NetGalley

Reviews Published

Friday, June 10, 2022

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot - by Marianne Cronin

This is a story about celebrating life!

When Lenni meets Margot at the hospital where they’re both terminal patients, they discover that their combined ages equal one-hundred-years. They decide to celebrate by painting a picture for each year they have lived.

A difficult topic handled with depth, gentle humour and lot of heart. A touching, uplifting read. 




Wednesday, May 18, 2022

WAKE by Sheryll Burr

WAKE does not mean "awake". It's an acronym from an online true crimes forum. The true crime? The disappearance of a ten-year old girl, the "prettier" of the McCreery twin sisters. 

This is an atmospheric Aussie Noir, full of characters you can't help loving as you follow them through the twists and turns of their story. I can't wait to read more of this author's work. If you enjoy Jane Harper's books, this one's for you!



Confessions on the 7:45

Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger is probably one of her best thrillers to date. The blurb (see below) doesn't do it justice, for the book is much more than a domestic suspense thriller. It digs deep into issues of marriage philosophy, family ties, psychology, forgiveness, and loyalty.

The writing is masterful, the plot full of believable characters and delicious twists.

My favourite quote: "It's Martha, by the way. From the train."

Blurb:

Selena Murphy is commuting home on the train when she strikes up a conversation with a beautiful stranger in the next seat. The woman introduces herself as Martha and soon confesses that she’s been stuck in an affair with her boss....




Monday, April 18, 2022

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

My John Scalzi binge continues with his latest (post-Covid) stand-alone adventure, The Kaiju Preservation Society. As the author himself says, it's light and humorous and fun. Love his voice and ideas.


Blurb

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls "an animal rights organization." Tom's team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They're the universe's largest and most dangerous panda and they're in trouble.

It's not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that's found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too--and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

The Lock In trilogy by John Scalzi

The Lock In trilogy by John Scalzi was written pre-Covid, however, its premise is a global pandemic. Some die, some recover, some get locked inside their bodies - paralysed but with their brains fully functioning. Scientists managed to connect the active brains to C-3PO-like robots, and the rest is this trilogy featuring a locked-in FBI agent Chris Shane, an ex-poster child for the disease survivors.




The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

The first few pages are slow but don't give up because the journey is worth it. The characters are awesome, the plot intricate, the sense of place enriching. I hope this is the beginning of a long series! Long live DC Morgan! 



Blurb

On New Year's Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.

His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he's generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.

But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake...

Monday, April 04, 2022

Redshirts by John Scalzi

So now that I've run of Andy Weir books and short fiction, it was time to find a new science fiction author to be obsessed with. Success! Now I want to read every single Scalzi book there is.

On the surface, "Redshirts" is a satire of the "cowboys in space" genre. Dig deeper and it's about a writer's responsibility to create good fiction. What it's actually about? Nor wasting your life. Super fun. Super deep. Original format.




Blurb

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that:

(1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces

(2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations

(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

The Egg by Andy Weir

 (Right, so you may have noticed I'm on an Andy Weir binge.)

"The egg" is the shortest science fiction story I've ever read. It's probably also one of the deepest.



Blurb

A short story about the universe and your place in it.

Randomize by Andy Weird

This is a short science fiction story. A good one. A real mathematician would tell you that's not really how randomisation works. Just as well I'm not a real mathematician. 



Blurb

In the near future, if Vegas games are ingeniously scam-proof, then the heists have to be too, in this imaginative and whip-smart story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Martian. An IT whiz at the Babylon Casino is enlisted to upgrade security for the game of keno and its random-number generator. The new quantum computer system is foolproof. But someone on the inside is no fool. For once the odds may not favor the house—unless human ingenuity isn’t entirely a thing of the past.

Artemis by Andy Weir

A fun adventure, not as deep as "Project Hail Mary", but a real pleasure to read. Love the diversity as well as the personality of the characters.



Blurb

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.


Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

One, two, three by Laurie Frankel

 An amazing book. That's really all you need to know.

Okay, some keywords to hook you: teenage triplets, deadly chemicals, uplifting.


Blurb:

In a town where nothing ever changes, suddenly everything does...

Everyone knows everyone in the tiny town of Bourne, but the Mitchell triplets are especially beloved. Mirabel is the smartest person anyone knows, and no one doubts it just because she can't speak. Monday is the town's purveyor of books now that the library's closed--tell her the book you think you want, and she'll pull the one you actually do from the microwave or her sock drawer. Mab's job is hardest of all: get good grades, get into college, get out of Bourne.

For a few weeks seventeen years ago, Bourne was national news when its water turned green. The girls have come of age watching their mother's endless fight for justice. But just when it seems life might go on the same forever, the first moving truck anyone's seen in years pulls up and unloads new residents and old secrets. Soon, the Mitchell sisters are taking on a system stacked against them and uncovering mysteries buried longer than they've been alive. Because it's hard to let go of the past when the past won't let go of you.

The Match by Harlan Coben

 I loved this book. A worthy sequel to "The boy from the woods". 

Characters: 5/5

Premise: 5/5

Plot: 5/5

Twist: 5/5

Dialogue and humour... you get the drift.


Blurb:

Wilde is the man who appeared one day in the Ramapo Mountains with no memory of how he got there or the mother and father who abandoned him. Now, Wilde has uncovered a major break in the case that may hold the key to revealing the truth of his origins. But the discovery links him with a present-day disappearance and presumed suicide that is much more than at first it appears.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

The last thing he told me

"The last thing he told me" by Laura Dave is a domestic suspense thriller about a woman whose husband disappears leaving behind a compromised company, a bag full of cash, his teenage daughter and a lot of unanswered questions. Gripping and heart-warming.


Blurb:

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.



When you are mine

"When you are mine" is a stand-alone thriller by Michael Robotham, who does an excellent job writing from a female perspective. Loved the characters, the premise, the pacing, the plot. Highly recommended.



Blurb:

Philomena McCarthy has defied the odds and become a promising young officer with the Metropolitan Police despite being the daughter of a notorious London gangster. Called to the scene of a domestic assault, she rescues a young woman, Tempe Brown, the girlfriend of a decorated detective. The incident is hushed up, but Phil has unwittingly made a dangerous enemy with powerful friends.

Determined to protect each other, the two women strike up a tentative friendship. Tempe is thoughtful and sweet and makes herself indispensable to Phil, but sinister things keep happening and something isn't quite right about the stories Tempe tells. When a journalist with links to Phil's father and to the detective is found floating in the Thames, Phil doesn't know where to turn, who to blame or who she can trust.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Contacts by Mark Watson

Contacts by Mark Watson is an extraordinary story about ways in which people's lives connect and dovetail, about how our actions influence others, about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Warning: content may be triggering.



Monday, February 07, 2022

Project Hail Mary

"Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir is a fantastic read. The author has done the impossible: written a book that's even better than his previous bestseller "The Martian".

This novel has everything: the heart, the pace, the science, the unexpected yet perfect ending.

Whether you're into SF, think you might like to try an SF book, or are vehemently against SF, you should read it.




Thursday, February 03, 2022

One Step Too Far

"One Step Too Far" by Lisa Gardner sees the return of Frankie Elkin, and that's really all you need to know before you rush out to buy a copy (or open a new tab to buy a copy, whatever your preference- mine is to get it in audio format and I can tell you, the performer does a good job). 

For those who need to know the plot, it's about finding people gone missing in the mountainous forests of the Popo Agie Wilderness in Wyoming. There is a bachelor party, secrets, and a delightful search dog called Daisy.

Still need more? Here's the official blurb:

Meet Frankie Elkin, an everyday, average person who specializes in finding missing people. When the locals have given up, when the media has never bothered to care, Frankie takes on the challenge. Her latest mission has brought her to Mattapan, Boston, to find a missing Haitian teen. Eleven months later, Angelique Badeau's disappearance remains a mystery. What happened to the quiet, studious teen? Frankie learns quickly the dangers of asking too many questions, but that won't stop her from learning the truth behind what happened before she disappeared.



Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Three Hours

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton is a breathless, beautifully written page-turner with a strong theme of human decency, love, courage and heroism. The characters are both extremely realistic and also larger than life. 

Yes, it's about a school shooting. Don't let it prevent you from reading one of the best books I've had the pleasure of reading in the recent months.

Three hours to save people you love. And... go!



Sunday, January 02, 2022

Playing Nice

What if the two-year old boy you were raising as your son turned out to have been swapped shortly after his birth? Would you want to swap him back? What if the other family were richer than yours? What if they were not as nice as you?

This was an intelligent domestic suspense thriller with very believable characters and a story so scary, you just had to keep reading till the end.

Not as creepy as The Girl Before, but just as readable, Playing Nice is a book I want everyone to read.



Invisible Girl

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell is a psychological thriller, a page-turner, with a clever plot and on-point pacing. Most importantly, the book has a lot of heart. Difficult topics such as sexual assault and self-harming are handled with sensitivity and skill. There are enough uplifting relationships to remind the reader that people are, essentially, good. 

All the story people felt super-real to me. I enjoyed the female protagonists, Cate and Saffyre. I felt genuinely sorry for the male protagonist, Owen, and the set of circumstances that led to his situation. A minor spoiler: a semi-tamed fox is a very peripheral yet a very lovable character.