• Book review: Wildflowers by Peggy Frew

    Saturday, September 10, 2022 Permalink

    Wildflowers is the first book I’ve read by Peggy Frew and I’m torn. Frew’s certainly a talented and emotive writer but I wasn’t as enamoured as I could have been… or perhaps expected to be. I think it’s predominantly because the backcover blurb suggests that the three sisters travel to Far North Queensland to support the youngest to detox in the present. So when the book opens and we meet the middle sister, Nina, I assumed the trip (and main story arc of the book) was yet to come. But instead we discover the trip took place in the past. And that threw me a little. (Though) I’m not sure why.

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Desperation in Death by JD Robb

    Wednesday, September 7, 2022 Permalink

    I’d dropped off a new release email listing so missed the 54th book in JD Robb’s In Death series. It’s the only one I’ve not read so far, as the series is a no-brainer must-read for me. I plan – on retirement (or similar) – to sit down and re-read one book after the other. I’ve mentioned before (many times) that Robb (ie. Nora Roberts) sets the books over a short amount of time and almost no time passes in and between books.

    So, even though I’d missed one book in the series I assumed I hadn’t missed any big events which seemed to be the case. Though I gather the theme of the previous book and this one – are both a little close to home for Lieutenant Eve Dallas given her wretched beginnings.

    four-stars
  • Book review: The Binding Room by Nadine Matheson

    Sunday, September 4, 2022 Permalink

    The Binding Room by Nadine Matheson is the second in the series featuring Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley.

    We pick up where we left off after The Jigsaw Man and Henley and her colleagues are still grappling with their lives being put at risk and a killer potentially on the run. We’re straight into the action however as the team picks up the case of a murdered pastor who had no shortage of enemies.

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: Paper Cage by Tom Bardgwanath

    Saturday, September 3, 2022 Permalink

    Tom Baragwanath is a New Zealand-born writer living in Paris. I mentioned recently (in my review of the anthology, Dark Deeds Down Under) I don’t read a lot of NZ authors so wonder if that’s why I was occasionally a little lost here with some terminology.

    It’s often the case when I read French, Italian or Nordic crime fiction as I really (really) don’t understand their law enforcement hierarchy but here – weirdly (given our proximity to our good friends across the ditch) I found myself confused by phrases and colloquialisms.

    three-half-stars
  • Book review: The Blame Game by Sandie Jones

    Friday, September 2, 2022 Permalink

    Even the blurb for The Blame Game by Sandie Jones is quite clever. Two voices. Two truths. Or one truth seen two ways perhaps? Either way… Jones offers up quite a few twists and a myriad of ethical dilemmas. I wonder if this should be used (for example) as a text book for psychology / counselling students as a warning about what happens when you cross the therapist / client boundary!!! Like a ‘what not to do’.

    four-stars
  • Book review: The Liars by Petronella McGovern

    Tuesday, August 30, 2022 Permalink

    The Liars by Petronella McGovern is the third book I’ve read by the Australian author and my favourite so far, which is probably more to do with the fact that the first two focused more around the parenting of young children whereas this felt like more of a ‘whodunnit’ and appealed more to my age bracket as I could relate to reflecting back on my younger self, thinking of my school days and the dreams I had. Roads taken or not… etcetera. Of course here there’s the added juxtaposition of the next generation on the cusp of similar life experiences and ready to make decisions about their futures.

    four-stars
  • Book review: Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

    Sunday, August 28, 2022 Permalink

    I must begin my review of Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney by saying how much her writing blew me away. I was only 9 pages in and realised I’d flagged quotes I’d like to use – either beautifully written prose or casually delivered poignant insights – and almost filled a page of the notebook I keep beside the bath (where I read).

    I sometimes assume the writing in plot-driven books should hover in the background. Unnoticed so as not to distract readers from the unfolding action, but the seemingly effortless eloquence (I very much noticed here) did not detract at all from the plot.

    four-stars
  • Book review: Denizen by James McKenzie Watson

    Friday, August 26, 2022 Permalink

    Like several other books I’ve read recently Denizen by James McKenzie Watson was an award-winner before it was even published, winning the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize

    I only belatedly requested a review copy after seeing others rave about it following its July 2022 release. And it’s certainly a brilliantly-written book. A confronting and challenging read in some ways and the second I’ve read in a row that tackles mental illness and self-harm.

    four-half-stars
  • Book review: Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts

    Saturday, August 20, 2022 Permalink

    There was a lot I liked about Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts. I’m tempted to say it’s a bit of a departure from my usual crime fiction and thriller reading, but in all honesty a lot of my favourite books are general or literary fiction, so I probably need to stop with the ‘I only read crime fiction’ mantra.

    I very much liked our lead Matt, who’s in a mental health in-patient facility. We learn it’s his third time and as a result it probably doesn’t need to be said, but nevertheless this book comes with a big trigger warning relating to mental illness and self-harm.

    three-half-stars