• Book review: The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall

    Saturday, October 17, 2020 Permalink

    I must admit I hadn’t requested The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall for review. I hadn’t read the blurb so assumed it to be another book about a mother ‘losing’ a child or a child being hurt and – very literally – the mother being blamed, or at fault.

    As someone without kids I struggle a bit with all of the books about parenthood and its highs and lows. But I kept hearing amazing things about this book so finally decided to give it a try. And I am soooo glad I did because I loved it and only later realised ‘fault’ was less about blame, than a geological reference. D’oh!

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Trust by Chris Hammer

    Thursday, October 15, 2020 Permalink

    Trust is the third novel by former journalist Chris Hammer. If you’ve sufficient time on your hands you can check out my reviews of Scrublands (2018) and Silver (2019).

    Because of Hammer’s own background he’s effortlessly able to instil a realism in his lead, investigative journalist Martin Scarsden. It reveals itself in everything from the way Scarsden has strange memorabilia from warzones around his old apartment, to the way he’s able to find information from sources at the drop of a hat, to the instinctive hunt when he’s on a case.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

    Saturday, October 10, 2020 Permalink

    I’d certainly heard of Matt Haig’s non-fiction books but hadn’t realised he already written adult fiction novels before I read his latest, The Midnight Library.

    I was a tad worried as though I liked the sound of it from the blurb, it was classified as ‘fantasy’, a genre with which I struggle to read (but not watch… which is weird I realise). But I needn’t have worried as the plot of this was way within my comfort zone – as someone who’s far too often pondered the concept of ‘what if’. Or indeed, the do-over.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker

    Saturday, October 3, 2020 Permalink

    I’ve read a couple of books by Wendy Walker now (All is Not Forgotten and Emma in the Night giving them 4 and 4.5 stars respectively!) and after several weeks of minimal reading and a lot of university assignment angst her latest, Don’t Look for Me was exactly what I was in the mood to read.

    I settled into the bathtub and read it in an easy and entertaining sitting. There were a couple of moments that made me worry it was going to be too predictable but Walker throws in a few curves to avoid some of the usual cliches.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Burning Island by Jock Serong

    Friday, October 2, 2020 Permalink

    I’ve always regretted I didn’t read The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong*. It won’t surprise those who know how literarily illiterate I am that – because it came out late in the year – I actually assumed it was one of the Christmas-time sports books aimed at an easy gift for dads. 🙄

    I’ve only heard amazing things about it so leapt at the chance to read Serong’s latest release. What I hadn’t realised about The Burning Island however, was that it is historical fiction (which isn’t a favourite of mine) and that it is actually the sequel to his earlier work Preservation.

    It meant I probably didn’t appreciate the story on offer as much as I might otherwise have but I could certainly appreciate his beautiful prose and vivid descriptions of the islands of the Bass Strait and harsh coastline and living conditions of the time.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: All our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton

    Monday, September 28, 2020 Permalink

    Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe was one of my favourite books of 2018. Possibly my favourite book. I’ve long been a fan of Dalton’s writing and though I avoid non-fiction, am generally riveted by his pieces in weekend newspapers. Articles or non-fiction essays about seemingly ordinary people and places, made extraordinary through his telling.

    Dalton’s second novel, All Our Shimmering Skies is quite different to his first. It’s far more fantastic and mystical. It’s deeper and requires more intellectual translation in many ways. As my taste is fairly prosaic and comprehension very literal I was probably less drawn to the plot. The characters however, are as bewitching as I expected and (again) Dalton’s writing is beyond beautiful.

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: The Survivors by Jane Harper

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 Permalink

    I’ve actually just written an assignment for my Masters about Australian crime fiction and mentioned Jane Harper’s debut novel, The Dry and the rise and rise of rural or outback noir. Released in 2016 The Dry won much acclaim and a lotta love. It’s since been adapted for television and will hit our screens in 2021. And though I’m looking forward to it, I much preferred Harper’s 2019 standalone novel, The Lost Man.

    Although her fourth book, The Survivors, has a different feel to Harper’s previous books, it occurred to me there’s a strong theme underpinning all of her novels (including the two Aaron Falk ‘detective-based’ books). It’s one of families, of childhood and long-past legacies, and the impact they continue to have many years later.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

    Wednesday, September 16, 2020 Permalink

    I read Kimberly Belle’s Dear Wife just months ago. When I read the blurb for her new release Stranger in the Lake it made me worry a little about her take on marriage as both featured missing, murdered and fearful wives.

    Interestingly I was a little torn as I read this. Though I enjoyed the book overall, the things I liked about the book and our characters in the beginning ended up being the things that ultimately frustrated me.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Good Teacher By Petronella McGovern

    Monday, September 14, 2020 Permalink

    I very much enjoyed Petronella McGovern’s Six Minutes when it was published in 2019. It’s currently up for Ned Kelly and Davitt Awards, which are well deserved. And timely… as McGovern’s second book, The Good Teacher has recently been released.

    I’d misunderstood this book to be about a well-meaning teacher erroneously accused of something horrendous and having to fight to clear their name… which felt like it’d been done before. But this book is not ‘that’ and includes a range of weighty but deftly-delivered themes.

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    four-stars