• Book review: Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath

    Tuesday, November 30, 2021 Permalink

    I was a bit nervous going into Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath as we’re told the premise: it’s a bit of a kill or be killed kinda scenario and I had flashbacks to Eeny Meeny by MJ Arlidge, a novel in which couples or pairs are captured and have to do just that.

    But Heath goes further here. Thankfully it isn’t just a gladiator-style fight to the death, but far more complex – both in terms of our characters and the depth of their backstories and personalities as well as the events unfolding in the present.

    four-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: Happy Hour by Jacquie Byron

    Friday, November 26, 2021 Permalink

    Happy Hour by Jacquie Byron was a delightful surprise. It very much reminded me of other books I’ve loved, The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock, Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray and¬† Saving Missy by Beth Morrey.

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’m ageing, but I appreciate books about older women (or men) and it’s a reminder that lives can be just as happy or messy or uncertain no matter whether you’re 20 or 70.

    four-stars
  • Book review: The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

    Saturday, November 20, 2021 Permalink

    Before The Stranger in the Lifeboat I’d not read anything by Mitch Albom. I’ve not even seen the movie based on his popular book, Tuesdays with Morrie. But something about his latest release had me intrigued.

    As a lover of mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction, I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘that’ kind of book, but there was mention of a mystery at the heart of this novel which I thought might appeal. And I certainly enjoyed this book, however it wasn’t really the question posed by the book, but Albom’s writing that had me enchanted.

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Game On: Tempting Twenty-Eight by Janet Evanovich

    Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Permalink

    I thought I’d only missed the most recent Stephanie Plum ¬†adventure but according to Goodreads the last I read was #25. And in the two books I’ve missed Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur has been married and widowed. Again.

    Things seem to have progressed with one of Stephanie’s love interests as well. Though here, it’s not the Ranger vs Morelli dilemma we’re used to, but someone called Diesel raises his apparently handsome head. And I found myself wondering where he fits into things, though have a vague memory of him – perhaps in a different series or a standalone book?

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Little Cafe by the Lake by Joanne Tracey

    Thursday, November 11, 2021 Permalink

    The Little Cafe by the Lake by Joanne Tracey is the latest in a series of interlinked books – set across Australia, New Zealand and England.

    These books and Tracey’s strength continues to be the relatability of her characters and the ease of her storytelling. I also appreciate that she paints players in shades of grey. Here there’s an unwelcome visitor and – though it’d be tempting to paint them in a cast them as completely villainous – she resists the urge, which has been the case in her previous books. And it’s surprising to find ourselves feeling sympathy or empathy for those responsible for others’ pain.

    four-stars
  • Book review: The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly

    Tuesday, November 9, 2021 Permalink

    I love Michael Connelly’s Detective Renee Ballard series, even more so in the recent novels in which he’s paired her with his stalwart Harry Bosch.

    Ballard’s a bit of a lone wolf in LAPD and normally works alone, so – despite Bosch’s murky reputation with his former colleagues – I like the collaborative ‘smarts’ and insight we see when the pair join forces… not to mention the mutual respect and camaraderie.

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Deception Creek by Fleur McDonald

    Tuesday, November 2, 2021 Permalink

    Every time I review one of Fleur McDonald’s Detective Dave Burrows books I feel compelled to mention there are TWO series featuring Burrows. A contemporary series in which he appears but the lead character is often loosely linked to one from the previous book in the series. And then there’s the young Dave Burrows series, set a decade or two earlier, when he first becomes a police officer.

    I also always comment on the authenticity McDonald’s own background as a farmer lends to her work. Not only does she effortlessly drop in details about farming life (stuff about cattle or crops and prices or new technology) but many of her characters promote the role of women in agriculture and which the author herself does as well.

    four-stars