Book review: An A-List for Death by Pamela Hart

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 Permalink

An A-List for Death is the first book I’ve read by Pamela Hart who’s perhaps best know for her historical fiction. I hadn’t realised it was part of a series but it’s only the second so there’s certainly time to catch up. (Without suffering too much from the ‘sequel’ blues I’ve talked about before – coming into a series part-way through and being completely lost with insufficient context or given too much backstory, rendering all previous books redundant cos of spoilers!)

It features Poppy McGowan who’s a researcher with an ABC Children’s Television show and that alone was enough to convince me that this is someone I wanted to know. It just seemed like a very specific job for a amateur sleuth… when we’re used to retired cops, PIs, lawyers, journalists or village spinsters.

four-stars

Book review: No Hard Feelings by Genevieve Novak

Thursday, April 14, 2022 Permalink

No Hard Feelings by Genevieve Novak reminded me very much of another book I read recently – Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp. (And I note that Allsopp has provided a cover quote for this book.)

I particularly enjoyed that both weren’t about exceptionally talented women… you know, the kind authors sometimes assume women aspire to be. But nor were they about completely dysfunctional or unreliable narrators. In fact, both lead characters are somewhere in between. And perhaps that makes them more relatable. They don’t have their shit together despite having reached adulthood. Instead they’re wading through the waters of life trying to reach the solid ground society seems to expect of them.

four-stars

Book review: All She Wants by Kelli Hawkins

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 Permalink

All She Wants by Kelli Hawkins is about a woman who wants a family… a woman who is desperate for a family. I mean ostensibly she wants a baby, but she really wants the whole kit and caboodle. A family. As someone who went through fertility treatment in my early 40s (as a single woman) I could relate to some of Lindsay’s obsessiveness and the daydreams of a long-expected child.

I could similarly relate to how much it smarted to see others with children, taking it for granted and seemingly rubbing it in my face – though of course they weren’t. The pill nonetheless was bitter.

four-stars

Book review: Em & Me by Beth Morrey

Friday, February 11, 2022 Permalink

Em & Me by Beth Morrey was a delightful surprise. Not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. I certainly loved Morrey’s debut novel, Saving Missy… but my thrall here was because my reading of it came at exactly the right time. It was the feel-good book I didn’t know I needed. If that makes sense.

Before I started it I’d wondered if the blurb gave away too much and the book itself would have nothing left to proffer, but it wasn’t the case. Because though we do kinda know where this is going, I was very happy to travel along with Delphine and her daughter Emily and the assortment of family and friends they’ve gathered along the way.

four-stars

Book review: The Good Mother by Rae Cairns

Sunday, January 2, 2022 Permalink

I’d heard good things about The Good Mother by Rae Cairns, which I believe was previously self-published and shortlisted for the prestigious 2021 Ned Kelly Debut Crime Fiction Award.

I was a little worried however. I’m a bit ‘over’ books about motherhood in general… not being a mother myself means I often struggle to relate to the whole there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my kids thing. And then there’s mention of Belfast and the IRA and even though that’s not exactly historical fiction I tend to stay away from anything that delves too deeply into politics or well…. history.

But, I needn’t have worried as I read this book in a sitting. Its pacing is fantastic and plot complex without being unwieldy. And the mother in question, Sarah, is relatable and likeable.

four-half-stars

Book review: Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie

Sunday, November 28, 2021 Permalink

Unforgiven is the third book I’ve read by Australian author Sarah Barrie and she always delivers intriguing thrillers with complex and often-flawed characters. Unforgiven is certainly my favourite of hers so far as I found myself invested in the fate of the lead characters and intrigued by the unfolding plot.

I’ve commented on the settings of her other books, but though she also demonstrates her incredible ability to give readers a sense of ‘place’ particularly in the beginning when one of our characters is trying to work out where to ditch a body, this book focuses less on the where and more on the fast-paced what.

four-stars

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