Book review: The Artist’s Secret by Alexandra Joel

Monday, January 9, 2023 Permalink

I must confess I’d put aside The Artist’s Secret by Alexandra Joel because it’s classified as historical fiction – which isn’t a fave of mine. It was only when re-reading the blurb I realised the ‘historical’ elements here took place in the mid-late 60s, with a few visits into the 70s before moving to the 80s. So not the war stuff I usually avoid, rather… the span of my life. Which – ahem – has barely started. 🙄

And I enjoyed this more than I expected, dipping into the art world, particularly that of the Renaissance period and the world of auction houses and wealthy collectors. Our lead character Wren is complex and likeable who (here) unfortunately comes across some very caustic colleagues (is it an art-world thing I wondered?) but who’s determinedly dug her way out of a challenging childhood to pursue her dreams.

four-stars

Book review: Seven Sisters by Katherine Kovacic

Saturday, December 24, 2022 Permalink

When I first started Seven Sisters by Katherine Kovacic I was worried it was going in an obvious direction but then realised it wasn’t just me drawing parallels between the women we meet here and the book / movie Strangers on a Train. Rather Kovacic – via her characters – makes the point that they’re drawing their inspiration from exactly that… crossed with Greek mythology’s seven sisters, The Pleiades.

It changed the perspective for me and meant the book was more about the women, the crimes committed against their sisters and the hurt brought upon their families than the unfolding plot itself.

three-half-stars

Book review: Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton

Wednesday, December 14, 2022 Permalink

Terms of Inheritance by Michelle Upton is the kind of feel-good read that is perfect for this time of year. While it covers some deeper themes around familial relationships and the challenges that come with them, it offers engaging and mostly likeable characters and quixotic but (at the same time) relatable ‘scenarios’.

It features four sisters – all very different, but bound in the way siblings are… or at least can be. Apologies in advance to my brother, but this made me wish I had sisters. Other versions of ‘you’. The best friends you can’t rid yourself of, who drive you crazy, know your faults and idiosyncrasies but love you anyway and always, always have your back.

four-stars

Book review: The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle

Saturday, December 10, 2022 Permalink

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle crosses the new wave of ‘influencers’ with the not-so-new world of mommy bloggers with a blast from the past… the Single White Female-trope.

I was a smidge worried when we opened with the mummy blogger theme, thinking we’d been there and done that over a decade ago. What else was there to say? But Belle manages to blend that world with today’s influencers (albeit via Instagram rather than TikTok) and this decades toxic propensity for doxxing, serious trolling and bullying and and the dreaded curse of being cancelled. I mean… I was blogging over a decade ago when the mummy/parenting bloggers were a big thing and the side-chat was snide and bitchy but rarely encouraged violence or involved threats.

three-half-stars

Book review: In Her Blood by Nikki Crutchley

Saturday, November 26, 2022 Permalink

In Her Blood by Nikki Crutchley introduces two families and a missing girl; stories unfolding decades apart. Both families have been torn apart by tragedy and loss, but they’re not blameless we learn and Crutchley offers some very flawed and unlikeable characters in this dark and twisty read.

three-half-stars

Book review: East of Alice by Annie Seaton

Sunday, October 30, 2022 Permalink

East of Alice by Annie Seaton is the first book I’ve read by the Australian author, not realising she wrote thrillers and crime fiction (thinking she wrote rural romance). And I enjoyed this a lot. Particularly the quintessentially Australian setting. Though it’s a long time since I’ve been to Alice Springs, the organisation I work for has an office there and several projects outside of the town and – having been to the West Kimberley in West Australia this year a couple of times – I could imagine some of the landscape Seaton very vividly describes here.

three-half-stars

Book review: Marple – Twelve New Mysteries

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 Permalink

It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Agatha Christie – in particular all-things-Miss Marple who is my favourite Christie crime-solver (followed by Poirot and very distantly by the Beresfords). I’ve written before also about my favourite Miss Marple actress who (despite my usual lack of visual-ness) I ‘picture’ when I think of Miss Marple.

Anyhoo, like everything it seems… everything old is new again and several well-known authors have contributed to an anthology featuring my very favourite female detective.

Book review: The Sirens Sing by Kristel Thornell

Saturday, September 17, 2022 Permalink

The Sirens Sing by Kristel Thornell unfolds in two timeframes. Unlike most dual timeline books however, the two aren’t intertwined or shared concurrently. Rather – in the first half of the book, set in 1991-1993, Thornell focuses her attention on David, finishing school and preparing to go to University. For us his story starts when he befriends Heather, a year younger but with whom he shares similar interests and a passion and aptitude for the Italian language. The second half of the book takes us back to 1960s – 1970s during which we spend time with David’s mother Janet (Jan) when she’s David’s age.

three-stars