• 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
  • Book review: The Devil’s Lair by Sarah Barrie

    Friday, June 14, 2019 Permalink

    This is actually the first book I’ve read by Australian author Sarah Barrie though she’s penned the Hunters Ridge series and I understand this is loosely linked to her 2018 release, Blood Tree River.

    I kinda guessed the ‘whodunnit’ part here which is eventually partially handed to us. The why wasn’t as predictable though and sets up the suspense in this book quite nicely.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

    Tuesday, June 11, 2019 Permalink

    The cover of this book includes recommendations from authors of some of my recent faves, and the fact I knew almost all of those quoted boded well for this book… ie. it would sit firmly in my reading comfort zone.

    And it certainly did. Mostly. There was a smidge of the paranormal which I’ve struggled with in one of Lisa Unger’s series, but definitely not enough to put me off. And as we’re offered great characters and an intriguing plot, I’m glad I had the chance to dive into this debut novel by Alex North.

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    three-half-stars
  • Before Google

    Thursday, June 6, 2019 Permalink

    I was having a conversation with a friend on the weekend and she said she’d been trying to explain to her 7yr old son, the concept of ‘looking stuff up’ or ‘research’ before the internet (and before google). She was planning, she said, to buy a hard-copy dictionary so he could learn how to use one.

    We were reminiscing about our own childhoods and the encyclopedia we soooo relied on for homework and the like.

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  • Book review: Come Back for Me by Heidi Perks

    Wednesday, June 5, 2019 Permalink

    The book opens as 11yr old Stella’s father is forcing (albeit without actual physical force) her family to leave remote Evergreen Island, the only home she’s known. Ferrying people between the island and Poole Harbour is her father’s job but the weather is dire and their decision to leave sudden.

    Stella is devastated, expecting her mother to refuse her father’s wishes, so surprised when she agrees to their hurried departure. It’s an ominous and quite frantic start to this story.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Nancys by RWR McDonald

    Monday, June 3, 2019 Permalink

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I adore books written from the point of view of a child narrator. I mean, it doesn’t always work… the author has to nail their all-knowing childish innocence and their voice has to be authentic, but when that happens; it can be amazing.

    Which is the case with this new release, The Nancys by RWR McDonald, set on New Zealand’s south island.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Something to Live For by Richard Roper

    Sunday, June 2, 2019 Permalink

    Something to Live For by Richard Roper is being billed as ‘the most uplifting and life-affirming debut of the year’. And given it’s about a man whose job it is to visit the homes of recently deceased who have no obvious family / friends, to try to find a single person who knew them or a will (or money to pay for the funeral); it could be very depressing.

    But it’s not. It’s a reminder that while there’s crappy stuff happening in the world and… yes, people die alone all of the time, there are still kind and generous people to be found. Not to mention the fact that people live small, rich and happy lives, or sad and loud lives we may know nothing about.

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    four-stars