Book review: In the Clearing by JP Pomare

Wednesday, December 25, 2019 Permalink

JP Pomare’s Call Me Evie, released in 2018, was set in New Zealand (and Australia) and centred around a young woman with quite a complex ‘before’ and ‘after’ story to share. It didn’t flow quite as seamlessly as I would have liked, but I certainly didn’t find it predictable.

Pomare’s followed his popular debut with another kinda creepy and suspenseful tale that’s more polished and the ‘unknown’ more deftly handled than his debut. There is however a similar theme around identity; and its fragility when our spirit or psyche is threatened.

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four-stars

What I’m watching – December 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019 Permalink

I’ve cut back on my reading over the last couple of years. Initially it was because of work commitments, but almost a year of unemployment has meant this hasn’t been an issue.

So though I’ve continued to read and review I’ve spent evenings in front of the television rather than in the bath with a book. I loved both television and books when younger and it seems little has changed.

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Book review: How to Play Dead by Jacqueline Ward

Thursday, December 19, 2019 Permalink

I read and enjoyed Jacqueline Ward’s The Perfect Ten last year. It was Ward’s debut novel and I notice, in my review, I talk about my enthusiasm to read whatever she would next publish.

Thankfully I’ve now had the opportunity to do that and both books are similarly themed – domestic noir. Men behaving badly, though (at the same time) not bastardising all men; and a reminder of the strength women can find when needed.

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three-half-stars

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