Book review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Permalink

I love Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense novels. They usually offer up a good balance of the two, which is important given my love of thrillers and suspense and antipathy towards romance. (As such.)

Interestingly, though this includes some suspense, it’s kinda short-lived. It grapples with some unpleasant themes (domestic violence and family violence, so trigger alert for some), but the thing I enjoyed most about this book was, in fact, how the romance played out and the relationship between our two lead characters.

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four-stars

Book review: The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Sunday, July 7, 2019 Permalink

There is currently a LOT of hype around The Chain by Adrian McKinty. I keep seeing articles on social media about the film rights of a book written by an Uber driver sold for a seven figure sum.

There’s actually an interesting note in the back of this book from McKinty about life as a writer. He’s got his successful Sean Duffy series under his belt but it’s a reminder that many seemingly-successful creatives (authors and the like) don’t actually earn much from their craft. Most have other jobs and alternative sources of income. Which makes me feel a bit grumpy about some idiotic athletes who earn gazillions.

But enough of my ranting. Let’s get down to it cos this standalone by McKinty is (#spoileralert) certainly worth all of the praise it’s getting. I wasn’t sure I was going to be enamoured but I was gobsmacked at how ‘real’ it all felt from the opening lines.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Never Look Back by AL Gaylin

Saturday, July 6, 2019 Permalink

It’s increasingly common for books to reflect popular culture – true crime podcasts and the like. I’ve now read a few novels that have pursued a story either via the podcast or for the purposes of one. (As an aside, Sadie by Courtney Summers, which does exactly that was one of my favourite books for the first half of 2019.)

This is a little different in that it’s mostly about the investigation which may (or may not) result in a podcast. But I guess this book by AL Gaylin also takes the opportunity to consider 21st century journalism, news and our consumption of information. In some ways it’s a peripheral issue, but in others a reminder of how different today’s world is from that of 40yrs ago.

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three-stars

Book review: The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Permalink

The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker is a little outside of my usual reading genre. I must admit usually when I see book blurbs mentioning groups of women I assume it to be women’s fiction grappling with kids and husbands or in-laws or something saga like – to which I can’t relate. This book is more based around the workplace and – in reality – it felt like the plot took second place to its message. Which is fine, except (for me) the message was a little too forcefully delivered.

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three-stars

Book review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Saturday, June 22, 2019 Permalink

I like to think of myself as having discovered UK author Clare Mackintosh. It’s not true, obviously, but I read her debut novel I Let You Go very early and it was one of my favourite books that year. Indeed, its mid-way shocker was one of the best I’ve ever encountered. I’ve also read and reviewed her subsequent novels, I See You and Let Me Lie, enjoying both because of their twists and her innovative plots.

Interestingly her latest, After the End, is quite different. It immediately reminded me of recent work by Jodi Picoult in that it’s boldly confronting and will have readers questioning preconceived ideas… or certainly challenging our thinking. It’s different from Mackintosh’s previous work but that variety isn’t something I mind. Surely if someone loves writing (and excels at storytelling) then it doesn’t matter what they write?

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four-stars

Book review: Something to Live For by Richard Roper

Sunday, June 2, 2019 Permalink

Something to Live For by Richard Roper is being billed as ‘the most uplifting and life-affirming debut of the year’. And given it’s about a man whose job it is to visit the homes of recently deceased who have no obvious family / friends, to try to find a single person who knew them or a will (or money to pay for the funeral); it could be very depressing.

But it’s not. It’s a reminder that while there’s crappy stuff happening in the world and… yes, people die alone all of the time, there are still kind and generous people to be found. Not to mention the fact that people live small, rich and happy lives, or sad and loud lives we may know nothing about.

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four-stars

Book review: Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 Permalink

I think this is officially Tom Thorne number 16 but I only joined the Detective Inspector’s exploits four books ago and since then author Mark Billingham has introduced DI Nicola Tanner into the mix and though this mostly unfolds from Tom’s point of view, both feature strongly.

I commented in my last review that I was happy that Tom’s relationship was in trouble as I wasn’t a fan of his partner (and fellow cop) Helen and here they’ve recently separated.

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four-stars

Book review: A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino

Monday, April 29, 2019 Permalink

I’ve read a couple of Nicky Pellegrino’s books, One Summer in Venice and Under Italian Skies, and I enjoyed both. Of course it had long been my dream to travel to Italy. It was my big bucket list item and since reading those books I’ve been able to tick it off my list as I spent just over 3wks in Italy last September / October including a fabulous week at a Tuscan villa.

Pellegrino lived in Italy (and England) before settling in New Zealand and her passion for Italy – its culture and cuisine in particular – shines through in each of her novels.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Thursday, April 25, 2019 Permalink

Oh my goodness oh my goodness. Well usually I’d say something far more blasphemous but I’m trying to start this review in a vaguely professional manner so too many ‘f’ words first-up might be a bad thing.

I broke my ‘no reading during the day’ rule for this book. I’d been doing chores and got sweaty, so decided to pop into the bath for a soak and a very short half-hour read before getting into my afternoon plans.

Three hours later I closed this book.

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four-half-stars