Book Review: Sensual Whispers by Michelle Anne Noonan


I haven’t reviewed many poetry collections, mostly because I find it’s a difficult medium to strip down to its basic components. It’s almost never about fully developed characters or intricate plots (which are what I am usually looking for in writing) and compositions that would be ridiculous in a novel somehow work beautifully in a poem. And, yes, I struggled with trying to coalesce the mixture of feelings I had about this work, too. But here goes.

Sensual Whispers is a short collection of deeply intimate poetry. It seems to emerge from a genuinely felt place of love and lust and loss and what the belief in and commitment to these things engenders deep inside the person narrating. Rather than separate pieces on divergent topics, it tries to tell a story. One poem feeds into the next, showing us the ups and downs, the highs and lows of an intense relationship. Continue reading

Book Review: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica


I’ve had several people tell me that I would like Mary Kubica books and on the surface, since they are ostensibly suspenseful thrillers, that would seem to be the case. But this one just did not speak to me. It was a very slow burn and the thing that can make a slow burn okay, a beautiful twist that you never saw coming, never eventuated. Continue reading

How to Write a Novel in Three Months


I won’t be offended if nobody has noticed but maybe some of you have: my blog has been awfully quiet for the last three months. I didn’t plan it. It just sort of happened. Because I started writing a new novel. And I just never stopped. At least, not until last week when I finished the first draft. Yes, I wrote an entire 100,000-plus word novel in just under three months. Continue reading

Book Review: Hideout by Jack Heath


Spoiler alert number one! Timothy Blake is a cannibal. This is the third book in the series after Hangman and Hunter so if you didn’t know about Blake’s icky predilection already, you haven’t read the first two and this isn’t the book to start with. It’s best to read them in order because you get to experience the shock of discovering his penchant for eating human flesh and then decide if you can stomach reading about it for an entire series.

Spoiler alert number two! Timothy Blake doesn’t eat a single person in Hideout. And considering he’s hiding out in a remote farmhouse with a group of people who run a torture porn and snuff film website – so he’s got lots of worthy scumbags to choose from – it ends up being kind of a disappointment. Continue reading

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn


According to TS Eliot, good writers borrow and great writers steal. Here is the book that proves it isn’t true. The Woman in the Window has literally cherry-picked plot points from so many well-known books and movies that it’s hard to find a single moment of originality within its pages. While it certainly makes for a readable (and very familiar) book, it’s hardly the formula for a remarkable novel. Continue reading

Book Review: Bruny by Heather Rose


Bruny is a very long love letter to Tasmania and Tasmanians, the kind of book most mid-career writers think about writing, an indulgence of a personal passion. It’s just a shame that Heather Rose forgot there needed to be a compelling story to entice in those not already enamoured with her home state in the same way she is. So what should have been a beautiful but subtle persuasion ends up being more like a hectoring lecture. Continue reading

Book Review: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen


As soon as I finished reading this book, I thought it would make a great movie and then I read the acknowledgements to find out Greer and Sarah’s first two books are already in the process of being made into films. These writers are really on a roll.

Shay Miller is an unremarkable woman. She lives in New York and has been temping since she lost her data analysis job as part of a downsizing. She likes her roommate but she’s less fond of his girlfriend so she heads out early on a Sunday morning to spend some time alone. Down in the subway, she just misses a train and is forced to wait on the platform for the next one with a dodgy guy and a woman in a pretty sundress. She moves in the direction of the woman, hoping for safety in numbers. But just as the next train is arriving, the woman turns to look at her, then throws herself in front of it. Continue reading

Book Review: The Book of Names by Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori


I really had to push myself hard to get through this book and when I finally finished, I said, “What a waste of my book reading time!” Yeah, this isn’t going to be a glowing review.

David Shepherd is a politics professor at Georgetown University and a divorced secular Jew. A childhood accident left him with a peculiar side effect: random names pop into his head, accompanied by blinding headaches. He has written them all down but hasn’t given much thought to why it happens or what it means. Continue reading

Book Review: The Girl Before by JP Delaney


Unreliable narrator warning! If you hate being lied to in your literature, do not read this book! Especially since it’s possible not a single character can be trusted.

Emma is the recent victim of a violent break-in who no longer feels safe in her apartment, so she and her boyfriend Simon are looking for somewhere new to live. After turning down everything within their budget, they are shown one last option: the minimalist, open plan apartment at One Folgate Street where everything is controlled by technology – security, lighting, water, heat, everything. There are no keys or taps or light switches; the house is “aware” and an app on a phone and a program on a laptop are how everything is accessed. Simon isn’t keen but Emma feels safe in the fortress-like environment. Continue reading

Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before


This is another one of those books that I only picked up because everybody else has read or is reading it. It’s nice to be able to report that quite a good proportion of the hype is justified. It’s certainly easy to see why Netflix were falling all over themselves to turn it into a movie.

Lara Jean Song Covey is the middle sister of three Korean-American girls. Her father is an OB/GYN and her mother died quite a few years ago so they’ve got their routine down pretty good now. Margot, the eldest, is the organisational expert, Lara Jean is her somewhat competent assistant and Kitty, the youngest, isn’t expected to do much yet. But that’s about to change because Margot is going away to college in Scotland.

But before Margot leaves, she breaks up with Josh, her boyfriend of two years who also happens to be the boy next door, because of something her mother said many years ago: never go to college with a long distance boyfriend because you’ll miss out on too many experiences. Which is all well and good for Margot. But Lara Jean is left behind with a heartbroken neighbour who is also one of her best friends. And if she’s honest, she’s always had a little bit of a crush on Josh herself. Continue reading