• Book review: Tell Me What I Am by Una Mannion

    Friday, May 17, 2024 Permalink

    I actually first read Tell Me What I Am by Una Mannion in 2023. I didn’t review it immediately and recently found the draft I’d written. I recall overthinking it a little, which is something that often prevents me putting fingertips to keyboard. And then too much time had passed. I knew I’d enjoyed it – though ‘enjoy’ seems to be the wrong word to use in a book like this, but it pulled me in and buried me deep. I recently watched The Marsh King’s Daughter (on Prime) based on a book I’d read and was reminded of this… and others similarly themed.

    Continue Reading…

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: For Everything a Time by Mark McAvaney

    Friday, May 10, 2024 Permalink

    For Everything a Time by Mark McAvaney unfolds in the past (1990) and present (2003) and one of the things I loved most about this bittersweet novel is how many memories it brought back from both times.

    It’s a story about family and friendship and I was reminded of those friendships we develop when young, in our formative years… sometimes merely out of circumstance or proximity but there’s something foundational about them that impacts the way we live the rest of our lives.

    Continue Reading…

    four-stars
  • Book review: Over Her Dead Body by Susan Walter

    Sunday, May 5, 2024 Permalink

    Over Her Dead Body by Susan Walter was an impulse purchase. I’ve not been getting many print books for review lately (indeed the only two I’ve received in recent weeks weren’t requested and both non-fiction… which I don’t read) so I’ve been downloading review copies from overseas publishers, many of which aren’t out for a while.

    I very much enjoyed Walter’s Lie By The Pool last year and started following her online. It was timely then that she posted that two of her earlier books were on sale. They weren’t actually on special here in Australia but I decided to buy and download Over Her Dead Body as it sounded like the perfect read for a rainy Saturday night ‘in’. And – OMG – what a ride it was! So. Many. Twists. I loved it!

    Continue Reading…

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea

    Saturday, May 4, 2024 Permalink

    Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea is the seventh book I’ve read by the American author, almost all of which have been consistently good four-star reads. His latest is no different and touches on a whole stack of contemporary and popular themes, including the solving of cold cases using DNA harvested from genealogy sites as well as the burgeoning popularity of true crime podcasts and the like. Of course we see the pros and cons of both here as Donlea wraps them up in a fascinating long-buried mystery.

    Continue Reading…

    four-stars
  • Book review: The Instruments of Darkness by John Connolly

    Sunday, April 28, 2024 Permalink

    I started reading The Instruments of Darkness by John Connolly and had one thought: “OMFG!” His opening paragraph, his phrasing, his over-use of metaphors, whip-smart prose and witty narration… I was blown-away.

    Very weirdly – I discovered that I have never read anything by Connolly in past (unless it was pre-2011 when I started tracking my reading in Goodreads). I mean, I’ve heard of Connolly obviously, and his Charlie Parker series but I’m agog that this was my first of his books. Which is probably why I had no idea that this series (or perhaps his work in general) has a supernatural undercurrent.

    Continue Reading…

    four-stars
  • Book review: Under the Palms by Kaira Rouda

    Thursday, April 25, 2024 Permalink

    Under the Palms by Kaira Rouda is labelled The Kingsleys #2. I hadn’t realised it was the second in a series but I didn’t feel like I was missing any backstory or context. Although – given the secrets of #1 (Beneath the Surface) are revealed here – it does render going back and reading that kinda pointless (from the whodunnit and why perspective anyway).

    I enjoyed the early parts of this novel though found almost all of the characters to be incredibly unlikeable. And in some ways they bordered on caricatures, they were soooo obvious. That being said, I appreciated the whodunnit and the game-playing that featured prominently.

    Continue Reading…

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda

    Saturday, April 20, 2024 Permalink

    Daughter of Mine by Megan Miranda was a pleasant surprise. I confess I didn’t want to put it down, though planned poorly so had to stop halfway through… taking two nights to read this addictive tale.

    It’s a common theme in the world of crime fiction and thrillers – old disappearances, murders or mysteries come back to haunt those in the present. It’s very much the case here, though with a little twist.

    Continue Reading…

    four-stars
  • Book review: Earth by John Boyne

    Wednesday, April 17, 2024 Permalink

    Earth by John Boyne is the second in the loosely linked series. I read Water in late 2023 and it was a tumultuous read. I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed it but cried when closing the book on discovering that another in the series was coming.

    Earth didn’t have quite the same impact but Boyne again manages to unfurl a complex and tragic backstory as shocking events unfold in the present. Here, the focus is Evan – who we briefly meet in Water – which ends as he’s escaping the small Irish island that was his home.

    Continue Reading…

    four-stars
  • Book review: One for Sorrow by Joanne Tracey

    Saturday, April 13, 2024 Permalink

    I mentioned on Facebook when One for Sorrow by Joanne Tracey was released that it was kinda bittersweet as Jo and I were going to co-write this series. Though at the time it was going to be themed and titled around astrology with the murder or murderer each time reflecting a zodiac sign*. It didn’t pan out for a myriad of reasons, but mainly because Jo’s an excellent and prolific writer, whereas I’m lucky to keep up with reviews on this website. 

    The fact that this book is dedicated to me (I know!!!) AND I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements will probably mean you’ll assume this review will be very biased. You’d be wrong but given reviewing (how we respond to / perceive anything) is subjective it doesn’t matter… but I bloody loved this book. It’s easily my favourite of Jo’s books. Some of that MAY be because I felt a kindredness with Clementine Carter (I was there for her birth, after all) but also because I liked the cast of characters surrounding her and the ‘mystery’ at the heart of this book was just the perfect mix of clue-following-and-secret-discovering. 

    Continue Reading…

    four-half-stars