Attachments by Rainbow Rowell Review

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, ISBN 9781409120537, 357ppAtta

Attachments is the third book I’ve read from author Rainbow Rowell and it just might be my favourite so far. While Fangirl and Eleanor & Park were written for a YA audience, this book is aimed more at adults. I loved the premise for this story. It was quirky, original and read like a chick lit book from a male perspective.

Attachments is set in a newspaper office in 1999, a time when the millennium was fast approaching and hysteria about the y2k bug was everywhere. Lincoln is a twenty-something IT guy who works the evening shift at the newspaper and his job is mostly monitoring staff emails and issuing warnings if there’s any inappropriate content. It’s in this capacity that he starts reading email exchanges between two female colleagues (Beth and Jennifer) who work at the newspaper during the day, as their emails keep being flagged by the security system due to inappropriate content.

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes Review

I’ve been a big fan of author Jojo Moyes ever since stumbling across Me Before You years ago. This was before the movie and before a lot of the huge hype. Me Before You first introduces the loveable Louisa Clark, wearer of quirky vintage clothes and bumblebee yellow and black striped stockings. In this first book she becomes a carer to Will Traynor, a complicated man not coping very well with life as a quadriplegic and they both change each other’s lives. If you haven’t read this first book, definitely give it a go. I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t read it.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Still Me by Jojo Moyes, ISBN 9780718183196, 469pp, Pub Jan 2018

I loved Me Before You, even though it smashed my heart to pieces, and was quite happy for it to be a stand-alone book. But then Jojo Moyes released a sequel called After You. Although I devoured this book it didn’t have quite the same feel as book one. Louisa was far from the happy, positive young woman and with a major character missing in this book, it was a bit of an adjustment. But I liked it well enough in the end.

Which brings me to the newly released third book in the series, Still Me. I rushed out to get this because Continue reading

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng Review

I started 2018 reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I had heard great things about this book so was very happy to get this as a Christmas gift from my husband. I am on a great reading roll at the moment and this makes the third book in a row that I have devoured.

Little Fires Everywhere
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, ISBN 9781408709719, 338pp, Pub Sep 2017

At first I thought this was going to be a hard book to get into, but I dived into this without any effort and was sustained by a cast of interesting characters and a riveting plot that delved into the lives of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ the conformers and the free spirits.

Set during the time of Clinton’s presidency in Shaker Heights, Cleveland, a meticulously planned town, it follows the lives of the golden Richardson family consisting of two parents and four teenagers. Into their lives comes Mia Warren and her teenager daughter, Pearl, who rent a house from the Richardsons. 

Mia is a struggling artist who moves from place to place and doesn’t like to be tied down. She has a mysterious past and I was pleasantly surprised when the story of her past was revealed. She is the opposite of Mrs Elena Richardson who was born and bred in Shaker Heights and likes everyone and everything to be in its place. 

Little Fires Everywhere is a story about teenagers, mothers, families, parenting, art, race, class, creativity and love, told from many perspectives. There’s also a court case woven into the story that will have you debating both sides as an affluent couple who can’t have a child of their own adopt an abandoned Chinese baby, only to have the birth mother come into their lives after a year and want her baby back. I couldn’t help but cheer at the outcome of this part of the plot, even though I felt for the other side.

I’ve never read any books by Celeste Ng before but I definitely will in the future. I can see why this book was the 2017 Winner of Best Fiction in the goodreads choice awards. If you haven’t already read it and you like quality fiction, give this a read.

Verdict: An absolutely compelling book worth a read.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Review

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is the second book in a row I’ve read with a protagonist named Eleanor (the other one was Eleanor & Park). And it was another book which I sped read over a couple of days.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, ISBN 9780008172114, 386pp, Pub May 2017

Set in Glasgow, the story is told from the point-of-view of Eleanor Oliphant. She is a 30 year old loner who lives by herself, works in a boring office job and sticks to a routine which sees her wear the same clothes every day and eat the same food. She thinks and behaves very differently from the social norm and is often perplexed by the people around her. A series of events happen which disrupts Eleanor’s ordered life and lets in other people, new experiences and dark memories from her childhood which she had been trying to suppress.

I haven’t encountered a character like Eleanor before. The way she thinks and acts throughout the book had me laughing, cringing and pitying her. I also cheered her on as she opened up more to people and life. People can be cruel to someone who marches to the beat of their own drum and at times this makes for squirmy reading. I wanted to pummel her bullies and at the same time shake her for being so clueless. That’s the measure of a good book when you get so invested in a character.

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The Wintercombe Series by Pamela Belle Review

If you are looking for a great historical fiction series packed with intrigue, family issues and a little bit of romance, then I have the series for you. I first discovered the Wintercombe series by Pamela Belle about fifteen years ago. I picked up Wintercombe in a second-hand book store and then later its sequel Herald of Joy. I lost both books in a house move and then spent years trying to find them again. To my delight, I discovered that both books were available as ebooks this year and I bought them immediately. And I also discovered book three A Falling Star and book four Treason’s Gift.

Wintercombe is set during the English civil war in the 17th century and tells the story of its namesake, Wintercombe, a beautiful manor house in Somerset where Puritan Lady Silence St Barbe lives with her two step-children Rachael and Nathaniel and three children Tabitha, Deb and William. Her Parliamentarian husband is off fighting in the war. Silence is the perfect Puritan wife to her much older husband and lives a quiet, godly existence.

The English Civil war has been raging for two years when a detachment of Cavaliers is sent to garrison at this country house. Not having anywhere to take her children, and not wishing to let her house and beloved gardens be destroyed by the enemy in her absence, Silence elects to stay for the occupation.

Captain Nick Hellier is the second-in-command of the enemy Royalist soldiers and is, at first, not someone Silence is willing to trust. But compared to the brutish Lieutenant-Colonel Ridgeley who is evil incarnate, Captain Hellier is mild mannered. He soon becomes someone Silence can go to for help, despite being an enemy, as he does his best to protect her and the children from Ridgeley’s wrath. Amidst all the turmoil of war, Silence begins to break free from the constraints around her and allow music, laughter and love into her life in the form of Nick. Continue reading

The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns Review

The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns
The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns, ISBN 9781489241153, 432pp, pub Oct 2017

The Greatest Gift is the latest fiction release from Rachael Johns, an Australian author with a lot of fans in both the rural romance and women’s fiction (a phrase that bugs me, shouldn’t it just be fiction?) category. This book fits into the latter category. I picked this up because I was curious to see if I would like a new author and because the subject matter intrigued me.

The Greatest Gift is set in Sydney and the Hunter Valley in NSW and tells the story of two very different couples. Harper and Samuel Drummond are a career-driven married couple who don’t want children. Harper works as a successful radio host and Samuel is a lawyer who works long hours. Claire and Jasper Lombard are a married couple who run a hot air balloon business and would love a baby  but a bout of cancer as a child has left Claire infertile.

Harper begins to feel like something is missing in her life and when she interviews another couple who got pregnant after years of trying, thanks to an egg donor, she believes she’s found her purpose. She will give someone the greatest gift of all. Continue reading

The Dry by Jane Harper review

cover image of The Dry by Jane Harper
The Dry by Jane Harper, ISBN 9781925481372, 339pp

If you’re reading a crime novel set in a small Australian country town you can be sure of a few things: the story will take place against a harsh, unforgiving natural landscape; there will be a bevy of local characters with secrets to hide–from hard-drinking farmers to small town gossips; everyone will know everyone in town and there will be a couple of long standing feuds; and there will be something bad that happened in the past which is somehow connected to this latest crime. That’s not to say that these books aren’t a pleasure to read, I just often see this pattern.

Perhaps that’s why it took me so long to pick up The Dry by Jane Harper. It was the book on everyone’s lips in 2016, winning rave reviews from critics and racing up the bestsellers chart. Booksellers and book lovers embraced this debut and you would have had to be living under a rock to not have heard about it. It has also been optioned for the screen by Reese Witherspoon. Even now, The Dry is still picking up accolades, the recent being Jane Harper winning the British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of the year. Continue reading

The Break by Marian Keyes: A Review

The Break cover
The Break by Marian Keyes, Kindle edition, 568 pp

Reading a Marian Keyes novel is like having a cosy chat over a bottle of wine with a girlfriend you only see every few years. There are laughs, the occasional tear, secrets shared, milestones celebrated and losses commiserated. I’ve read every one of Marian’s novels over the years. They have taken me through my twenties and into my thirties and have never disappointed.

The Break is Marian Keyes’s latest novel. Set in Dublin and London, it tells the story of Amy O’Connell, a 44 year old mother of two girls (and carer of a niece) who works in PR and is married to the dependable Hugh. She is part of a large, nosey family, has a ‘portfolio of friends’, and is on her second marriage. Suddenly Hugh decides he needs to take a break by himself in the form of a six month trip to South East Asia. But he doesn’t just want a break from Ireland. He wants a break from his marriage. What follows is the before, during and after effects of this decision on their marriage and family.

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