• Book review: Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick

    Sunday, December 20, 2020 Permalink

    When I read the blurb for Kill A Stranger by Simon Kernick I was slightly worried it would be similar to The Chain by Adrian McKinty, which required a series of people to kidnap a child, so they can get their own child returned – a pay-it-forward concept if you like. However… that wasn’t the case which was a relief.

    It reminded me a little of Louise Candlish’s popular The Other Passenger because parts of the novel are told in second person – which we discover – are actually our characters sharing their experiences with the police. So the events of the book are predominantly unfolding via police interviews.

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    four-stars
  • Movie review: The Dry

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 Permalink

    The Dry, the movie based on the book by Jane Harper is officially being released in Australia on 1 January 2021. But my local cinema (and others I assume) is offering advance screenings so I decided to get in early.

    I didn’t ‘love’ The Dry as much as most people. I read a similar book that year which I preferred. Thankfully I’ve a mind like a sieve and read far too much so I was very murky on the details of the book. Which was good as I’d forgotten whodunnit.

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  • Book review: Contacts by Mark Watson

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Permalink

    Contacts by Mark Watson is going to be hard to review because though I enjoyed it – to an extent – my main issue with it is the content (underlining premise) itself. I can’t decide whether I think it’s ill-conceived, irresponsible and totally inappropriate or perhaps cathartic or helpful.

    Either way it needs a big trigger warning as the entire book is about someone planning to suicide and how they got to that point.

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    three-stars
  • Book review: The Stepdaughter by Debbie Howells

    Friday, December 4, 2020 Permalink

    The Stepdaughter is the fourth book I’ve read by Debbie Howells and it sat on my iPad for months and months as I’d believed its publication was deferred until next year. (And I only just discovered it wasn’t / isn’t.)

    I very much enjoyed Howells’ first psychological thriller, The Bones of You, in particular.

    Her latest is another complex story of relationships and of secrets and lies. I should also mention that it features domestic violence and references to child pornography (though no details etc).

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Valley of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020 Permalink

    The Valley of Lost Stories by Vanessa McCausland arrived wrapped with a gold bow and handwritten note from the author. It was a lovely gesture from Vanessa and Harper Collins and an acknowledgement that 2020 has been pretty shitty for almost everyone and we should grasp any glimmer of light and joy we can get.

    I read McCausland’s The Lost Summers of Driftwood last year and enjoyed it though took umbrage at a couple of references to the fact a character in her late 30s must have felt like a failure because she didn’t have a partner or child.

    Her new novel similarly traverses women’s fiction – a group of women and the problems in their lives with parenting, relationships and their identities – but with a little suspense thrown in.

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    four-stars
  • Alexander: Read. Listen. Watch.

    Monday, November 30, 2020 Permalink

    I returned to University to study (another) Masters mid year. Although I find some of the referencing requirements laborious and confusing and some of the academic-speak a bit wanky, it’s actually aligning with my interests. In a publishing subject for example, we discussed changing technology and its impact on the industry. It seems that good old print books are hanging in there, despite the increase in ebooks but that audiobooks are an area of growth. This, I understand is possibly piggy backing on the popularity of podcasts*.

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  • Book review: Hideout by Jack Heath

    Sunday, November 29, 2020 Permalink

    I blame our lack of daylight saving but I’ve been waking early which was my excuse for starting Jack Heath’s latest release Hideout at 5am in the bath accompanied by diet coke (my caffeine of choice) and brownies (the… ahem, breakfast of champions).

    As is my habit, before starting a new book in a series I re-read my review of its predecessor.¬†And in my review of the second in the Timothy Blake series, Hunter, I commented that we were left with a cliff-hanger. Annoyingly I don’t include spoilers in my posts which meant I had to get out of the bath and get my copy of Hunter off the shelf to re-read the ending. (Surely risking my neck on wet slippery tiles.)

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

    Friday, November 27, 2020 Permalink

    I’m not sure why I wasn’t drawn to The Miseducation of Evie Epworth earlier. I’m a sucker for a weird book title. Think, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Not to mention almost everything by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman.

    One of my friends loved this debut novel by Matson Taylor but it still took me months to get to it and I am so thankful I did. In fact, although I was keen for something light… a good psychological thriller about some murderous psychopath; from the opening lines of this novel I was transported into Evie’s world. It’s written in first person from 16 year old Evie’s point of view and almost akin to stream-of-consciousness thinking. Taylor gives Evie a really delightful voice and this is a quirky and often-funny read. At the same time however, there are moments of poignancy, some of which come as a result of life experience and realising things young Evie does not.

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: White Throat by Sarah Thornton

    Monday, November 23, 2020 Permalink

    This is the second in the series by Sarah Thornton featuring former lawyer Clementine Jones. We learned in the first outing Lapse, that Jones had been convicted of drink driving and a woman died as a result – although I did think there was perhaps more to that story. She spent a lot of time in the first novel keeping that secret, but it’s not the case here and her history seems to be more accessible.

    Lapse was set in Katinga in rural Australia, but this opens with (the elegant) mention of tidal flats and the ocean. Here Jones is housesitting and Thornton certainly offers eloquent imagery of Australia’s coastline. The setting was of interest to me as it’s actually in my back yard… near the Great Sandy Straits, set in the tiny fictional town of Piama. (I assume it’s fictional as I’ve never heard of it.)

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    three-half-stars