Reviews Published

Friday, March 24, 2023

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

"Mad Honey" by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan is the best thing I read in the first quarter of 2023. It's the type of book that you read fast but reflect on slowly. It's the type of book you want to start again as soon as you turn the last page.

In equal measures a domestic suspense novel and high concept women's fiction, it's a winner in every category.


Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising their beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined that she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can trust him completely. . . .

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in Ash, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

I will find you by Harlan Coben

"I will find you", a domestic thriller by Harlan Coben, has it all: the characters, the plot, the pace, the heart. If it's your first Coben, it won't be the last. If you're a fan, you'll love the familiar author's voice spinning a totally brand-new story.

@Harlan, you've delivered again. Thank you for the amazing read.


David Burroughs was once a devoted father to his three-year-old son Matthew, living a dream life just a short drive away from the working-class suburb where he and his wife, Cheryl, first fell in love—until one fateful night when David woke suddenly to discover Matthew had been murdered while David was asleep just down the hall.

Half a decade later, David’s been wrongly accused and convicted of the murder, left to serve out his time in a maximum-security prison—a fate which, grieving and wracked with guilt, David didn’t have the will to fight. The world has moved on without him. Then Cheryl’s younger sister, Rachel, makes a surprise appearance during visiting hours bearing a strange photograph. It’s a vacation shot of a bustling amusement park a friend shared with her, and in the background, just barely in frame, is a boy bearing an eerie resemblance to David’s son. Even though it can’t be, David just knows: Matthew is still alive.

David plans a harrowing escape, determined to achieve the impossible–save his son, clear his own name, and discover the real story of what happened. But with his life on the line and the FBI following his every move, can David evade capture long enough to reveal the shocking truth?

Thursday, March 23, 2023

This is how I lied

"This is how I lied" by Heather Gudenkauf is a page-turner. Beautiful prose, complex characters, twisty plot. Or is it complext plot and twisty characters? You be the judge. 

Definitely a must-read.


Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Exiles by Jane Harper

Exiles is the third in the Aaron Falk series, and the fifth Jane Harper thriller. In a word: brilliant.

If you need a few more words, glad to oblige. Jane's writing voice is both lyrically poetic (what I call "beautiful words") and able to carry the narrative forward. The plot is fricking AWESOME, and I loved the twists and turns of the story. Rich in characterisation and imagery, Exiles (just like all the others) is the kind of book that transports you to a different reality. As you read the book, you want to visit Australia's wine country, take part in the festival, experience the slower way of life in a small town. That very slower way of life is fittingly mirrored in the book's slower pace, more murder mystery than thriller - and it's a good thing.


At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds.

A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family.

Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems.

Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Travel by Bullet (The Dispatcher, #3) by John Scalzi

For various reasons, I started the Dispatcher series with book number 3, but "Travel by Bullet" works well as a stand-alone SF thriller. It's a typical Scalzi, with a fast-moving plot, brilliant dialogue and likeable characters. For fans and newbies alike.


The world has changed. Now, when someone is murdered, they almost always come back to life—and there are professionals, called "dispatchers," who kill in order to save lives, to give those near the end a second chance. Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, and he has never been busier.

But for as much as the world has changed, some things have stayed the same. Greed, corruption and avarice are still in full swing. When Tony is called to a Chicago emergency room by an old friend and fellow dispatcher, he is suddenly and unwillingly thrown into a whirlpool of schemes and plots involving billions of dollars, with vast caches of wealth ranging from real estate to cryptocurrency up for grabs.

All Tony wants to do is keep his friend safe. But it’s hard to do when friends keep secrets, enemies offer seductive deals, and nothing is ever what it seems. The world has changed... but the stakes are still life and death.

My Darling Daughter by J.P. Delaney

 Great author. Great read.


The child you never knew knows all your secrets . . .

Out of the blue, Susie Jones is contacted on social media by Anna, the girl she gave up for adoption fifteen years ago.

But when they meet, Anna's home life sounds distinctly strange to Susie and her husband Gabe. And when Anna's adoptive parents seem to overreact to the fact she contacted them at all, Susie becomes convinced that Anna needs her help.

But is Anna's own behaviour simply what you'd expect from someone recovering from a traumatic childhood? Or are there other secrets at play here - secrets Susie has also been hiding for the last fifteen years?

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Grace under Pressure

Tori Haschka has done the impossible: she's created a book that's a lightweight Liane Moriarty. We have complex and quirky characters, without the murder mystery. Excellent observations of what it's like to be a mother of a young family wrapped in recipes and sprinkled with am-I-mothering-right guilt. Loved it. Hashtag: where can I sign up for a mummune? 


Grace Harkness looks like she has it all – two beautiful children, four cookbooks under her belt and an idyllic beachside home #blessed. But add another baby on the way (oops), a spouse that is nowhere to be seen and a relentless list of things she ‘should’ be doing, and Grace is starting to unravel.

When the madness of modern-day motherhood finally pushes her to the brink, Grace and her friends decide to ditch the men in their lives, move in together and create a ‘mummune’ – sharing the load of chores, school pick-ups/drop-offs and endless Life Admin. The new set-up seems like a dream, but is life in this utopian village all it’s cracked up to be?