Force of Nature – Jane Harper.
Having really enjoyed her first novel The Dry I was looking forward to whether the follow up would be as good. Actually I think it was even better. Maybe that is because the setting was one that was particularly familiar to me – an executive retreat for team building. I now know NEVER to organize one in the Australian bush! Her character development of the two main characters (Aaron and Carmen)is a good one and the nature of the crimes she writes about are always interesting and human centered – often based on feelings or actions getting out of hand. I also love the way she shows how relatively close Melbourne and the bush are but how they are effectively two different worlds with not much overlap. Can’t wait for her next one. I read the first one and used audble for this one – I remain a big fan of Audible! So good for multi tasking.
Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan
Everyone has been raving about this book as one of the top ten to read from last year. It is set during the Second World War but at home not at war. The main character is a strong and willful female who wants to be a deep sea diver as her part of the war effort. Her story is mixed with that of Dexter Styles – a mid level gangster who lives within a higher storage of society than would be usual. Have to admit it took me a few chapters to get into it but once I did I could see what all the fuss was about. Always good to read some novels that are plain well written!
The Cactus – Sarah Haywood
Another book about a somewhat obsessive lady who finds herself pregnant in her 40s and comes to the realization that her ordered existence may never be the same again however hard she tries to make it so. It is quite funny and you do want to cheer for the main character to make it.
Mythos – Stephen Fry
I really enjoyed Stephen Fry’s take (he also reads the book) on the stories of Greek mythology. If you love knowing where words or expressions came from or want to know why the peacock has eyes in its feathers or why bees make honey or even where you came from – this is for you. He really makes the whole story of Greek mythology interesting and relevant to today’s world.
THE WRITTEN WORD
How to Stop time – Matt Haig
I am always a sucker for a novel that enables a character to travel across time (but NOT in a sci-if kind of way). This one was enjoyable as the main characters adventures over time – due to the fact he is one of a very few people who does not age which sounds great but tends to mean he is constantly assumed to be a witch of some sort – means he gets involved in all sorts of interesting historical times like working with Shakespeare at the Globe and less cheerfully the Black Death. It is also a love story – and who can resist one of those.
The Tine Between – Karen White
OK story which flits between a woman now who feels guilt over an accident caused to her sister and the story of sisters in the pre war years in Hungary. Easy read. Nothing that memorable.
Once upon a time in the East – Xiaoguang Gulo
When I’m not being a sucker for time travelers then I am also obsessed with anything set in China. This is a memoir of a woman who only meets her parents for the first time when she is six. It describes life in the country and the poverty there very well but also life in Beijing where she goes to study and subsequently the UK where she ends up living. Some of it is quite confronting but I very much liked the style it was written in.
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn.
This really is a book about dark places – both in the real world and in the mind. It tells the story of a woman in her 30’s whose whole family was wiped out when she was 7 in a murder committed by her brother who is now in prison. It flips between the past and the present as she tries to figure out what really happened – and it is indeed dark – but characters are well written if not eminently likeable in many cases. Recommend.
Tell a Thousand Lies – Rasuna Atreus
Recommended by my mate Tania this tells the stories of two sisters in India who want very different things and end up with things very different to what they wanted. Great way to get an understanding of small village life. I thought it was excellent.
How to be a Good Wife – Emma Chapman
This is a good debut novel. Is the main character losing her mind or is something more sinister going on. You decide….