• 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: Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh

    Wednesday, June 9, 2021 Permalink

    Mirror Man by Fiona McIntosh is the third in the series featuring Scotland Yard detective Jack Hawksworth, promoted here to Detective Superintendent.

    I’ve commented in my review of the two previous books that I very much like that McIntosh presents Jack as a likeable boss and his own supervisor is also a good friend of his. It’s a nice change from the usual bastard-like guv’ners we meet in most novels featuring police personnel.

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Nancy Business by RWR McDonald

    Friday, June 4, 2021 Permalink

    Let me just start by saying, when I grow up I want to be 12 year old Tippy Chan. Or at least occupy her world along with her pragmatic mother Helen, her eccentric Uncle Pike and his mostly over-the-top partner (and Tippy’s honorary sissy) Devon.

    It’s so easy to get lost in the world RWR McDonald creates, that it seems very real. I feel sad at the thought of leaving them behind each time I turn the last page. Although – in reality – it feels as if it’s I’m the one being left behind.

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

    Wednesday, June 2, 2021 Permalink

    The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock was a delightful surprise. I particularly liked its lead, Mercy Blain. She’s in her mid thirties and well-established in her life and career, so relatable for me.

    I’m loving the current trend of ‘normalising’ characters with quirks, phobias or mental health issues. Once upon a time it felt like they (we) were portrayed as victims or case-studies. Now their (our) idiosyncrasies and issues are merely part of who they (we) are. I commented in my recent review of Love Objects that I appreciated that the author, Emily Maguire, didn’t feel the need to rid her lead character of some of her obsessive (yet comforting-to-her) tendencies.

    Here Mercy has become an agoraphobic – the result of a trifecta of things going badly in her life two years earlier. She’s barely left her house since but forced to do so when it burns down.

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Legacy by Nora Roberts

    Friday, May 28, 2021 Permalink

    I was a tad worried Legacy by Nora Roberts would be a bit saga-ish. I love her romantic suspense novels and ADORE her JD Robb series, but the blurb here sounded a bit more Barbara Taylor Bradford circa 1990ish.

    Thankfully it wasn’t. We do meet our lead Adrian at various stages of her childhood then on a few occasions during her adult life but it’s less about generations of women or families and their legacies and more about Adrian herself.

    It takes a little while to get to the ‘suspense’ part of this book but I liked Adrian and the fact her ambition is balanced with a sense of humanity, so was happy to be along for the ride.

    three-half-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 Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

    Friday, May 21, 2021 Permalink

    Thankfully I’d read a number of reviews of The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward before I started reading it. It’s clever and well-written and some of the prose is quite magical. But I would have put it down just a few chapters in had I not known that it was worth ‘hanging in’ for.

    In all honesty this book is a bit of a mind-f*ck. We know from the beginning that all is not as it seems. Our lead character Ted has (ahem) issues. Another narrator is a cat. Perhaps. It features much f*cked-upedness. But – once you get past the first few chapters it’s oddly compelling.

    four-stars
  • Book review: The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin

    Saturday, May 15, 2021 Permalink

    Australian author Katherine Firkin introduced readers to Detective Emmett Corban in Sticks and Stones. At the time I expected it would become part of a series and – as always – I was right. (Why doth thou doubt me?! Or something.) It doesn’t matter if you missed the first book however as, though I re-read my old review for context, only a few characters are featured here and there’s no background required.

    I really liked our lead, Emmett in the first novel, here however it was the plot that interested me the most – particularly the events of twenty years earlier which set up an intriguing cold case mystery.

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

    Thursday, May 13, 2021 Permalink

    I apologise in advance for the superlatives but I do not know how else to adequately describe how much I loved this book. I’d requested it as it sounded interesting but had I been aware of the astounding beauty of Jacqueline Bublitz’s writing, and how compassionately and poignantly she unfurls Alice’s story I would have devoured it the moment it arrived.

    I mentioned recently that books with dead narrators have become a little passé since Alice Sebold’s Lovely Bones was published in 2002. We’re no longer shocked or horrified or even that uncomfortable to be in the head of the recently deceased. Here however Bublitz manages to bring something new via the voice of a teenage girl we meet and then lose far too early. She allows us to spend time with Alice before ripping her out of her world – and though we’re left with the sense of anger, frustration and sadness that everything has been taken from her as she’s on the cusp of happiness – we’re also comforted by her continued presence.

    five-stars