• Book review: The Making of Christina by Meredith Jaffe

    Friday, August 4, 2017 Permalink

    My first ‘real’ job after University involved working in child protection and youth justice. I worked with kids and their families, though mostly the kids and young offenders themselves.

    When this book came up for review and I read the blurb it seemed kinda obvious that there was going to be an underlying theme of abuse and I wasn’t too sure I wanted to go back to that world. Not because I found it too traumatic or it offered a trigger of sorts (though warning: it may for some), but because it was just something I left behind a career or three ago.

    However, Australian author Meredith Jaffe handles the issue of child sexual abuse with a very light and deft touch. In fact, it’s really mostly spoken of in its aftermath.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book series review: D-Bot Squad by Mac Park and James Hart

    Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Permalink

    I don’t have kids, so am not overly familiar with a lot of children’s contemporary reading and literary options. My godson however is almost six and I’ve read him enough stories to know he needs to be engaged in a plot that’s exciting and relatable and – now he’s starting to learn to read – needs to be challenged by language, phrasing and prose and recognise words in print.

    This new series by Mac Park (Louise Park and Susannah McFarlane) and illustrated by James Hart is perfect for the youngest millennials, accustomed to uplifting yet fast-paced action in a high-tech world.

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  • Book review: Fifty Fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox

    Monday, July 31, 2017 Permalink

    I have to confess I purposely avoided Never Never, the first book in this series DESPITE being a huge fan of Candice Fox’s work. Or maybe I should say BECAUSE I’m a huge fan of Fox’s writing. I’d had some bad experiences with previous James Patterson collaborations so didn’t want anything to tarnish my (not-weird) reverence of the talented Aussie storyteller.

    So, I came into this second book of the series, Fifty Fifty with a few gaps in my backstory knowledge. It meant I might have had a few questions but did not take anything away from my enjoyment of this book, which I think (thankfully) has Fox’s fingerprints all over it. (And yes, I was tempted to say paw prints, cos…. well Fox… #sorrynotsorry)

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    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

    Sunday, July 30, 2017 Permalink

    In the days I participated in more blog link-ups with US/European book bloggers and reviewers I often heard about books by Lisa Jewell – who I assumed was American, but discovered is English! Her most recent books in particular, sounded to be exactly the sort of books I enjoyed – romantic suspense.

    For reasons unknown Jewell’s latest book is my first and I’m glad I finally got around to reading something by the popular author. 

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Way Back by Kylie Ladd

    Saturday, July 29, 2017 Permalink

    I read some quotes about Kylie Ladd’s other work before embarking on this book and they all centred around how well she portrayed families and their relationships. This is the first book I’ve read by Ladd and I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I very much enjoyed the complex yet relatable characters she’s developed and the way she brings a family to crisis… and back out again.

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    four-stars
  • Audiobook review: The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Permalink

    It will surprise those who regularly follow my reviews to see this book pop up as it’s more than a-stone’s-throw outside my usual / preferred genre. I’ve talked before about why I don’t read ‘straight’ romance novels… and in summary it’s sadly because my default state-of-mind is far too cynical and insufficiently tolerant or wistful enough for romance.

    However, I’m trying to broaden my horizons and hoping to do that via audiobooks as I drive a bit for work. And because I knew I had a 6hr drive to attend an author event as well as some work travel I put in a request for this audiobook. Which – incidentally – I enjoyed, though tried not to think about the fact I could have read it in 2-3 hours, not 10-11hrs stretched over 3 weeks of driving and a few lunchtime walks.

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall

    Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Permalink

    Getting Facebook friend requests from old school frenemies or even those you only vaguely knew many years earlier is a weird thing. My 30th school reunion was held a couple of years ago and when I joined the reunion Facebook page I sudden received friend requests from people I’d not seen (or thought of) in decades.

    Weirder still were those from people who were just not nice in school. The bitches and bullies – most of whom left school as young as possible in my day, so weren’t a problem after we turned 15. But at least I’ve never received a friend request from someone who disappeared 25 years earlier, and who’s presumed dead.

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    four-stars
  • Book review: Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

    Monday, July 24, 2017 Permalink

    Interestingly I thought this book was going to be about macabre domicile-related happenings when Libby and Jamie arrive in Cornwall for a house swap. And it is. Kinda. But though there’s a sense of menace around the amazing house they’ve briefly traded for their small flat, we soon learn their problems have little to do with where they’re living. Rather, they’re a result of who they are and what they’ve done. Cue dramatic music….

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    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Sunday Morning Coming Down by Nicci French

    Sunday, July 23, 2017 Permalink

    Long term disciples, devotees, (ahem) readers of my book reviews may recall I’ve struggled with the Nicci French Dr Frieda Klein series. I actually even put one or two of the early books aside rather than continuing with them.

    However, I actually enjoyed the last one I read,  Friday On My Mind and commented in that review on the fact I felt that Frieda was – perhaps – evolving a little and become a more likeable character. I’d like to think I wasn’t alone in struggling with early Frieda and the Nicci Gerrard / Sean French pairing decided to insert a little personality into her stiff unrelatable demeanour. I suspect however, it’s probably more about the trajectory they’d always planned for the socially-challenged psychotherapist rather than public outcry. 

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    three-half-stars