Book review: Spirited by Julie Cohen

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Permalink

Julie Cohen’s two most recent books, Together and (The Two Lives of) Louis and Louise have both made my very short ‘favourite books of the year’ listing when released.

I knew her latest, Spirited was a little different and, as it combines a couple of elements I usually avoid—historical fiction and the supernatural—I was a tad nervous. And though it’s set in the 1850s its themes resonate today. Cohen’s books are often hard to describe but I saw this from a fellow author on Twitter and it seemed apt.

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four-stars

Book review: The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

Friday, July 3, 2020 Permalink

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton, released in 2018, came as a bit of surprise and I enjoyed it far more than I expected. I comment in that review that it offered something a bit new. Something fresh.

Hamilton’s new novel, The Last Wife is similarly twisty. Again she gives us an unreliable narrator (who we grow to like, or at least understand), a support cast who have their own secrets and adds in a few twists when we think we’re on the home stretch.

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four-stars

Book review: The Sight of You by Holly Miller

Friday, June 26, 2020 Permalink

The most important thing you need to know about The Sight of You by Holly Miller is that I bloody loved it. Like LOVE loved it. I randomly picked it off my overflow TBR pile (on the trolley in my bathroom) not entirely sure what I was in for. Although if I’m honest I was probably slightly worried by the mention of premonitions as I’m not a fan of the illogical in my reading.

But… oh my god, I was smitten from the get-go. By Miller’s writing. By her characters. I was in love. I note a quote from Beth O’Leary inside the book and think it’s reminiscent of her book (I also loved) The Flatshare, which offers readers a growing relationship from both a male and female perspective. This does the same and Miller’s written it in a way that Joel and Callie are funny, charismatic and likeable as individuals; so as a couple who perfectly complement the other, they’re addictive.

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five-stars

Book review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 Permalink

It’s no secret I’m a fan of Jane Austen. In fact, it’s almost exactly 11 years ago since I finally binge-read all of her work. I’d been away (at fat camp – long story) and took The Complete Works of Jane Austen with me. Devouring the tome easily.

It surprised me because though I’d loved the BBC miniseries of Pride & Prejudice and the Gwyneth Paltrow/Toni Collette movie version of Emma (my interest was predominantly piqued by Colin Firth and Jeremy Northam respectively), I’d not even considered reading her books. And I hate(d) historical fiction.

It was only then I understood the eloquent and witty genius of the woman (so) ahead of her time.

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three-stars

Book review: Hideaway by Nora Roberts

Friday, June 5, 2020 Permalink

I really enjoy Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense novels. She generally offers a great balance between the two genres. Her latest, Hideaway, is no different. She also gives us some delightful characters. Some less-delightful as well obviously. And the novel unfolds over a couple of decades so we get to know some of the players well by the end.

This was a little longer than I probably would have liked, but it certainly hooks readers from the opening pages.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

Sunday, May 17, 2020 Permalink

I was worried I was offering up spoilers by saying Dear Child by Romy Hausmann very much reminded me of Room by Emma Donohue. And then I read the media release and discovered it’s promoted as ‘Gone Girl meets Room’.

It certainly reminded me of Room – initially at least. Of course I’ve read other similar books as the theme of women / children in long-term captivity (having escaped) was pretty popular for a while. (And sadly it seemed fiction was mirroring what we were reading in the newspapers for a while.)

Interestingly this book (originally written in German—translated by Jamie Bulloch—and set in a town near the Czech border) offers something slightly different, as we fairly quickly learn that many of the assumptions we make aren’t—in fact—correct.

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four-stars

Book review: If It Bleeds by Stephen King

Sunday, May 3, 2020 Permalink

I don’t read short stories. And yes I know, it’s weird and makes no sense. However as I launched into Stephen King’s newest release If It Bleeds, I was reminded that much of his early work, that I loved, were (in fact) short stories.

The title’s namesake, If It Bleeds, is in fact possibly almost a novella and is a sequel to The Outsider. It’s complemented by three other shorter stories and I actually… preferred a couple of those as I’m not a huge fan of the fantasy / horror genre. Twisty yes, but I’m a lover of logic so I like trying to wrap my head around something mysterious or even mind-bending, rather than fantastical. If that makes sense.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay

Friday, April 24, 2020 Permalink

Debut author Elizabeth Kay works in the publishing industry so knows what works and what doesn’t.

It’s obvious our host Jane is one of the increasingly popular ‘unreliable’ narrators. She tells us that herself at the beginning. About the lies she’s told and what happens as a result. My own thoughts on Jane changed and morphed however… there’s a reluctance initially, to engage. But then we get to know her. We learn her story and it’s hard not to warm to her and like her. But then… well, then things change again. And if you’re like me you can kinda sympathise yet grimace at the same time!

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four-stars

Book review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Monday, April 20, 2020 Permalink

Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare was one of my THREE favourite books of 2019. Unfortunately – and unfairly for her – it meant she had a lot to live up to with the release of her second book.

Fortunately for her (and thankfully for me), O’Leary certainly didn’t fall into the dreaded second-book trap (ie. in which it’s a disappointment: either an ‘actual’ disappointment, or just in comparison to the debut) as I was absolutely smitten with her new novel, The Switch.

I read it over two nights – which is unusual for me as I’m normally all about instant gratification. However, I had to put it aside on the first night and returned to it the next and….  those who know me would have seen my tweet (below)… I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end.

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four-half-stars