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Reviews Published

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? 

Blurb:

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?



Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Accomplice (Eddie Flynn #7)

If you're not reading Steve Cavanagh yet, you should. Over the last seven books of this series, he has created an awesome protagonist in the ex-conman now-lawyer Eddie Flynn. The supporting characters in Eddie's corner (Harry, Block, Kate) are three-dimensional, unique and lovable. 

Skilful tight writing, skilful tight plotting, and a pace that will keep you awake until you've read the last word.

If I were grading this, I'd give it an A+.



Blurb

THE MOST HATED WOMAN IN AMERICA

The Sandman killings have been solved. Daniel Miller murdered fourteen people before he vanished. His wife, Carrie, now faces trial as his accomplice. The FBI, the District Attorney, the media and everyone in America believe she knew and helped cover up her husband's crimes.

THE LAWYER

Eddie Flynn won't take a case unless his client is innocent. Now, he has to prove to a jury, and the entire world, that Carrie Miller was just another victim of the Sandman. She didn't know her husband's dark side and she had no part in the murders. But so far, Eddie and his team are the only ones who believe her.

THE FORMER FBI AGENT

Gabriel Lake used to be a federal agent, before someone tried to kill him. Now, he's an investigator with a vendetta against the Sandman. He's the only one who can catch him, because he believes that everything the FBI knows about serial killers is wrong.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six - Lisa Unger

Lisa Unger is fast becoming one of my favourite thriller authors. This book is a worthy addition to the domestic thriller genre, with the theme of dysfunctional families at the forefront of the plot. The main characters are lovable in their imperfection, and you truly understand the difficult choices they had to make in the past.

Blurb:

Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

What could be more restful than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah's generous brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It'll be three couples on this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare.

A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep.

How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?



On the Curry Trail by Raghavan Iyer

Love, love, love this book. It has everything: unique yet simple recipes, handy tips, the history behind culinary trends, amazing photos that make you hungry. It's also an armchair travel book, with recipes from France as well as Fiji.

I valued that lesser-known curry cuisines like Nonya (Chinese Malay) and South African (Cape Malay) were also represented. I highly recommend serving Bunny Chow (officially and descriptively titled Lamb Potato Stew in Bread Bowls) to your as a simple yet unusual dish.

I learnt that British Vindaloo is a Goan adaptation of a Portuguese dish, and that chicken tikka in tomato soup became chicken tikka masala. 

This cookbook is a must-have for all curry lovers out there.



Wednesday, November 09, 2022

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

This was my first Ruth Ware thriller but it won't be the last. Good prose, engaging plot, 3D characters. 

Blurb:

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide… including a murder.




No Plan B

 Jack Reacher. Men want to be him, and women want to be with him.

I've lost count of how many times I've started a book review with the words, "A vintage Jack Reacher thriller". No Plan B adheres to the patters. The writer may have changed, but the winning formula hasn't: there's action, there's humour, and the good guys win at the end.

Here's the blurb for those who need it before opening the book simply because it's a Reacher:

In Gerrardsville, Colorado, a woman dies under the wheels of a moving bus. The death is ruled a suicide. But Jack Reacher saw what really happened: A man in a gray hoodie and jeans, moving stealthily, pushed the victim to her demise—before swiftly grabbing the dead woman’s purse and strolling away.

When another homicide is ruled an accident, Reacher knows this is no coincidence. With a killer on the loose, Reacher has no time to waste to track down those responsible. 

But Reacher is unaware that these crimes are part of something much larger and more far-reaching: an arsonist out for revenge, a foster kid on the run, a cabal of powerful people involved in a secret conspiracy with many moving parts. There is no room for error, but they make a grave one. They don’t consider Reacher a threat. 
“There’s too much at stake to start running from shadows.” But Reacher isn’t a shadow. He is flesh and blood. And relentless when it comes to making things right.

For when the threat is Reacher, there is 
No Plan B.



Saturday, October 29, 2022

Wrong Place Wrong Time

Very clever, with an emotional ending.



Blurb:

It's every parent's nightmare. Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime- murdering a complete stranger. You don't know who. You don't know why. You only know your teenage boy is in custody and his future lost. That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake . . . . . . and it is yesterday. Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don't have a choice but to find them . . .