The Bride Test by Helen Hoang Review

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang Review
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, ISBN 9780451490827, 296pp

I absolutely loved Helen Hoang’s first novel The Kiss Quotient , so I was so excited to pick up her second book The Bride Test. If you’re not familiar with this series, they are romance reads with a difference. Not only are there Asian American characters, there’s also characters with autism and Asperger’s. These books are sexy, fun and offer plenty of representation.

The Bride Test tells the story of Esme (My) Tran and Khai Diep. Esme works as a cleaner in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is mixed race as her dad was an American – a man she has never met. She has a small daughter and supports her mum and grandma. Her family are poor and sleep on the floor in a one room house. Esme wants bigger things for her life and for her child. Continue reading

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier Review

The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier, ISBN 9781844080427, 329pp

Last October I asked my husband for a whole stack of Daphne du Maurier books for my birthday. I’ve been reading my way through them slowly, discovering old favourites I haven’t read for years, as well as Daphne du Maurier books I previously knew nothing about. The House on the Strand is one of those books I knew little about before reading. I went in without expectations and was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It’s a time travel book, but written in such an original way. I found it fascinating. It has firmly cemented Daphne du Maurier in my eyes as an author who was the master of any genre. Continue reading

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See Review

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See book review
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, ISBN 9781471183850, 365pp

I wanted to read The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See as soon as I heard about it. Set on the island of Jeju, off the coast of South Korea, it’s a historical fiction novel about two women Young-sook and Mi-ja. It follows their friendship through a time of turmoil encompassing Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 40s, World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath to 2008.

Young-sook and Mi-ja are both haenyeo, free divers who are part of a collective of female divers who harvest the seas off Jeju. While the men stay at home and take care of the children, the women go to sea and dive, catching octopus, abalone and sea urchins to sell. They dive without oxygen. In the old days, they wore light clothing and dove all year round in freezing waters – even when pregnant. Continue reading

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones Review

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones review
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, ISBN 9780143789604, 307pp

I read An American Marriage by Tayari Jones a few weeks before it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction – one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes. How’s that for perfect timing! I received this book via a book swap with a bookstagram friend. It’s also an Oprah Book Club pick. I was intrigued to read this book but still didn’t know much about it before reading it.

An American Marriage tells the story of two newlyweds: Celestial and Roy. Roy is a young business executive going places and Celestial is an artist on the brink of success. But as they get used to married life, something happens that changes the course of their marriage and lives forever. Continue reading

The Tiger Catcher by Paullina Simons Review

The Tiger Catcher by Paullina Simons
The Tiger Catcher by Paullina Simons, ISBN 9780732294922, 443pp

The Tiger Catcher by Paullina Simons is the first book in the  End of Forever trilogy. I used to love reading Paullina Simons books in my twenties. Books like The Bronze Horseman trilogy, Tully and The Girl in Time Square were some of my favourites. It has been quite a while since I’ve read any of her books.

I saw The Tiger Catcher on bookstagram and a bookstagrammer I follow described it as “a passionate love story.” So I rushed out and bought it the same day. I was so eager to start it that I nudged aside all the other books on my to be read pile. Continue reading

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris Review

photo of the book The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris, ISBN 9781409170761, 368pp (this is a photo of a special signed proof I received from the publisher)

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris was a delightful read. I haven’t read any Joanne Harris books for a long time, so reading this one felt a bit like sitting down with a long lost friend. When most people think of books by Joanne Harris, they think of her bestselling book Chocolat. Well, The Strawberry Thief returns to that same world years later. I didn’t realise there were a couple of other books in this series – which I haven’t read – but I honestly feel you can jump straight to this book if you like.

Vianne Rocher still runs a magical chocolate shop in a small French village. Her daughter Anouk is now twenty-one and living in Paris with her boyfriend. But Vianne has another daughter, sixteen-year-old Rosette, her special child. Continue reading

Redemption Point by Candice Fox Review

Redemption Point by Candice Fox review photo
Redemption Point by Candice Fox review, ISBN 9780143793366, 410pp

A fellow Australian bookstagrammer introduced me to Candice Fox. My friend kept raving about what a great crime writer Candice is and I finally listened to her advice and read Crimson Lake. I was instantly hooked by this book and author. Redemption Point is the second book in this crime series, though you could read it as a stand-alone book if you want to. But I recommend that you read Crimson Lake first!

I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge crime fiction reader, but I do appreciate reading this genre when it’s well-written, has awesome plot twists that I can’t guess, and characters who are interesting and unique. Candice Fox delivers all this and more. If you like Australian author Jane Harper’s books, and you’re after something a bit grittier but just as good, this is a great series to try. Continue reading

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden Review

A photo of the novel The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden book review
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, ISBN9781785031052, 456pp

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is a book that I’ve been seeing everywhere for a long time. I’ve wanted to read it forever. But for some reason it took me ages to pick it up. Then I saw it for sale in a little book store in Thailand when I was on holiday and it seemed like the time was finally right to buy it. So, I did.

I don’t know why I hesitated to read this book. I’ve always loved books based on fairy tales, folklore, myths or legends. Perhaps it was the Russian setting. I’ve struggled in the past with books set in Russia, usually because of the character names. I find with Russian names that the characters will have one name and then a nickname. This can make it confusing to keep track of who is who. But I do love a Russian setting with all that ice and snow. Continue reading