• Book review: The Confession by Jessie Burton

    Wednesday, September 18, 2019 Permalink

    I’ve not read any of Jessie Burton’s books before, but the fact her second novel was called, The Muse, doesn’t surprise me as her latest, The Confession is very much centred around creativity, control and passion.

    One of the main characters in the book, although not one of our narrators, is an author, known for her beautiful poetic and poignant prose… laden with depth and meaning, and Burton effortlessly manages to reflect this.

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

    Sunday, September 15, 2019 Permalink

    Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood was met with much adoration and acclaim. I still haven’t read it but leapt at the chance to read her second novel, The Woman in Cabin 10, and was – I must admit – a tad disappointed.

    The premise of her latest, The Turn of the Key, sounded interesting however, though I was a little worried when there was talk of ghosts and haunted houses as I’m not a fan of the fantasy genre, however this didn’t really go in that direction and was sufficiently gripping that I easily read it in a sitting.

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    four-stars
  • BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival – the verdict

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Permalink

    I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival.

    I’ve been to a few writers’ festivals and one can feel quite isolated as you drift in and out of sessions. There isn’t the sense of camaraderie you get at a conference… where you’re all staying in one spot and chatting over meals etc. However… what I didn’t realise is that the NSW State Library precinct isn’t as vast as Brisbane’s for example (where there are several cafes and various outdoor spaces). In Sydney there was far more socialising than I expected because it was hard not to keep bumping into the same people between sessions in the on-site cafe or library foyer.

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  • BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival

    Thursday, September 5, 2019 Permalink

    It feels a bit like there are a million billion trillion writing events on this weekend. And I’m going to one of them.

    This time last year I attended the Brisbane Writers’ Festival. I was enroute to Italy and fortuitously stopped-over for the weekend to attend a few activities, which was excellent as one of my main reasons for going to Italy was to attend a writing retreat in Tuscany. *sigh*

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  • Book review: How The Dead Speak by Val McDermid

    Wednesday, September 4, 2019 Permalink

    I try hard not to write reviews with spoilers. Or ones that give away too much of the plot. Of course it also means I sometimes re-read a review of a book before starting the next book of the series and – unless it’s ingrained into my mind for some reason – I rarely remember the detail.

    So, given two years has passed since Val McDermid’s last Tony Hill / Carol Jordan novel Insidious Intent was published (and I can’t believe it’s that long!), I’d completely forgotten Tony had gone to jail. I can’t remember any of the specifics, but that’s kind-of a good thing as newcomers to the series won’t be lost, suddenly introduced to characters – many of whom have been around now for 11 novels (and 24 years).

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Matters of the Heart by Fiona Palmer

    Friday, August 30, 2019 Permalink

    I follow West Australian author (and farmhand) Fiona Palmer on social media so she’s writing what she knows in her books set in rural Australia. I do usually steer clear of rural romance, just because I’m not a fan of romance novels, however… my love of Jane Austen outweighs my meh-ness for romance so I found myself ploughing (ie. reading quickly and eagerly) through Palmer’s new release, Matters of the Heart, which is based on one of Austen’s more famous books, Pride and Prejudice.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Snake Island by Ben Hobson

    Thursday, August 29, 2019 Permalink

    I was on a bit of a reading hiatus when Snake Island by Ben Hobson was published. I wasn’t exactly sure it was the sort of book I’d enjoy… not specifically being crime fiction or a psychological thriller. However, upon reading, it reminded me a bit of Trent Dalton’s excellent Boy Swallows Universe, though traverses less time and the events probably more tragic and futile.

    I’ve read a lot of books set in small Australian towns and am very much looking forward to a session I’m attending at BAD Crime Writer’s Festival in Sydney called Country Noir because there’s something about stories set in rural and regional Australia that effortlessly reflect darkness or foreboding (am thinking of Emily O’Grady, Sofie Laguna and Jane Harper, for example). Generally there’s also a sense of community though here readers are left with a sense of some of the characters living in isolation and despair.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Fred Do-it’s Wacky Plan Really Fails by Graham Bebington

    Monday, August 26, 2019 Permalink

    Regular readers will know I don’t often review children’s books. As I don’t have kids myself and am subjected to very few ( 😉 ), I don’t really know what they do or don’t like.

    I had intended to co-opt my 8yr old godson Pickle to assist with this review as the author of Fred Do-it’s Wacky Plan Really Fails, Graham Bebington is the librarian at his school, but I haven’t been able to pin him (my godson, not Mr Bebington) down. It’s Pickle’s birthday month you see – so he’s distracted (and sick) – though he was able to give me some feedback in between party-planning excitement.

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