• Book review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

    Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Permalink

    I love Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense novels. They usually offer up a good balance of the two, which is important given my love of thrillers and suspense and antipathy towards romance. (As such.)

    Interestingly, though this includes some suspense, it’s kinda short-lived. It grapples with some unpleasant themes (domestic violence and family violence, so trigger alert for some), but the thing I enjoyed most about this book was, in fact, how the romance played out and the relationship between our two lead characters.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: The Chain by Adrian McKinty

    Sunday, July 7, 2019 Permalink

    There is currently a LOT of hype around The Chain by Adrian McKinty. I keep seeing articles on social media about the film rights of a book written by an Uber driver sold for a seven figure sum.

    There’s actually an interesting note in the back of this book from McKinty about life as a writer. He’s got his successful Sean Duffy series under his belt but it’s a reminder that many seemingly-successful creatives (authors and the like) don’t actually earn much from their craft. Most have other jobs and alternative sources of income. Which makes me feel a bit grumpy about some idiotic athletes who earn gazillions.

    But enough of my ranting. Let’s get down to it cos this standalone by McKinty is (#spoileralert) certainly worth all of the praise it’s getting. I wasn’t sure I was going to be enamoured but I was gobsmacked at how ‘real’ it all felt from the opening lines.

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Never Look Back by AL Gaylin

    Saturday, July 6, 2019 Permalink

    It’s increasingly common for books to reflect popular culture – true crime podcasts and the like. I’ve now read a few novels that have pursued a story either via the podcast or for the purposes of one. (As an aside, Sadie by Courtney Summers, which does exactly that was one of my favourite books for the first half of 2019.)

    This is a little different in that it’s mostly about the investigation which may (or may not) result in a podcast. But I guess this book by AL Gaylin also takes the opportunity to consider 21st century journalism, news and our consumption of information. In some ways it’s a peripheral issue, but in others a reminder of how different today’s world is from that of 40yrs ago.

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    three-stars
  • Book review: Six Minutes by Petronella McGovern

    Monday, July 1, 2019 Permalink

    This book came as a bit of a surprise. I’d had an advance copy for a while but put it aside for closer to the publication date when the final version arrived and I read some publicity around it.

    In some ways you’d think the whole ‘missing child’ thing had been done to death. Indeed the blurb refers to The Cry and I know I’ve read quite a lot of books about disappearing children, but this felt different. The parents were less obvious suspects, though certainly had their secrets, and there was other stuff going on behind the scenes, involving both the parents and those who last saw the missing girl.

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    four-stars
  • The first six months: my favourite books of 2019. So far.

    Saturday, June 29, 2019 Permalink

    I tend to write one of these posts most years but never get around to do the second six months, rather bypassing the semi-finals and going straight to the grand final: aka – My favourite books of the year. It probably means there are a lot of books I’ve read between July and December I do not acknowledge sufficiently but then again no one ever said life was fair.

    Anyhoo… the first six months of 2019 have flown by and despite my apathy and newfound love of Netflix I’m on track for my (reduced) annual reading target (63 / 120).

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  • Book review: The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Permalink

    The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker is a little outside of my usual reading genre. I must admit usually when I see book blurbs mentioning groups of women I assume it to be women’s fiction grappling with kids and husbands or in-laws or something saga like – to which I can’t relate. This book is more based around the workplace and – in reality – it felt like the plot took second place to its message. Which is fine, except (for me) the message was a little too forcefully delivered.

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    three-stars
  • Book review: After the End by Clare Mackintosh

    Saturday, June 22, 2019 Permalink

    I like to think of myself as having discovered UK author Clare Mackintosh. It’s not true, obviously, but I read her debut novel I Let You Go very early and it was one of my favourite books that year. Indeed, its mid-way shocker was one of the best I’ve ever encountered. I’ve also read and reviewed her subsequent novels, I See You and Let Me Lie, enjoying both because of their twists and her innovative plots.

    Interestingly her latest, After the End, is quite different. It immediately reminded me of recent work by Jodi Picoult in that it’s boldly confronting and will have readers questioning preconceived ideas… or certainly challenging our thinking. It’s different from Mackintosh’s previous work but that variety isn’t something I mind. Surely if someone loves writing (and excels at storytelling) then it doesn’t matter what they write?

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    four-stars