Book review: Foul Play by Fiona McIntosh

Sunday, January 14, 2024 Permalink

It has to be said that soccer (aka football) fans are gonna love Foul Play by Fiona McIntosh. I’m very much enjoying this series headed up by the charismatic Jack Hawksworth, appreciating that, even though it’s set in England, McIntosh imbues Aussie flavour into each book in the series. Here via an Aussie-raised soccer player doing great things in his fictional UK club, supported by the club’s Australian (mining magnate) owner.

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Book review: Alibi by Lynda LaPlante

Sunday, January 7, 2024 Permalink

Alibi by Lynda LaPlante was originally published in 1998 as Trial & Retribution II and I initially wondered if it’d been revised as there’s mention of someone using a mobile phone. I dug into the recesses of my mind to recall if mobile phones were around back then and think they were…. but only just. And given there’s hefty use of home answering machines I decided it is safe to say it hasn’t been updated but remains firmly set in the late 1990s.

It’s listed as the second in the Trial and Retribution series which was inspired by the TV show of the same name and a reminder what a force LaPlante was in TV-land back then and how ground-breaking her work was!

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Book review: The Professor by Lauren Nossett

Thursday, January 4, 2024 Permalink

The Professor by Lauren Nossett is the second book I’ve read by the former professor. In my review of The Resemblance I talked about it being obvious that she was ‘writing what she knew’ which is an old adage for authors. It too was set at a university and meant that readers were privy to the innermost workings of life-on-campus (and behind closed professorial doors).

This started a little slowly for me. Dragging to the point I was tempted to put it down just after starting, which would draw its reading out and I’d feel less inclined to get back to it, ultimately resulting in a reading slump. However… the action picks up significantly about two-thirds of the way through and Nossett throws in some twists so the novel finishes on a high.

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2023 in review – the year I lost my voice

Monday, January 1, 2024 Permalink

Regular readers – if I still have any – may have noticed that until yesterday’s post about my back injury, I’d not written a non-bookish post since July this year when I travelled to England.

I think there are several reasons for that – part of that trip not being what I expected, work being busy and wonderful, work being busy and revolting and then the back injury… but I think I’ve perhaps lost my voice.

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Brokeback Deborah

Sunday, December 31, 2023 Permalink

Eight weeks ago I fell over. It sounds so banal it screws with my head a little. But in all honesty it’s impacted on me a lot. More, in fact, than the couple of surgeries I had for my atrial fibrillation three years ago (not to mention the fact it took them six attempts with the defibrillators to bring me back).

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Book review: The Broken Wave by Matthew Ryan Davies

Tuesday, December 26, 2023 Permalink

I had an early copy of The Broken Wave by Matthew Ryan Davies and the book’s pages all curled up*, making it a tad hard to manoeuvre but it was a perfect introspective read to occupy me for a few hours on Christmas afternoon – whipping through it in one sitting.

Andrew (Drew) and Tom meet only briefly as kids but bond in the way kids can but adults struggle to. Drew in particular seems to have shut himself off, living a very isolated life–as a kid with his books and words; and as an adult as a writer (in his case, a very solitary profession). His wife Claire, a social worker, has broken through his defences, but we learn the only other person with whom he’s connected in the same way, was Tom.

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Book review: The Search Party by Hannah Richell

Friday, December 22, 2023 Permalink

The Search Party is the first book I’ve read by Hannah Richell and I enjoyed it though was slightly worried to see a list of characters’ names before the intro. I often struggle if I have to keep flicking back to remind myself who’s who. Though here we’re predominantly in the heads of four couples so don’t have to worry quite as much about the eight children.

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My favourite books of 2023

Sunday, December 17, 2023 Permalink

It’s that time of the year again… you know, the time when we ponder the year that was and wonder WTF we did with our time and energy when we have so little to show for it. Or maybe that’s just me.

It’s also time to wrap up my reading year. According to Goodreads I’ve just read my 100th book for the year. Significantly down from the 140-150 I used to read just a few years ago. I’ve had quite a bit of work travel this year, but the job I’m in (and I’ve just passed my one-year anniversary) is fairly full-on and I just don’t have the headspace to write reviews during the working week, which means I also read less.

As for my favourite books of 2023, I’ve again relied on Goodreads (which doesn’t allow half-stars), and apparently I gave five books 5-stars. Which is quite generous as I dole out stars like they’re my own personal treasure.

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Book review: The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson

Wednesday, December 13, 2023 Permalink

The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson is a cleverly delivered story of events taking place 30 years ‘earlier’ and their repercussions. It opens in the present with a woman – alone on Christmas day – pottering around her house going through old boxes, when she comes across an old diary. She flicks through to a section she knows well wondering (though) if she’s prepared to go back and revisit that ‘murderous year’.

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