Book review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Friday, May 21, 2021 Permalink

Thankfully I’d read a number of reviews of The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward before I started reading it. It’s clever and well-written and some of the prose is quite magical. But I would have put it down just a few chapters in had I not known that it was worth ‘hanging in’ for.

In all honesty this book is a bit of a mind-f*ck. We know from the beginning that all is not as it seems. Our lead character Ted has (ahem) issues. Another narrator is a cat. Perhaps. It features much f*cked-upedness. But – once you get past the first few chapters it’s oddly compelling.

four-stars

Shoes inside, pockets and soup: some controversial thoughts

Monday, May 17, 2021 Permalink

I know I’m prone to overthinking and pondering things that really require no deliberation. Perhaps it’s a consequence of living alone my entire adult life. Until social media presented itself I had no outlet for my thoughts or commentaries. In the absence of someone next to me to whom I can make witty observations or share snarky repartee I either post it on Twitter or Facebook, or allow the thought to marinate endlessly in my mind.

So, today I bring you some controversial thoughts that have been bubbling around my head of late. And yes, I know with the current Middle East crisis and bloody Covid there are more important matters needing attention. However…

Book review: The Girl Remains by Katherine Firkin

Saturday, May 15, 2021 Permalink

Australian author Katherine Firkin introduced readers to Detective Emmett Corban in Sticks and Stones. At the time I expected it would become part of a series and – as always – I was right. (Why doth thou doubt me?! Or something.) It doesn’t matter if you missed the first book however as, though I re-read my old review for context, only a few characters are featured here and there’s no background required.

I really liked our lead, Emmett in the first novel, here however it was the plot that interested me the most – particularly the events of twenty years earlier which set up an intriguing cold case mystery.

three-half-stars

Book review: Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

Thursday, May 13, 2021 Permalink

I apologise in advance for the superlatives but I do not know how else to adequately describe how much I loved this book. I’d requested it as it sounded interesting but had I been aware of the astounding beauty of Jacqueline Bublitz’s writing, and how compassionately and poignantly she unfurls Alice’s story I would have devoured it the moment it arrived.

I mentioned recently that books with dead narrators have become a little pass√© since Alice Sebold’s Lovely Bones was published in 2002. We’re no longer shocked or horrified or even that uncomfortable to be in the head of the recently deceased. Here however Bublitz manages to bring something new via the voice of a teenage girl we meet and then lose far too early. She allows us to spend time with Alice before ripping her out of her world – and though we’re left with the sense of anger, frustration and sadness that everything has been taken from her as she’s on the cusp of happiness – we’re also comforted by her continued presence.

five-stars

Book review: The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain

Monday, May 10, 2021 Permalink

The most intriguing thing about this book is that it opens with the death of Erin’s husband. (And I hadn’t read the blurb so that came as a surprise to me but it IS in the blurb so this isn’t a spoiler.) And then we leap forward in time and she’s on trial for murdering her husband months AFTER he (very obviously) suicided.

The options are obvious aren’t they? He faked his death for some reason… and we’re given plenty. Or Erin moves on and married someone else quickly in the interim. Jo Spain sets The Perfect Lie up really well so I didn’t expect the direction this book took. I mean, I’d considered the baddie could be the baddie but discounted it because, well… Spain convinced me otherwise.

four-stars

Habit stacking – a way to adopt new habits

Monday, May 10, 2021 Permalink

I signed up for the Australian Writers Centre May Mojo Month. Ironically it’s all about reigniting our creative juices and getting our mojo back and yet I ended the first week with only five of the nine days of activities done. Mojo schmojo apparently.

It’s day ten and I’m now catching up on what I’ve missed. I blame a uni assignment, a few hours of paid work, some book reviews and much procrastination. Anyhoo…

I actually paused on day three first time around* because I really liked a point made about creating habits and I needed to ponder it more. Regular readers may realise I believe stuff will only be absorbed into my psyche if I overthink about it. A lot.

Book review: How to Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns

Sunday, May 9, 2021 Permalink

There’s often a bit of a discussion online in relation to the use of ‘women’s fiction’ to group books that mostly target female readers. I’ve got a long-buried post about the weirdness of it, given that we don’t say ‘men’s fiction’. And quite frankly I’d be insulted if many of my favourite crime fiction novels or thrillers were labelled thus. In some ways I’m torn about the issue*. I know some male readers and reviewers who do read books predominantly about women and women’s issues but at the same time recognise books like How to Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns predominantly target female readers.

And here Johns offers us two leads for the price of one, with her latest novel centred equally around a mother and daughter at very different stages of their lives. She also introduces an older woman, who I very much enjoyed meeting.

four-stars

Book review: Girl, 11 by Amy Suiter Clarke

Saturday, May 8, 2021 Permalink

Amy Suiter Clarke, author of Girl, 11 was born in America, studied in England but now lives in Melbourne. And everyone knows how much we Aussies like to adopt people born elsewhere as our own.

Suiter Clarke’s debut novel centres around the popular world of true crime podcasting.¬† And like others who have offered similar books Suiter Clarke manages to balance past crimes – revealed via podcast interviews and research – with the events of the present. Indeed here it’s done particularly well as there’s a lag in revealing the podcast episodes that have aired when we first meet our characters. They’re referenced so there’s some foreshadowing of what’s to come but it’s timed perfectly to offer readers only a little insight into the fate that’s about to befall our characters.

three-half-stars