• Book review: Your Closest Friend by Karen Perry

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Permalink

    The movies Single White Female and Fatal Attraction launched the phenomena of crazy chicks for my generation. Both were shocking at the time of their release and set the bar for obsessiveness. Indeed, 20-30 years on we still talk about SWFing someone or ‘bunny boilers’.

    It probably means books involving characters obsessed with others are less surprising than they once were. Or perhaps less horrific (rather than predictable) because we’ve become inured in some way. Your Closest Friend by Karen Perry explores such an obsession, though it’s borne of a very unusual situation.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

    Saturday, June 16, 2018 Permalink

    For some reason I’d been a bit reticent to dive into Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. I’m not a fan of romance but the idea of being ‘ghosted’ by someone who seemingly had no reason to disappear / ignore you was kinda intriguing.

    And thankfully I decided to give the book a ‘try’ because I enjoyed it far more than expected and it ended up consuming my Friday night.

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    three-half-stars
  • Writing the not-so-great Australian novel

    Thursday, June 14, 2018 Permalink

    So, I’m going to a writers’ retreat in about 13 weeks. I’ve talked about it before…. ie.the writing retreat in Italy. *Flicks hair over shoulder with Cartier-clad fingers*

    However, an obvious element to such a retreat is that we need to be writing something.

    Indeed, the lovely Vanessa Carnevale has offered to look at our work and provide some feedback in advance.

    Yay. Plus, FUCK!

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  • Book review: Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Permalink

    Although I’ve read quite a few books lately by Australian authors – most set in outback or rural Oz – there was something quintessentially Australian about this novel by Belinda Castles. I suspect the sense of place she offers via the beachside setting combined with the purposely lazy and languid language has something to do with that.

    The novel perhaps didn’t (ultimately) quite get to where I would have liked, but – for a range of reasons – resonated strongly.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Puppet Show by MW Craven

    Tuesday, June 12, 2018 Permalink

    Early in The Puppet Show, as we meet Washington Poe – our host for this evening series – there’s reference to a backstory. He’s been suspended and he and his former DS, now his boss-to-be (as they switch jobs) DI Stephanie Flynn talk about the fallout from a previous case. I wondered if in fact there was something I was missing.

    I’d checked the front of the book jacket – though I guess they’re more just covers now than jackets – for any previous books by MW Craven and saw none listed.

    Thankfully a page or two explains the history to us, however… I discovered Craven has had a previous series published centred around a fictional detective and also set in Cumbria…. published as Mike Craven. Which probably explains some of the confidence with which he writes the first in this new series.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady

    Sunday, June 10, 2018 Permalink

    I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady. I’d only heard good things about it and of course it won the 2018 The Australian / Vogel’s Literary Award earlier this year.

    So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I finally opened it and felt that sensation of knowing I was reading something special. I’ve had similar reactions to a number of books told from a child’s point of view: The Eye of the Sheep by Sophie Laguna (and her subsequent book, The Choke) and Past The Shallows by Favel Parrett and Room by Emma Donoghue come to mind. Not to mention To Kill A Mockingbird, of course.

    It’s not an easy thing to nail the voice of a child in a way that’s both authentic and alluring, but O’Grady does just that. From the get-go.

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    four-half-stars
  • The Upside of Over (not exactly a book review)

    Thursday, June 7, 2018 Permalink

    I was planning to sit down and write one of my usual (exceedingly eloquent and learned) book reviews, this time of The Upside of Over by JD Barrett, but realised much of what I wanted to say is really not about the book, but about the notion itself.

    Given I already inject far too much of myself into my reviews I figured I’d touch v.briefly on this book – which I enjoyed – a well-written and easy read – perfect for a sunny day at the beach or when cocooned under blankets in a cold house with rain falling outside…. but really talk more a little about the concept:

    That sometimes what feels like the very worst thing that could happen to us, is – in fact – the best.

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    three-half-stars