• Book review: Hard Copy by Fien Veldman

    Friday, June 14, 2024 Permalink

    Hard Copy by Fien Veldman is a very hard book to describe. It’s been translated from Dutch by Hester Velmans and I find it difficult to critique translations… because you don’t know how much of the writing style (whether good or bad) can be attributed to the writer or translator. Here for example, some of the phrasing is exquisite and I wonder if the original is equally as mesmerising? Having said that, there’s something about this book that felt just out of reach. Was there a metaphor I was missing? Was I taking everything too literally? Was Veldman’s style – by not giving our lead character (and most others) – a name and obliquely hinting at backstories before getting into them, simply too esoteric for me?

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    four-stars
  • Book review: The Chamber by Will Dean

    Tuesday, June 11, 2024 Permalink

    Holy schmoly! What a ride this book was. I’m not usually a fan of ‘action’ oriented novels and tend to skim over fight scenes and the like, even when the author obviously knows their stuff. Having said that, in the last couple of years I’ve enjoyed TJ Newman’s heart-in-mouth novels involving plane-based drama. I know one or both are being translated onto the big or small screen and I can see why. The Chamber by Will Dean blew me away for similar reasons. It’s a literal pressure cooker of a novel – centred around a saturation diving crew – in a sardine can 100m below the ocean’s surface. Their work is dangerous enough but throw in some suspicious deaths and you’ve got an extraordinary locked-room mystery.

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

    Friday, June 7, 2024 Permalink

    The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley is the third book I’ve read by the British author and I’ve enjoyed them all. She seemingly draws on long-kept secrets and develops intriguing and complex plots around relationships – testing family ties and friendship boundaries. Here the launch of a new luxurious wellness retreat brings together a disparate group of story tellers (in the present) and a diary-writer (in the past), the two converging in fresh tragedy as past secrets are revealed.

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    four-stars
  • ARC review: Running Cold by Susan Walter

    Sunday, June 2, 2024 Permalink

    In a recent review of one of her older books (Over Her Dead Body) I commented that I follow US author Susan Walter on social media, having loved a book of hers I read in 2023, Lie by the Pool. I noted a week or two ago she mentioned that an October 2024 release was available for early readers on review site, NetGalley, so I jumped on and requested it. At the time I had nothing awaiting my reading attention that’s being published in the next few weeks so started Running Cold on a Friday night after some work travel. And I was again hooked and kept reading until I finished the book.

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    four-stars
  • ARC review: The Lake of Lost Girls by Katherine Greene

    Tuesday, May 28, 2024 Permalink

    The Lake of Lost Girls by Katherine Greene isn’t out until later this year but I had an early copy and (at the time of reading) nothing else on my Kindle due to be published soon so figured I’d jump in early. And I discovered that Katherine Greene is the pen name of bestselling authors A Meredith Walters and Claire C Riley. And is it just me or is it weird they both have initials in their names? Interestingly they’re both based in the UK but this is set in a small American college town and it’s their second collaboration.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Last One to Leave & Fool Me Twice by Benjamin Stevenson

    Friday, May 24, 2024 Permalink

    I was so excited to get this book I even made an Instagram reel. And I hate reels as even the smoothest people often look awkward and or like naff try-hards. 🙄  Anyhoo, these novellas (by the very-talented Benjamin Stevenson) came out as Audible Originals a couple of years ago and have now been paired as a double-header and the quality of both stories is excellent. I can imagine them as episodes of Black Mirror or similar. They’re suspenseful, creepy and very very clever.

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    four-stars
  • 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.

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    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.

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    four-stars