Book review: The Island by Adrian McKinty

Saturday, May 21, 2022 Permalink

The Island by Adrian McKinty has been getting a lot of attention from well-respected authors and publishing industry types, and it’s very much deserved. His last standalone, The Chain, was equally well-received, winning Ned Kelly and Barry Awards on its release.

The Island has probably given me a better understanding of the type of writer he is. It’s certainly action-packed. It’s exciting. It’s fast paced. There’s some depth to the characters, though more to our protagonists than our antagonists. It reminded me very much of action-packed reads by Gregg Hurwitz and the recent borderline horror reads by Gabriel Bergmoser.

four-stars

Book review: Verity by Colleen Hoover

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 Permalink

I’ve only read one book by Colleen Hoover – It Ends With Us – and I very much enjoyed it. Hoover has had a bit of a cult-following for years but seemingly found a new audience thanks to TikTok (BookTok) over the past year or so. Her 2018 novel Verity is a departure from her usual work but very much in my suspense and thriller-loving wheelhouse.

I’d heard good things about this book since its re-release earlier this year but hadn’t been able to find my copy until this past weekend when I finally removed an array of debris from the back seat of my car!

So I finally dove in. I would have easily read this in a sitting as it’s not long but I’d embarked on something new in the slow cooker, so put it aside at about 3/4 of the way through, though it had gotten very exciting….

four-stars

Book review: Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold

Friday, April 15, 2022 Permalink

Twelve Secrets by Robert Gold took me by surprise. I’d planned on allocating just a short time in the bath to read, but ended up dining on biscuits and chips because I remained in there (topping up with warm water once or twice) until I was finished.

Interestingly (or not) this is the third of fourth book I’ve read this year featuring crimes committed by juveniles…. later released and given new identities. I’m not sure if it’s suddenly topical or perhaps it’s just a sign that increased access to technology and information means that it is harder to keep things secret in the 21st century.

four-stars

Book review: The Trivia Night by Ali Lowe

Friday, February 25, 2022 Permalink

I usually try to avoid books featuring warring parents (both the intra and extra-familial kind). As a non-parent myself, novels featuring yummy mummies or daddies or parents trying to outdo each other; those where the parenting skills of others are judged; and even discussions about the way children are parented make my eyes glaze over.

It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy these books but it means I’m less likely to engage with the characters, though I realise they’re excellent bookclub fodder for groups of school mums and the like. They are – of course – of more interest if they feature something dire… like a disappearance or a murder, which The Trivia Night by Ali Lowe does.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Very Last List of Vivian Walker by Megan Albany

Tuesday, February 22, 2022 Permalink

The Very Last List of Vivian Walker by Megan Albany involved a lot of sniggering. Which is kinda weird given it’s about a woman who’s terminally ill with cancer with just months (or less) to live.

But it’s the no-holds barred approach to death and dying Albany – via Vivian – that’s both shocking and smile-inducing. Albany’s writing is sassy and chock-full of snark rather than poignancy. It’s all delivered through Vivian’s voice. And Vivian’s dry sense of humour is certainly a blessing because…. well… (hmmm…. how to put this?) she’s actually a bit of a bitch.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

Saturday, November 20, 2021 Permalink

Before The Stranger in the Lifeboat I’d not read anything by Mitch Albom. I’ve not even seen the movie based on his popular book, Tuesdays with Morrie. But something about his latest release had me intrigued.

As a lover of mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction, I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘that’ kind of book, but there was mention of a mystery at the heart of this novel which I thought might appeal. And I certainly enjoyed this book, however it wasn’t really the question posed by the book, but Albom’s writing that had me enchanted.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

Saturday, October 30, 2021 Permalink

The Last Woman in the World is the third book I’ve read by Inga Simpson. I saw her speak at a bookshop locally around the time of her 2014 release Nest. I commented in that review about how inspiring I found her in person (and appreciated her blunt honesty about the challenges of becoming a published author), how much I loved her writing and her ability to instil in readers a sense of place.

I confess in my review of Where the Trees Were (2016) that I’m actually not a lover of nature. Of flora and fauna. And I’ve admitted on many occasions that I’m not a visual reader so not able to picture what I’m reading.

four-stars

Book review: The Survivors by Alex Schulman

Thursday, October 14, 2021 Permalink

The Survivors is the first book I’ve read by Swedish writer Alex Schulman. I don’t read a lot of translated books (usually because I read crime fiction and find the police and judicial system in Nordic countries, as well as France and Italy to be very confusing!) but this is also Schulman’s first novel.

Although I’m prone to overthinking and overanalysing (well, at least pondering) I’m still not sure what I think of this book. Its pacing felt a little slow and drawn-out. But it’s written cleverly – we go backwards in time (in the present) which is interspersed with snippets from the past.

Some of the writing is magic and I’m not sure if that’s down to Schulman or translator Rachel Willson-Broyles and there’s a very big reveal at the end that left me speechless.

three-half-stars

Book review: Prisoner by SR White

Thursday, October 7, 2021 Permalink

SR White’s debut novel Hermit was a real sleeper for me. It lured me in and had me intrigued before throwing in some huge twists. Someone I follow on social media said his next novel Prisoner, also featuring cop Dana Russo, was their favourite book this year, so I went in with high expectations.

Which, in retrospect wasn’t entirely fair as I kept thinking I’d again be blown away by ridiculously inexplicable reveals at the end. He does…. and I suspect they are mind-blowing, but less-so when you’ve been waiting for them.

four-stars