. well… (hmmm…. how to put this?) she’s actually a bit of a bitch.
The Last Woman in the World is the third book I’ve read by Inga Simpson. I saw her speak at a bookshop locally around the time of her 2014 release Nest. I commented in that review about how inspiring I found her in person (and appreciated her blunt honesty about the challenges of becoming a published author), how much I loved her writing and her ability to instil in readers a sense of place.
I confess in my review of Where the Trees Were (2016) that I’m actually not a lover of nature. Of flora and fauna. And I’ve admitted on many occasions that I’m not a visual reader so not able to picture what I’m reading.
The manuscript of I Shot The Devil by Ruth McIver won the coveted Richell Prize for Emerging Writers in 2018. It certainly has it all. McIver’s writing is eloquent and stylistic, we’re offered an intriguing plot as well as interesting and complex characters.
The Last Guests by JP Pomare is the fourth book by the NZ born, Australian dwelling writer who’s deservedly building a reputation for being one of the region’s go-to authors of thrillers and novels of suspense.
This is probably my favourite of Pomare’s novels. It starts with a bit of a surprise before settling into something a little more familiar and then suddenly takes readers somewhere we didn’t expect, casting doubt on everything that came before.
If I understood the genesis of the term waxing lyrical (and wasn’t too lazy to google it) I would say I would be doing just that about The Others by Mark Brandi. Because I adored this book.
Brandi’s given us an amazing narrator in 11 year old Jacob and I do have a penchant for books written from a child’s point-of-view. It has to be done well though because their voice can very easily seem off. It can hard to capture innocence and naiveté of the young, when some – like Jacob – have good cause not to be.