Book review: The Survivors by Jane Harper

Thursday, September 24, 2020 Permalink

I’ve actually just written an assignment for my Masters about Australian crime fiction and mentioned Jane Harper’s debut novel, The Dry and the rise and rise of rural or outback noir. Released in 2016 The Dry won much acclaim and a lotta love. It’s since been adapted for television and will hit our screens in 2021. And though I’m looking forward to it, I much preferred Harper’s 2019 standalone novel, The Lost Man.

Although her fourth book, The Survivors, has a different feel to Harper’s previous books, it occurred to me there’s a strong theme underpinning all of her novels (including the two Aaron Falk ‘detective-based’ books). It’s one of families, of childhood and long-past legacies, and the impact they continue to have many years later.


first, we make the beast beautiful by Sarah Wilson

Monday, April 27, 2020 Permalink

I’ve mentioned it a zillion times so you may be aware I don’t read non-fiction. I had heard however, a lot of good things about first, we make the beast beautiful by Sarah Wilson. And given everything happening at the moment, it seemed like a good time to dive into the beast-infested waters.

Wilson is of course known best for her I Quit Sugar initiative, program and books. For some reason I’d thought she’d separated herself from that movement but it’s mentioned a bit here. Although this book was first released in 2017.

Book review: Allegra in Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel

Monday, May 27, 2019 Permalink

I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t get the title reference until I was writing this review. It should be obvious, I mean the book opens with our delightful narrator Allegra explaining that her superpower is splitting in two… offering one half of herself to each of her beloved grandmothers, before mentioning her father’s presence, but in my defence I read the book when my brain was weary, so….

Having said that, I did initially take it into the bathtub for a ‘short’ read before organising my dinner and so forth, but was still there until I closed the last page nearly three hours later.


Book review: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Monday, January 28, 2019 Permalink

Sally Hepworth’s books seem to be getting better and better… or more likely, they were always good and perhaps my taste is changing or evolving.

I usually prefer mysteries or thrillers and The Mother-in-Law isn’t quite that. I mean, it is about a death – a potential murder and the lead-up to it… so there’s an element of suspense, but it’s so much more. In many ways it’s a complex study of relationships: those between husband and wife or lovers; between parents and children; between siblings; between colleagues and friends; and (of course) those with our in-laws. 


Book review: Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 Permalink

In almost every David Baldacci book review I write I comment on how much I love his Amos Decker (Memory Man) series, as well as the Will Robie and John Puller series. And I always mention I’m not a fan of his earlier Camel Club series. I’d say that I won’t do that this time around but I already have, plus it’s a little relevant.

Baldacci’s latest book is prefaced by a letter to readers, introducing his first female lead – FBI Agent Atlee Pine. Obviously he’s written other female characters but Atlee is the standalone lead and he comments that she’s one of the most unique characters he’s created. (This from the man who gave us Amos Decker and his hyperthymesia!) Obviously my expectations were high. I’ve read some AMAZING female leads – Candice Fox delivers many, and just recently I revisited Michael Connelly’s Renee Ballard. And on the character front Baldacci certainly offers up a wonderful new protagonist in Atlee (or Pine, as Baldacci calls her).


Book review: The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Monday, October 22, 2018 Permalink

I enjoyed The Dry and Force of Nature, and felt both were complex / multilayered mysteries (more robust than most) and think Harper does an amazing job of placing readers in the harsh Aussie outback, but I’ve not been as frantic a fan as many.

Although there’s a vague reference to her former novels (via the locale of The Dry) The Lost Man by Jane Harper is seemingly a standalone. It’s a mystery, but not in the traditional sense and it’s actually my favourite book of hers so far.


Book review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Monday, September 17, 2018 Permalink

I started reading this new release by the ever-popular Liane Moriarty after a dinner out with friends during which I spoke about a health retreat I’d been to in 2000. I’d planned four weeks in Italy (which is where I’ll be FINALLY when this review goes live) but at the time I was living in East Timor (in my previous life as a diplomat) and stressed out of my little brain; so instead blew the same amount of money on three weeks at a health retreat in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, called The Golden Door (which has now closed).

The experience was life-changing. At the time.

So it was very freaky when I lolled in the bath at 10pm after the dinner to make a start on Nine Perfect Strangers (not remembering anything about the blurb or the book) to discover it is – in fact – centred around the lives of nine (not-so-perfect) strangers who attend a health retreat. WAAAAAY freaky!


Book review: Lonely Girl by Lynne Vincent McCarthy

Sunday, June 24, 2018 Permalink

Lonely Girl is Lynne Vincent McCarthy’s first novel and it’s a confident and sophisticated debut. It’s beautifully written and there’s something very arresting about the prose and something very alluring about the narrative.

I definitely enjoyed the book but I was left with a sense of uncertainty. Confusion, perhaps so I’m very keen to hear what others think….


Book review: The Art of Friendship by Lisa Ireland

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 Permalink

I read Lisa Ireland’s The Shape of Us last year and adored it. Sure the plot itself was great, but the characters captured my heart and I could really relate to them. Her latest, The Art of Friendship is no different as I was taken on a (fairly tumultuous – but not all bad) journey with our two leads, Libby and Kit.

And I could SO relate. To the characters, their friendships and the ups and downs of life in general.