• Book review: The Lost Summers of Driftwood by Vanessa McCausland

    Saturday, December 14, 2019 Permalink

    This book by journalist and Sydneysider Vanessa McCausland came as a bit of a surprise. Its cover is beautiful but implied more whimsy than is on offer in the book. Which is a good thing for me as I struggle with ‘lightness’. It’s a hard book to describe in many ways… there are elements of romance, some meaning-of-life navel gazing and certainly some suspense.

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    three-half-stars
  • My favourite novels of 2019

    Thursday, December 12, 2019 Permalink

    For the first time in… well forever, I contrived a semi final type scenario and have shared:

    1. my eight favourite books from the first half of 2019; and

    2. my seven favourite books from the second half of the year.

    Very accidentally, that gave me a top 15, which is an excellent total given I have obsessive compulsive tendencies and 13, 14, 16 or 17 would have just been weird.

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  • Book review: Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

    Wednesday, December 11, 2019 Permalink

    This book opens with a murder. It’s one of a series by a killer known as the Nine Elms Cannibal. We meet Kate Marshall, a detective on the case, some of her colleagues including her boss Detective Chief Inspector Peter Conway. As I hadn’t really read the backcover blurb properly it came as a surprise then that the usual crisis / climax (ie. Kate’s life threatened by the baddie) happens just after the book kicks off. And the killer is found. Huh?

    Of course we then leap forward 15 years to meet Kate in the (not quite) present day. I’ve not read any of Bryndza’s books before so did wonder briefly if Kate had been referenced in another series as the information we receive about the preceding decade and a half is pretty scant, though more is eventually shared.

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    three-half-stars
  • The second six months: my favourite books of 2019. Part two

    Monday, December 9, 2019 Permalink

    For several years now I’ve done an annual wrap-up post of the (new release) novels I’ve enjoyed most that year.

    For the past couple of years I’ve actually done a ‘first half of the year’ post though usually skip over the ‘second half of the year’ post and go straight to the grand final… bypassing the semi finals completely.

    Well not this year. Not only did I write my ‘fave novels released in the first half of 2019‘ post, but I’m following it up with those I’ve enjoyed most in the second half of the year.

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  • Book Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

    Sunday, December 8, 2019 Permalink

    When I attended a romance readers conference a few years ago, New Zealand author Nalini Singh was oft-mentioned. As romance and paranormal romance aren’t genres I read (particularly the latter) I’d not heard of her, but now know she’s much-loved internationally with over 20 books to her name.

    A Madness of Sunshine is her first crime novel. It’s set in New Zealand – a place she obviously knows well as the landscape of the south island – its untamed beauty in particular – plays a central role in the unfolding tale.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Assistant by SK Tremayne

    Tuesday, December 3, 2019 Permalink

    I read and enjoyed The Ice Twins by SK Tremayne in 2015. I know the English author and journalist (Sean Thomas) has released a couple of books since but haven’t heard a lot about them here in Australia, though I know The Fire Child in particular, was well-received by overseas authors and bloggers I follow.

    Tremayne’s latest release is very timely in the age of Siri and Alexa, Google Home and automation in general. It takes things a little further however (well, I’ve not heard of some of the technology so it ‘may’ exist!) and things turn ugly. Of course the big question is whether it’s artificial intelligence (AI) and ‘the machines’ taking over or if humans are still the main source of evil.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: The Strangers We Know by Pip Drysdale

    Sunday, December 1, 2019 Permalink

    Interestingly I read Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl, while travelling home from Italy last October. It’s typical of me, but I’ve included reference to my Emirates meal in the review, which in retrospect is kinda weird. Happily however, I enjoyed the book (far more than the meal) and it seems, though I thought I knew what was going to happen, it didn’t quite play out like that.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

    Saturday, November 30, 2019 Permalink

    I only requested this book for review recently, though it was released earlier this year. I’ve read two books by Peter Swanson and still remember the beguiling title of his debut… The Girl With a Clock for a Heart.

    His novels are satisfyingly twisty with complex characters, usually with frailties and there’s often moral or ethical challenge at the heart of the book. His latest is no different.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Darkness For Light by Emma Viskic

    Monday, November 25, 2019 Permalink

    I missed Resurrection Bay when it was released in 2015. Of course I’ve no excuse now (four years later) for not reading a copy of the much-lauded debut novel by Emma Viskic. And. I. Really. Must. Read. It.

    I read her second And Fire Came Down, also featuring Caleb Zelic, but – though I loved Viskic’s writing – I didn’t get the hype over the main character (and therefore the series he was carrying).

    Viskic’s new release Darkness for Light, the third in the series however is my favourite so far (noting of course I’ve not read the first!). I devoured this in a sitting and engaged with Caleb far more than I did in the previous book. I’m not entirely sure why that is… but here I really enjoyed the time I spent with him and now can’t wait for more.

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    four-stars