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 Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell

Saturday, October 20, 2018 Permalink

This blurb on the backcover of this likens it to the TV show Grace and Frankie and book The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. None of which I’d watched or read, or really found appealing.

That’s not to say I don’t like books about ageing ‘disgracefully’ or the quirks that come with old age. One of my favourite books is one called Elizabeth is Missing, about a woman grappling with dementia, in addition to Fredrik Backman’s books about grumpy old men and women (A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here).

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three-stars

Book review: Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes

Saturday, October 13, 2018 Permalink

Last year I reviewed The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes…. which I described as ‘faction’…. a fictional account of a murder set around real life characters and events.

I’d not heard of the Mitford sisters at the time and was somewhat intrigued.

More interesting though was that the main character wasn’t one of the sisters, but rather their nursery maid or companion, Louisa. And in my review I commented that the Mitford sisters, particularly the elder, Nancy seemed to play a bigger role on the mystery-solving front along with an ambitious young police officer, Guy Sullivan. (And – at the time, as it was billed as #1 – I wondered who might feature in the next book in the series….)

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three-half-stars

Book review: Man Out of Time by Stephanie Bishop

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 Permalink

I’m worried I’ve left it a bit too long between reading this book and writing the review to be as articulate as I would like. But I suspect the sentiments pretty much remain as they were when I started reading it a week ago.

I put it aside you see, for a couple of days, before getting back to it and that’s something that NEVER happens. Unless it’s non-fiction, cos #meh.

I wasn’t NOT enjoying it enough to viciously flick it aside it but I really wasn’t connecting with it at all. At the time I put it down to my mood. I’ve been busy and stressed and having to over-think a book just wasn’t what the doctor ordered.

When I got back to it though, I was more engaged. Enamored even. For a while.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

Monday, May 7, 2018 Permalink

I’d planned to just read a few chapters of this book before launching into Lost in Space on Netflix last Saturday night (hee hee, see what I did there? Not on purpose incidentally, but… #whatevs). I probably should know myself better as once I started I kept reading until the end, needing to know what had happened to baby Midas.

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four-stars

Book review: The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Permalink

I enjoyed Natasha Lester’s second book, Her Mother’s Secret, but I’d really really loved her first book, A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald. At the time I very much appreciated the insight it offered into the plight of women who’d come less than a century before me – not just through career-limitations but also through society’s beliefs and values, and sadly, its norms.

I reflected on this as I steamed through The Paris Seamstress. It’s most certainly saga-like. It doesn’t centre around topics as heavy and lesson-laden as Lester’s debut novel and yet I adored it and could not put it down.

I was rivetted. By the story of Estelle – a wannabe fashion designer in the 1940s – and her granddaughter Fabienne, a young woman wanting to make her own mark on the world.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 Permalink

Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel, I Let You Go, took my breath away. Very literally. In fact the unexpected twist  she offered up midway through the book almost resulted in me dropping my iPad into the bathtub.

It was easily one of my favourite books of 2015. Her second book I See You, was also enjoyable and very clever and contemporary – using the interwebz and technology to taunt and stalk.

Her third (and new release), Let Me Lie, probably rivals her debut for me in terms of its twists and turns, cos just when I thought I had it figured out… I was fooled again!

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four-half-stars