Book review: Freckles by Cecilia Ahern

Monday, September 6, 2021 Permalink

I hated my freckles as a kid. I used to joke about joining them together, like a dot-to-dot drawing. Unfortunately I didn’t have a cute smattering across my nose, rather they were clumped together in splotches. Of course in retrospect I realise I was far more conscious of them than anyone else around me.

The lead character of Cecilia Ahern’s latest novel is given the nickname Freckles for obvious reasons. Allegra doesn’t mind though. She loves her freckles and as a teenager drew links from one to another, mapping constellations.

four-stars

Book review: Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams

Thursday, August 12, 2021 Permalink

A fellow bookblogger told me Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams gave her nightmares. I’m not surprised as there’s something kinda macabre or gothic about it. About the characters, their stories and about the way things unfold.

Parts of this novel are predictable, while others are quite surprising. We spend time going back and forth in two timelines, and Williams times the unravelling of both well, but I wasn’t sure the explanations of the past sufficiently supported the unfolding events of the present.

three-stars

Book review: The Inheritance by Gabriel Bergmoser

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 Permalink

I started reading The Inheritance by Gabriel Bergmoser before realising it featured a character who’d appeared in The Hunted, released in 2020. It’s certainly not a sequel however, and previous knowledge isn’t required.

I didn’t like The Hunted as much as most because it dipped a little too much into the horror genre for my taste. I can cope with books about serial killers and psychopaths but Bergmoser has the impressive (if not entirely welcome to me!) talent of putting readers amidst action; which is often very violent and visceral.

three-half-stars

Book review: Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

Friday, April 9, 2021 Permalink

One of the biggest problems with a book getting rave reviews or media attention is that readers’ expectations are heightened. That was certainly the case for me going into Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone. In fact there’s a glowing quote by Stephen King on the front cover and I’ve seen him praise it elsewhere.

Of course one of his novellas, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, features prominently in this book, but I don’t think he’d be that easily cajoled.

three-half-stars

Book review: Driving Stevie Fracasso by Barry Divola

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 Permalink

There was a lot I liked about Driving Stevie Fracasso by Australian journalist Barry Divola. I was for example, reminded of my fetish for the movie (and soundtrack) Eddie & the Cruisers (and its dodgy sequel), released in the 1980s – though I didn’t watch until sometime in the 90s.

Divola’s lead character Rick is a bit older than me, however he references an era I remember well and this brought back many memories.

This book is probably a little too densely populated with music trivia and detail for me (a music-heathen) but I enjoyed the underlying messages about family, relationships and change. The latter in particular being relevant for me at the moment as my own worst enemy.

three-half-stars

Book review: Other People’s Houses by by Kelli Hawkins

Saturday, March 6, 2021 Permalink

Other People’s Houses by by Kelli Hawkins is an intriguing and bittersweet tale of loss, grief and obsession. It could be akin to breakdown porn as readers get a front-row seat to the disintegration of someone’s mental health. However Hawkins handles lead character Kate with respect and sensitivity. This book is being compared to Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train and I suspect it’s due to the similarities between Kate and TGOTT’s Rachel. Not only are both heavy drinkers, but they indulge in risky and obsessive behaviour… even though they know better. Both authors however, treat their leads sympathetically.

four-stars

Book review: The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

Sunday, February 28, 2021 Permalink

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson has described by many as featuring a murderer to rival everyone’s favourite 1990s serial killer and general-bad-guy Hannibal Lecter.

“Oh, so it’ll be gruesome,” I thought and prepared myself. I don’t like (read or watch ) horror and was worried it might border on that genre, but it was fine. Grisly on occasions and Matheson isn’t shy about going into detail about severed body parts and the like, but I’m not very visual so it wasn’t something that would give me nightmares.

four-stars

Book review: Find You First by Linwood Barclay

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 Permalink

It has to be said there’s a lot to like about Find You First by Linwood Barclay. I enjoyed the element of suspense but found the character development to be particularly interesting, becoming far more attached to some than is sensible in a thriller.

I read a media release, or perhaps a comment by Stephen King, noting this book opens with a bang and it certainly does. And the pace pretty much keeps going until it’s done. I’ve read most if not all of Barclay’s books and this is probably fairly close to being a favourite.

four-half-stars