Book review: Deception Creek by Fleur McDonald

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 Permalink

Every time I review one of Fleur McDonald’s Detective Dave Burrows books I feel compelled to mention there are TWO series featuring Burrows. A contemporary series in which he appears but the lead character is often loosely linked to one from the previous book in the series. And then there’s the young Dave Burrows series, set a decade or two earlier, when he first becomes a police officer.

I also always comment on the authenticity McDonald’s own background as a farmer lends to her work. Not only does she effortlessly drop in details about farming life (stuff about cattle or crops and prices or new technology) but many of her characters promote the role of women in agriculture and which the author herself does as well.

four-stars

Life lately – October 2021

Monday, November 1, 2021 Permalink

It may surprise you to know that even sometimes I eyeroll over my navel-gazing posts. I’ve got several started. One about how I wish I could erase my memory so I’m less prone to compare myself in the present to the past. And yes I know, we’re supposed to become ‘better’ people as we age, although I think I’ve failed big-time there.

There’s another about scarcity and enoughness. Sigh. Another about my internal voice, complementing last week’s post, about the fact I hear everything I think. (And again others are the complete opposite.) And then there’s one about the way we consume stuff and the fact I’ve not ‘pivoted’ (#sorrynotsorry) to podcasts, Facebook / Instagram live, online launch events when others have embraced them.

Yeah… nah. Can’t be arsed pursuing any of those thoughts but wanted to write something so here you have it.

Book review: The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

Saturday, October 30, 2021 Permalink

The Last Woman in the World is the third book I’ve read by Inga Simpson. I saw her speak at a bookshop locally around the time of her 2014 release Nest. I commented in that review about how inspiring I found her in person (and appreciated her blunt honesty about the challenges of becoming a published author), how much I loved her writing and her ability to instil in readers a sense of place.

I confess in my review of Where the Trees Were (2016) that I’m actually not a lover of nature. Of flora and fauna. And I’ve admitted on many occasions that I’m not a visual reader so not able to picture what I’m reading.

four-stars

Book review: Mercy by David Baldacci

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 Permalink

One of the first things you’ll be told as a budding writer is to ‘show’ not ‘tell’. Because apparently audiences (ie. readers) find it boring (or at least less engaging) and feel patronised. At least that’s why I’ve always assumed you don’t provide laborious detail in your prose.

David Baldacci very much breaks that rule in the beginning of his latest novel, Mercy, providing backstory on FBI Agent Atlee Pine and her sister, kidnapped three decades earlier. And I for one appreciated it because, even though I’ve read the entire series AND re-read my review of Mercy’s predecessor, Daylight, I was a bit murky on the details. So Baldacci’s summary – succinct yet informative – hit the spot.

four-stars

Book review: Wild Place by Christian White

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 Permalink

I saw Christian White speak at the Sydney BAD Crime Writers Festival in late 2019 after his debut book, The Nowhere Child was well received by critics and readers alike (not that I’m implying there’s no overlap between the two!). After hearing him talk about the appearance of snakes in the book I gave it a miss (as I’m quite phobic) but very much enjoyed his twisty second book, The Wife and the Widow.

It was only when I started reading promotional material for his latest release, Wild Place, that I discovered White also created the Netflix TV series Clickbait.

four-stars

Reading not listening

Monday, October 25, 2021 Permalink

I’ve talked before about the fact I’m not very visual. Thanks to author Emma Visckic I recently discovered this is called aphantasia, which means we don’t ‘see’ what’s referenced when we hear things. So – when I read – I never picture scenes and never ever visualise characters. In fact I’m often disappointed when a character is described as I can’t quite grasp the concept that I should be able to see them.

I assumed this was because I’m an auditory thinker; because I ‘hear’ the words rather than picture what they represent. However….

Book review: The Hush by Sara Foster

Saturday, October 23, 2021 Permalink

Some of the promotional material for The Hush by Sara Foster describe it as a ‘near-future thriller’ which I must say, is incredibly apt.

And… wow, just wow. Foster has managed to reflect many of the issues of increasing concern in society today, in a way that seems both fantastically impossible and completely comprehensible at the same time.

It’s an extremely clever book, with an inspired premise, though we’re seeing more and more books with George Orwellian-type themes, such as Kate Mildenhall’s The Mother Fault. Foster’s confronting narrative is further strengthened by fabulous characters who felt very real, complex and engaging.

four-half-stars

On not losing weight

Thursday, October 21, 2021 Permalink

TW: Weightloss, dieting, self-loathing

I’ve been trying to be healthy. I’d slowly gained some weight after my weightloss surgery in mid 2016. I knew why. I was home all day. Feeling bored and despondent about my lack of employment (and increasing weight). Which led to comfort eating and more despondency about my weight and apathy towards life and my health. My weightloss surgery meant I couldn’t eat massive amounts. Just regularly and badly.