Book review: The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 Permalink

It has to be said… ‘Oh my god, how many secrets can one family have?’ Although, having said (exclaimed?) that some of the secrets Adler family members are keeping are blown (by the keeper) way out of proportion. Of course, others are doozies, so….

The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding is centred around a family that seems to be just that. And we’re told parents Thomas and Viv work hard to make it appear so. But cracks are appearing. All at once, and it’s a reminder that – from the outside – you never know what’s happening on the inside.

three-half-stars

Book review: Catch Us The Foxes by Nicola West

Friday, July 9, 2021 Permalink

Oft-referenced advice to wannabe authors is to ‘write what you know’ and Australian author Nicola West has most certainly done that in her debut novel, Catch Us The Foxes.

This is a book within a book. Kind-of. There’s a brief introduction in the present before we’re introduced to The Showgirl’s Secret, a true crime book written by (former) journalist intern Marlowe Robertson. ‘Lo’ is the daughter of the town’s head of police who feels stuck in her small hometown and literally stumbles across the body of a friend. In real life, West grew up in Kiama – the book’s setting – as the daughter of a police officer and is a journalist herself.

three-half-stars

Book review: Vanished by James Delargy

Saturday, June 12, 2021 Permalink

Vanished by James Delargy is a difficult book to describe. I assumed it to be a thriller, but as I started reading I was worried there were going to be some supernatural forces at play and that’s not a genre I enjoy.

Thankfully the mystery surrounding the disappearing family is very much grounded in human actions and interactions… and they’re not swallowed by the earth or some creature hovering beneath.

three-stars

Book review: Falling by TJ Newman

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 Permalink

Falling by TJ Newman opens with a bang and does not release its readers until the very end.

In fact I must confess I skimmed far more than I meant to here, but it was only because I felt the urgent need to know what would happen. I could not turn the pages quickly enough. I’m fairly sure I held my breath on a number of occasions and steeled myself (several times) for the worst.

four-stars

Book review: The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs

Sunday, April 25, 2021 Permalink

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs is the 20th in the series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. I’ve been reading the series since just after its commencement. My small paperback copy of her first novel, Deja Dead, complete with yellowed pages has my name and the year 1999 scrawled inside the cover.

Weirdly I didn’t ever really take to the TV series based on the books, Bones, but know it probably helped bring new readers into the fold a decade or so later.

four-stars

Book review: You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

Friday, April 16, 2021 Permalink

I’m generally a quick reader but You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes, the latest in the series featuring the charming psychopath Joe Goldberg, took me a long time (ie. several sittings) to read.

I’m not sure if I wasn’t sufficiently engaged, or if it’s because her style of writing requires significant focus and I can’t skim as I’m wont to do.

Despite that I enjoyed this book, certainly more than the second in the series, Hidden Bodies which I found to be rather inconsistent – in terms of its plot and pacing.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Paris Affair by Pip Drysdale

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 Permalink

I read Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl when it was released in 2018 and her subsequent novel of suspense The Strangers We Know the following year. Both feature flawed but engaging narrators and relationships-gone-bad, with themes around trust and disappointment.

The Paris Affair initially had me comparing it to Netflix’s Emily in Paris, given there’s a slightly similar feel to the early pages with a confident and ambitious Harper heading off to Paris to work for an English-language French publication. When we meet her she’s keen to wow the world but struggling to find her feet professionally.

Here however, we’ve got the added bonus of a murder. So, Emily in Paris meets The Girl on the Train. Perhaps.

four-stars

Book review: My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips

Sunday, January 3, 2021 Permalink

I was part-way through My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips when it occurred to me it might be set in Australia. What I very much liked about that thought was not that it might be set in my home country, but rather it translated into any number of locations. An excellent idea for a debut author which would make the book relevant and relatable across a number of english-speaking markets. Of course there might (also) have been references to places or landmarks I missed or didn’t recognise!

And I very much enjoyed this book, reading it in a sitting on Christmas night when I was supposed to be bingeing on a new Netflix release.

four-stars

Book review: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

Friday, November 27, 2020 Permalink

I’m not sure why I wasn’t drawn to The Miseducation of Evie Epworth earlier. I’m a sucker for a weird book title. Think, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Not to mention almost everything by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman.

One of my friends loved this debut novel by Matson Taylor but it still took me months to get to it and I am so thankful I did. In fact, although I was keen for something light… a good psychological thriller about some murderous psychopath; from the opening lines of this novel I was transported into Evie’s world. It’s written in first person from 16 year old Evie’s point of view and almost akin to stream-of-consciousness thinking. Taylor gives Evie a really delightful voice and this is a quirky and often-funny read. At the same time however, there are moments of poignancy, some of which come as a result of life experience and realising things young Evie does not.

four-half-stars