Category Archives: Book Reviews

Queen of the Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter – Book Review

The third book in the White Rabbit chronicles, Alice Bell and her slayer friends are still battling the zombies, plus the awful corporation, and still trying to find her way in her love life.

What I particularly like about these books is while they are somewhat cheesy and a little bit creepy (far too much sexy talk about spanking for me), they don’t seem to go the to the typical dystopia of so many YA novels. I want to see where the characters go. I want them to win, and I want them to have a happy ending. I’m more than happy to go to the fourth and (I think) final in the series.

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Postcards from the Edge vs Postcards from the Edge

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher – Book Review

Upon the recent and tragic passing of the wonderful Carrie Fisher, I decided to revisit some of her writing, and first up was Postcards from the Edge. What a wonderful book – fabulous sarcasm wrapped up in self-doubt and the wondrous world of Hollywood in the eighties. It’s mostly told from the point of view of Suzanne Vale, an actress who has a drug issue and is facing reaching her thirties in the middle of a superficial world.

It’s a great read – a quick read, spaced out like a series of vignettes, almost a semi formed book. But what confused me, and made me really want to watch the film is the fact that Suzanne’s mother is mentioned once, maybe twice in the book, but yet is part of the poster for the film – how was this film translated from the book?

Postcards from the Edge (1990) – Film Review

Fisher has taken the key storyline of her novel, Suzanne Vale’s recovery from drug addiction and added in a whole lot of her mother. And with Meryl Streep playing Suzanne and Shirley MacLaine playing her mother, how could you not want more of them! These two women know comedy, and they know drama, and they know that both come playing it real, and even when being over the top. It’s funny and sad and crazy and fabulous.

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The Power by Naomi Alderman – Audio Book Review

Living in the age of Trump and Weinstein and Don Burke is a very strange time. The revelations of so many, varied forms of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and beyond brings hope that this culture is changing, that the world will be safer for women. (And men… imagine a world safer for everyone?). But I find it is also a fearful place to be, where there is a lot of knee jerking response, and men (and women) are often defensive in a way that builds my fear of backlash that could create a nastier and more dangerous world. It’s brain twisting.

So, imagine a world where women suddenly have a physical power, the ability to deliver electric shocks. Suddenly, women are physically stronger, and are able to dominate men in almost every way. How would this play out across the globe? In places where women are clearly oppressed, like Saudi Arabia, compared to places where the power gap is far more minimal, such as the US or the UK? Would the world be a kinder place, a gentler place?

I cannot stop thinking about this book. I listened to it through Audible (and huge kudos to the narrators – the author, Noami Alderman, as well as Adjoa Andoh, Thomas Judd, Emme Fenney and Phil Nightingale) and finished it several weeks ago, but it keeps coming back to me. It was brought to my attention because it won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this year and I think I have recommended it to everyone I know, including strangers in a bookshop (to be fair, we were recommending books to each other). Alderman has such a great imagining of a wide range of possibilities.

I often like to re-read a book, but usually after time has passed and I can view it anew. But with this one, I can’t wait. I need to read it again. And probably again.

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My Life As  A Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams – Book Review

What a brilliant name for a YA book! So, it tells the tale of MC and her friends (and sometimes frenemies) as they deal with the life of teenagers, from crushes gone wrong to general bitchy behaviour. I had suspected that the book was going to get a lot darker than it did, but as it was, it’s a book that should be loved by many teenagers and other lovers of YA work.

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A Year in Girl Hell by Meredith Costain – Book Review

Looking this up online, I discovered that My Year in Girl Hell is actually a combo of four separate books – Crushed, Dumped, Burned and Trashed. That’s exactly how it felt – four books which could easily stand alone, but also worked beautifully as a single novel.

It’s the first year of high school in Australia and fours friends are trying to figure out how to live it. Lexie loves her old friends, but also finds she is making new friends and doesn’t want to have to choose between them, Michi finds that the online world can be a nasty place, Alysha wants to hit the popular group, no matter what, and Mia feels that she is being left behind.

With my rediscovered obsession with Judy Blume, I can see some strong influence here – Costain has created believable characters and, by changing perspectives, we see that what we think we know isn’t necessarily the case. Four unreliable narrators – oh, how totally wonderful.

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Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler – Book Review

Liam Pennywell is sixty and has just lost his job as a teacher when the school downsized. He moves into a small apartment but, on the first night, wakes up in hospital with no memory of what has happened. Between his ex-wife, his three daughters, their various children and partners and others, he is trying to figure out his place in his new world.
This is a strange read. It feels like kind of nothing, but that’s perhaps because Liam feels that he is kind of nothing. It feels real – like an existential crisis which is not so much a crisis as a way of being. The characters feel very real, and their interactions are as unpleasant and uncomfortable as they are familiar and everyday. It’s not the type of book that I expect will stay with me, yet I imagine that Liam will pop into my head so often.

 

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Without Fail by Lee Child – Book Review

Secret Service Agent M.E. Froelich is in charge of protection of the incoming Vice President, and she has to prove herself. But with mysterious threats being delivered in improbable manners, she needs extra help, and so she reaches out to our hero, Jack Reacher. Froelich and Reacher’s brother, who was killed in service, were an item and he is the only one she trusts to work outside the Secrect Service and protect the Vice President.

Lee Child really is a master at keeping the twists and turns happening. Just when you feel that Reacher has done all he can and that the probems are insurmountable, he finds the tiny flaw, the glitch, the truth that needs to be revealed. And on top of that, there’s sex and violence and general fun times.

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