Book review: East of Alice by Annie Seaton

Sunday, October 30, 2022 Permalink

East of Alice by Annie Seaton is the first book I’ve read by the Australian author, not realising she wrote thrillers and crime fiction (thinking she wrote rural romance). And I enjoyed this a lot. Particularly the quintessentially Australian setting. Though it’s a long time since I’ve been to Alice Springs, the organisation I work for has an office there and several projects outside of the town and – having been to the West Kimberley in West Australia this year a couple of times – I could imagine some of the landscape Seaton very vividly describes here.

three-half-stars

Book review: Look Both Ways by Linwood Barclay

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 Permalink

Linwood Barclay opens Look Both Ways with a foreward in which he tells us of his father’s love of cars – one he inherited. As a result, he describes his latest release as a bit of a departure from his usual style. It’s less of a ‘whodunnit’ and more of an action-packed thriller.

It didn’t entirely work for me but (then again) I’m more interested in something plot-driven rather than action-driven. I can certainly imagine this on the big or small screen however; where belief can be suspended and the fast-paced visuals drive the narrative. That said, the pacing (plot-wise) works well in the book as the action doesn’t let up from the opening to the very last page.

three-half-stars

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: 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: How to Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns

Sunday, May 9, 2021 Permalink

There’s often a bit of a discussion online in relation to the use of ‘women’s fiction’ to group books that mostly target female readers. I’ve got a long-buried post about the weirdness of it, given that we don’t say ‘men’s fiction’. And quite frankly I’d be insulted if many of my favourite crime fiction novels or thrillers were labelled thus. In some ways I’m torn about the issue*. I know some male readers and reviewers who do read books predominantly about women and women’s issues but at the same time recognise books like How to Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns predominantly target female readers.

And here Johns offers us two leads for the price of one, with her latest novel centred equally around a mother and daughter at very different stages of their lives. She also introduces an older woman, who I very much enjoyed meeting.

four-stars

Book review: Flying the Nest by Rachael Johns

Saturday, October 31, 2020 Permalink

I think I’ve read all of West Australian author Rachael John’s standalone novels. She always offers readers interesting characters. They’re very real and complex. We often meet them at a time their world has been upended and they’re hitting rock bottom, but she ensures they are resilient. In short they’re generally women I think I’d like.

four-stars

Book review: Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 Permalink

I read Kimberly Belle’s Dear Wife just months ago. When I read the blurb for her new release Stranger in the Lake it made me worry a little about her take on marriage as both featured missing, murdered and fearful wives.

Interestingly I was a little torn as I read this. Though I enjoyed the book overall, the things I liked about the book and our characters in the beginning ended up being the things that ultimately frustrated me.

three-half-stars

Book review: Deadman’s Track by Sarah Barrie

Friday, July 17, 2020 Permalink

I read and reviewed Australian author Sarah Barrie’s last book The Devil’s Lair, in which we meet some of the characters here and I enjoy series (such as those by Fleur McDonald and Karen Rose) that centre around a group of characters, focusing on different ones each book while introducing new players… so they’re loosely related. It doesn’t matter if you’ve not read the predecessors but you’re offered a bit of context if you have.

Here we’re focussed on Tess, a hiking guide and Jared, a police detective. When we meet her Tess has suffered a tragic accident and grappling with a controlling wannabe boyfriend. She’s a little fragile so we can see she’s gonna make some bad decisions – namely taking hikers on a trek that she doesn’t think is a good idea.

three-half-stars