Book review: The Whispering by Veronica Lando

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Permalink

The Whispering by Veronica Lando centres around a myth – ‘the whispering’ apparently luring children to their death off the boulders in Granite Creek’s rainforest in Far North Queensland.

I was slightly worried there’d be a supernatural theme to this book as it’s not a genre I enjoy, but – though there’s reference to ‘whispering’ – Queensland author Lando sets the events of this book (past and present) firmly in this earthly realm.

four-stars

Halfway happy – breeze blocks and bathrooms

Tuesday, July 5, 2022 Permalink

Facebook reminded me this morning that – on this day last year – I wrote an almost upbeat post after what felt like months (years) of wallowing.

I’ve been thinking lately about the small things that make me happy – getting my house cleaned last week (ie. having a clean house), having my lawn freshly-mown, relief I work-from-home and don’t need to travel to work in this constant rain. Not to mention the relief (that) I have a job.

Today I decided I’m ‘halfway happy’ and have been pondering whether they outweigh the negative stuff. For me at the moment it’s guilt over my lack of exercise, unhealthy dietary habits, general malaise when I should just be doing ‘more’.

Book review: The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

Sunday, July 3, 2022 Permalink

I hadn’t realised new release The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell was a sequel to the popular The Family Upstairs, published in 2019.

I’ve not read all of Jewell’s books but had read that one and one of our narrators was offering a bit of a recap and I thought, “That sounds familiar…” before going onto Goodreads to discover this was – in fact – a follow-up. I think – in all honesty – it works better having read the original. I didn’t remember the details but (reading my old review and some others on Goodreads) helped remind me of the backstory.

three-half-stars

Book review: Stone Town by Margaret Hickey

Saturday, July 2, 2022 Permalink

Stone Town by Margaret Hickey is the second in the series featuring small town cop Mark Ariti. I re-read my review of Hickey’s debut novel, Cutters End, before starting the novel but it really wouldn’t matter if you hadn’t read the first in the series. In fact, this works quite well as a standalone if you were to come in fresh. References to Mark’s former wife and old colleagues are easily shared and understood.

I actually liked this more than Cutters End. I think it’s a stronger ‘mystery’ – less convoluted but still complex if that makes sense. Again Hickey cleverly employs snippets of plot elements – two cases blending into one, but in a feasible and not – ultimately – overly coincidental  way.

four-stars

Book review: One Last Secret by Adele Parks

Sunday, June 26, 2022 Permalink

Most of One Last Secret by Adele Parks unfolds in second person… our narrator Dora talking to us. The readers. Occasionally Parks slips out of the ‘explanatory’ style of prose she kicks off with, into more first person musings, but as a fan of second person narration I liked the intimacy it offers. It’s particularly important here as Dora is an escort and conscious ‘we’ may judge her for that. She doesn’t apologise or even explain her choice of career, rather asks that we accept that without judgement or pity. And it’s easy to do as Dora is likeable and goes about her business as just that… her business. Her job.

three-half-stars

Book review: An A-List for Death by Pamela Hart

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 Permalink

An A-List for Death is the first book I’ve read by Pamela Hart who’s perhaps best know for her historical fiction. I hadn’t realised it was part of a series but it’s only the second so there’s certainly time to catch up. (Without suffering too much from the ‘sequel’ blues I’ve talked about before – coming into a series part-way through and being completely lost with insufficient context or given too much backstory, rendering all previous books redundant cos of spoilers!)

It features Poppy McGowan who’s a researcher with an ABC Children’s Television show and that alone was enough to convince me that this is someone I wanted to know. It just seemed like a very specific job for a amateur sleuth… when we’re used to retired cops, PIs, lawyers, journalists or village spinsters.

four-stars

Life lessons from the not-that-wild West

Monday, June 20, 2022 Permalink

I’ve recently spent almost three weeks on the other side of the country. Literally about as far as I could go from my Queensland coastline… traversing central and western Australia to the West Kimberley. It was a work trip of course. Someone was on leave and I’d been asked to help out in their absence.

I knew it was going to be a challenging time. The office was due to move and one of our projects was being transitioned to another organisation. Unfortunately it was even more tumultuous as the much-awaited move to nicer surroundings was cancelled. So… there were quite a few disappointments to manage while I was there. And a lot of (understandable) frustration.

The time away did however step me outside of my comfort zone a little and give me some time to reflect.

Book review: Black River by Matthew Spencer

Friday, June 17, 2022 Permalink

Black River by Matthew Spencer opens with a murderous bang. Is it just me or is it kinda confronting when we’re introduced to a character on commencement of a book only to have them killed a la Drew Barrymore, Scream-like, upon meeting them? Although Spencer doesn’t have us ‘bond’ with the victim, it reminded me of Linwood Barclay’s Take Your Breath Away which I read earlier this year and opened by putting readers in the point-of-view of someone who was almost immediately killed. Which helped me deduce that THEY were not, in fact, going to be the lead protagonist. 💡

four-stars