Book review: Philly Barker Investigates by Joanne Tracey

Sunday, September 25, 2022 Permalink

I was weirdly nervous on going into this book. Almost reluctant even. Firstly because Jo Tracey is a friend of mine. We met online and now meet in person fairly regularly and she feels like my most kindred spirit in a writing / creative way. And then there’s the fact that I’ve had a sneak peek at this book already. Which meant this was a re-read and even though it was many months ago, I worried I’d struggle to re-read it so soon.

I needn’t have stressed though because I surprised myself by becoming incredibly absorbed in Philly’s world – reading most of it in a sitting, despite not planning to do so… and only putting it aside as it was getting late and I really needed to rescue my dinner from the oven.

four-stars

Book review: The Little Cafe by the Lake by Joanne Tracey

Thursday, November 11, 2021 Permalink

The Little Cafe by the Lake by Joanne Tracey is the latest in a series of interlinked books – set across Australia, New Zealand and England.

These books and Tracey’s strength continues to be the relatability of her characters and the ease of her storytelling. I also appreciate that she paints players in shades of grey. Here there’s an unwelcome visitor and – though it’d be tempting to paint them in a cast them as completely villainous – she resists the urge, which has been the case in her previous books. And it’s surprising to find ourselves feeling sympathy or empathy for those responsible for others’ pain.

four-stars

Book review: Escape to Curlew Cottage by Joanne Tracey

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 Permalink

I’m always nervous when I read a book by someone I know. Let alone someone I see as a friend. Thankfully every time I read one of Joanne Tracey’s books I come away a little agog – that someone I know could create something like this. Something magical. Something that makes me care. And something that makes me cry.

Escape to Curlew Cottage is loosely linked to Wish You Were Here, which I read in 2016. I spent much of last year in my self-absorbed little bubble so missed two books Tracey released in 2020, but her warm style of writing, her development of very real and likeable characters and yarn-spinning ability was exactly as I remembered. Although I didn’t remember that until I started reading…. if you know what I mean.

four-stars

Book review: Fred Do-it’s Wacky Plan Really Fails by Graham Bebington

Monday, August 26, 2019 Permalink

Regular readers will know I don’t often review children’s books. As I don’t have kids myself and am subjected to very few ( šŸ˜‰ ), I don’t really know what they do or don’t like.

I had intended to co-opt my 8yr old godson Pickle to assist with this review as the author of Fred Do-it’s Wacky Plan Really Fails, Graham Bebington is the librarian at his school, but I haven’t been able to pin him (my godson, not Mr Bebington) down. It’s Pickle’s birthday month you see – so he’s distracted (and sick) – though he was able to give me some feedback in between party-planning excitement.

Book review: The Memories We Hide by Jodi Gibson

Sunday, August 18, 2019 Permalink

I’ve (virtually) known author Jodi Gibson for a number of years via the online writing and blogging world so was very excited she decided to independently publish her debut novel, The Memories We Hide.Ā It’s an enjoyable read which reflects her warm and relatable writing style as well as her familiarity with small town Australia and country life.

three-half-stars

Book review: Happy Ever After by Joanne Tracey

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 Permalink

This is Joanne Tracey’sĀ fourth book and a bit of a departure from her loosely linked series which are more centred around romance with lead characters in their 20s and 30s… although a couple of characters readers met in the last novel in that series (Wish You Were Here) appear briefly here – and I appreciated them dropping in and the sense of familiarity they brought with them.

And I know Tracey’s still working on the next books in that series, but recall her saying that this story (and these characters) popped into her head and she needed to commit them to paper before they disappeared and I’m certainly glad she did as this is my favourite of her books to date.

four-stars

Book review: Wish You Were Here by Joanne Tracey

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 Permalink

Joanne (Jo) Tracey and I have been virtual blogging buddies for half a dozen years. We’ve not yet met in person but we’re the same age and have similar interests. Well… in that we both love reading and writing and have backgrounds in project management. Jo’s also a music-loving foodie and far more into hiking and travelling than yours truly.

But she feels like a close friend. Despite the not-having-met thing.

Wish You Were Here is Jo’sĀ third book and – as an observer from afar – I can see the growth in her writing and character development with each new release. The thing that draws me to her blog (and her I guess) is a sense of familiarity in her writing: an informality that engages me and draws me in. And her books offer that same level of intimacy.

four-stars

Book review: Big Girls Don’t Cry by Joanne Tracey

Sunday, December 13, 2015 Permalink

When I reviewed Joanne Tracey’s first novel, Baby It’s You I mentioned thatā€”though we’ve never metā€”I think of Jo as a kindred spirit… a virtual friend. Her blog is one of my must-readsĀ and I pictureĀ her asĀ a more evolved and high-achieving version of me, following through on many of the things I just talk about.

I guess it’s no wonder then I very much relate to her writing and her books… something which was even more evident in her latest release, Big Girls Don’t Cry.

Book review: Baby It’s You by Joanne Tracey

Monday, May 11, 2015 Permalink

I opened this book nervously. I’m not usually a chick lit fan and have struggled with the genre in the past. And… I think of the authorā€”Joanne (Jo) Traceyā€”as a virtual friend and kindred spirit. We haven’t met but I’m a fan of her blog(s) and she seemsĀ likeĀ someone I’d really like in real life.

However, I needn’t have been worried as I LOVED her debut book, Baby It’s You.Ā