Blog Tour Review: A Recipe for Family by Tori Haschka

 

Title: A Recipe For Family

Author: Tori Haschka

Published: 3rd August 2022, Simon & Schuster Australia 

Read: August 2022 courtesy DMCPRMedia

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My Thoughts:

Stella Prentice feels like she is drowning. With her husband, Felix, rarely home, she’s struggling to manage her full time career as a brand manager for an upmarket grocery chain while raising her bright four year old, Natalie, and resentful teenage stepdaughter, Georgia, along with fulfilling life’s everyday tasks. Stella’s friends amongst her well-off Northern beaches community insist that a live in au pair is the life raft she needs, but will it be enough to save a sinking ship?

Set within the same community as Tori Haschka’s debut novel, Grace Under Pressure, A Recipe for Family shares the exploration of similar themes such as work/life balance, marriage, motherhood, family, friendship and the stresses of modern living.

As an overwhelmed working wife and mother, Stella is an easy character to relate to as she attempts to juggle the demands on her time, struggling with guilt and resentment when she inevitably drops a ball. Hiring an au pair is an impulsive move, and though Stella is hopeful it will work out, she is uncomfortable with the arrangement. Subsumed by her own issues however, Stella does not handle the situation well, and her relationship with Ava becomes increasingly strained.

I felt very sorry for Ava, still grieving the recent loss of her mother, she is very far from home, and still so young. Ava attempts to draw comfort and advice from notes and recipes left to her by her late mother, but it quickly becomes clear, though she bonds well with Natalie and Georgia, that she doesn’t quite have the maturity or experience to negotiate the awkward situation she finds herself in.

There’s also a third narrative strand in A Recipe for Family which involves Stella’s mother-in-law, Elise. I liked the character, and enjoyed many of her observations, but I didn’t feel the features of her storyline fit comfortably in the novel. I thought the glimpses into the lives of Stella’s and Ava’s friends and acquaintances were more relevant, providing some interesting context and contrast to their circumstances.

Food, and in particular its associations with motherhood, is a linking motif in the novel, from Stella’s repeated attempts to connect with Georgia by preparing meals to honour her stepdaughter’s late mother, to the comfort food Stella prepares for herself at a low point, to the recipes that Ava cooks for the Prentice’s. I think many of us have at least one recipe that serves as a connection to family – for me, it’s my mother’s meatloaf, and I enjoyed this aspect of the novel. I also really liked that Haschka thoughtfully includes the recipes mentioned through the story in full.

Warmly written, with relatable characters, and thoughtful observations, A Recipe of Family is an engaging novel. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the last few lines of the novel had quite the unexpected kick, and I hope that Haschka decides to explore its consequences, (particularly for Eve) next.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

 

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

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Life…

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This horrid flu is still lingering, I feel exhausted a lot of the time, and my ribs ache from coughing. Thank goodness winter is nearly over!

On the weekend we attended a lunch to celebrate my Great Uncle’s 95th birthday. He was delighted to have so much family in attendance, and it was nice to catch up with some relatives we haven’t seen in years, though I had to keep my distance for obvious reasons.

The HSC Trial exam period (in the UK I think you call them Mocks – I’m not sure what the US equivalent would be) has started for my eldest son. He had his Drama performance on Friday night which consisted of a group performance and an eight minute monologue, and over the next two weeks has exams for all his subjects. As he is hoping to get early entry offers for university, he is studying hard.

My youngest son left for a week long school ski trip to Thredbo yesterday. It will be his first time seeing snow, little lone attempting skiing/snowboarding. I’m just hoping he doesn’t break anything!

Daughter #2 is back at uni, and this week was awarded a place on the Dean’s Merit List for the 2021 academic year. It looks like she is in track for this year too as her mid year results were stellar. We are so proud of her, especially given all the challenges due to CoVid, bushfires and floods!

I’m still trying to catch up on reviews, and failing!

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

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All of Me by Cadance Bell

The Unbelieved by Vicki Petraitis

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

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New Posts…

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*placeholders for now*

Review: The Surgeon’s Daughter by Audrey Blake

Review: The Fallback by DL Hicks

Review: Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

Review: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

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What I’m Reading This Week…

 


Things are getting slippery for Stella. With her husband away she’s juggling a full-time job, a tricky stepdaughter and a relentless four-year-old – all while trying to find her footing in her spouse’s shiny world. Joining the throng of local mothers, she reluctantly hires an au pair in the hope that it will lighten the load.

Stella’s mother-in-law, Elise, thinks this is a rotten idea. An industrial chemist and staunch feminist, she finds the ethical murkiness surrounding the au pair solution difficult to swallow. But she’s promised her son not to meddle, has her own career battles to slay and ghosts of her own past to contend with.

For Ava, life in Sydney as an au pair could help fill the void left by the loss of her mother. With her family recipes in her hand and hope in her heart, she sets off to reinvent herself in a place far away.

Three women, drawn together by impossible circumstances, will discover that the greatest comfort can often be found in the mess.

Perfect for fans of Meg Mason and Sally Hepworth; a powerful and heart-rending story about how food connects us and assumptions divide us – and how true family can come from where you least expect it.

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Dark Deeds Down Under, a groundbreaking anthology, brings together internationally-renowned Aussie and Kiwi crime writers and their beloved characters.

This stunning anthology includes 19 short stories from some of the brightest storytelling talents from Australia and New Zealand: including international bestsellers and award winners.

Through the prism of page-turning crime, mystery and thriller stories you will roam from the dusty Outback to South Island glaciers, from ocean-carved coastlines and craggy mountains to sultry rainforests and Middle Earth valleys, and via sleepy villages to the underbellies of our cosmopolitan cities.

In these all-new stories you’ll spend time with favourite series cops, sleuths and accidental heroes, and meet some new and edgy standalone characters.

This vibrant showcase includes: Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman, Garry Disher’s ‘Hirsch’, Vanda Symon’s Sam Shephard, Sulari Gentill’s Rowly Sinclair, RWR McDonald’s ‘Nancys’, Lee Murray & Dan Rabarts’ Penny Yee & Matiu, Katherine Kovacic’s Alex Clayton, Dinuka McKenzie’s Kate Miles, and a rare appearance from Shane Maloney’s Murray Whelan.

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NEW YORK CITY 1921: The war is over, fashions are daring, and bootleg liquor is abundant. Here four extraordinary women form a bridge group that grows into a firm friendship.

Dorothy Parker: renowned wit, member of the Algonquin Round Table, and more fragile than she seems. Jane Grant: first female reporter for the New York Times, and determined to launch a new magazine she calls The New Yorker. Winifred Lenihan: beautiful and talented Broadway actress, a casting-couch target. And Peggy Leech: magazine assistant by day, brilliant novelist by night.

Their romances flourish and falter while their goals sometimes seem impossible to reach and their friendship deepens against the backdrop of turbulent New York City, where new speakeasies open and close, jazz music flows through the air, and bathtub gin fills their glasses.

They gossip, they comfort each other, and they offer support through the setbacks. But their biggest challenge is keeping their dear friend Dottie safe from herself.

In this brilliant new novel from the bestselling and acclaimed author of Jackie and Maria and The Secret Wife, readers will fall right into Jazz Age New York and into the inner lives of these groundbreaking, influential women.

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As a photographer, Stevie’s been to enough bush weddings to last a lifetime. When’s it going to be all about her?

With her ex soon to be married, her mum back on the dating scene, and her best friend threatening to settle down with the Most Boring Man Alive, Stevie is feeling left behind.

To top it off, her old uni mate Johnno West, whom she hasn’t seen for years, keeps turning up as best man at Stevie’s jobs. And he is looking so good.

Perhaps their youthful pact – that if they were both still single in their early thirties they’d get together – is not so crazy after all?

Then the enigmatic Charlie Jones walks into the frame …

Capturing the heartbeat of rural Australia, Five Bush Weddings is an uplifting romantic comedy about looking for love, second chances, and what really matters when the bouquet has been thrown, the swag’s been rolled up and the party’s over.

 

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Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR @thebookdate #SundayPost @Kimbacaffeinate #SundaySalon @debnance #FiveBushWeddings #ARecipeForFamily #DarkDeedsDownUnder #TheManhattanGirls

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

 

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

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Life…

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I’m sick again! Another bad cold (multiple RAT’s have come up COVID negative), it seems maybe even the same one as last month. I swear I catch stuff more often from my kids now that they are adults than I did when they were little. It started Wednesday night with a headache and an occasional throat tickle, on Thursday I felt like I’d swallowed razor blades, and I started coughing so hard I lost my voice. By Friday my nose started flowing, but today my head is a bit clearer and I haven’t been coughing quite as often, so hopefully it’s nearly done with me. I hope so because I’m my ribs are really sore, and I’ve barely slept for days.

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

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Confidence by Denise Mina

Blood Sisters by Cate Quinn

All of Me by Cadance Bell

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New Posts…

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Review: The Change by Kirsten Miller

Review: The Emma Project by Sonali Dev

Review: Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Review: Rattled by Ellis Gunn

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #7

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What I’m Reading This Week…

 

This is not a romance, but it is about love

Two kids meet in a hospital gaming room in 1987. One is visiting her sister, the other is recovering from a car crash. The days and months are long there. Their love of video games becomes a shared world — of joy, escape and fierce competition. But all too soon that time is over, fades from view.

When the pair spot each other eight years later in a crowded train station, they are catapulted back to that moment. The spark is immediate, and together they get to work on what they love – making games to delight, challenge and immerse players, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives. Their collaborations make them superstars.

This is the story of the perfect worlds Sadie and Sam build, the imperfect world they live in, and of everything that comes after success: Money. Fame. Duplicity. Tragedy.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow takes us on a dazzling imaginative quest as it examines the nature of identity, creativity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play and, above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love.

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‘So you believed the alleged rapists over the alleged victim?’ Jane’s voice took on an indignant pitch. ‘Girls lie sometimes.’ I nodded. ‘And rapists lie all the time.’

When Senior Detective Antigone Pollard moves to the coastal town of Deception Bay, she is still in shock and grief. Back in Melbourne, one of her cases had gone catastrophically wrong, and to escape the guilt and the haunting memories, she’d requested a transfer to the quiet town she’d grown up in.

But there are some things you can’t run from. A month into her new life, she is targeted by a would-be rapist at the pub, and realises why there have been no convictions following a spate of similar sexual attacks in the surrounding district. The male witnesses in the pub back her attacker and even her boss doesn’t believe her.

Hers is the first reported case in Deception Bay, but soon there are more. As Antigone searches for answers, she encounters a wall of silence in the town built of secrets and denial and fear. The women of Deception Bay are scared and the law is not on their side. The nightmare has followed her home.

Chilling, timely and gripping, The Unbelieved takes us behind the headlines to a small-town world that is all too real – and introduces us to a brilliant new voice in crime fiction.

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As a photographer, Stevie’s been to enough bush weddings to last a lifetime. When’s it going to be all about her?

With her ex soon to be married, her mum back on the dating scene, and her best friend threatening to settle down with the Most Boring Man Alive, Stevie is feeling left behind.

To top it off, her old uni mate Johnno West, whom she hasn’t seen for years, keeps turning up as best man at Stevie’s jobs. And he is looking so good.

Perhaps their youthful pact – that if they were both still single in their early thirties they’d get together – is not so crazy after all?

Then the enigmatic Charlie Jones walks into the frame …

Capturing the heartbeat of rural Australia, Five Bush Weddings is an uplifting romantic comedy about looking for love, second chances, and what really matters when the bouquet has been thrown, the swag’s been rolled up and the party’s over.

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A private investigator returning to the hometown he fled years ago becomes entangled in the disappearance of two teenage girls in this stunning literary crime thriller.

Reid left the small town of Manson a decade ago, promising his former Chief of Police boss he’d never return. He made a new life in the city, became a PI and turned his back on his old life for good.

Now an insurance firm has offered him good money to look into a suspicious car crash, and he finds himself back in the place he grew up – home to his complicated family history, a scarring relationship breakdown and a very public career-ending incident.

As Reid’s investigation unfolds, nothing is as it seems: rumours are swirling about the well-liked young woman who was driving the car which killed her professor husband, while a second local student has just disappeared. As Reid veers off course from the job he has been paid to do, will he find himself in the dangerous position of taking on the town again?

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I’m sorry if I haven’t visited you recently, I’m trying to get back on schedule.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR @thebookdate #SundayPost @Kimbacaffeinate #SundaySalon @debnance #TheWrongWoman #FiveBushWeddings #TheUnbelieved #TomorrowandTomorrowandTomorrow

Review: Rattled by Ellis Gunn

 

Title: Rattled: A rare first person account of surviving a stalker

Author: Ellis Gunn

Published: 1st May 2022, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read June 2022 courtesy Allen & Unwin

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My Thoughts:

 

“….I was beginning to think I’d overreacted. Looking at it logically, he hadn’t done anything wrong.He hadn’t threatened me, or been offensive. A little over-eager maybe, a little too personal, but…probably nothing to worry about.”

It began with an casual interaction over a chest of drawers at an auction, Elise Gunn responded amiably to The Man’s attempt at conversation but politely brushed off his overture for further contact, and then ignored his unsolicited email. When he attempts to speak with her again, weeks later at the same auction house, Elise quickly makes her exit, feeling uncomfortable and anxious. When The Man next approaches Elise, she is walking home through a park having just dropped her son at school. He insists on walking with her, and during his one sided conversation he mentions details about Elise he is unlikely to know, unless he’s been following her for some time. The police are sympathetic when she reports her concerns but can’t do anything to help, and Elise is left feeling powerless.

Elise Gunn gives a powerful account of being stalked by a stranger with unknown motives. For Elise, The Man’s behaviour is ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’. Quivering from hyper-vigilance, and expecting the worst, she is anxious, fearful, and panic-stricken. Unable to affect The Man’s behaviour, Elise attempts to take control of her own, seeking help from a victim support agency and CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy).

In between each encounter with The Man, Gunn relates a former experience where she was affected by sexism, misogyny or male violence, from being heckled by a group of aggressive young men outside a pub, to enduring a rape by a trusted employer, and a poem the messages women too often receive about such encounters.

I was expecting an exclusive focus on stalking but Gunn also explores the broader research on topics related to trauma and PTSD, socialisation, gendered crime and inequality, and what is still needed for society to change. I am a little disappointed that, though Gunn includes a bibliography, she doesn’t list Australian services that readers could reach out to.

I found it frighteningly easy to relate to many elements of Gunn’s narratives. Rattled is an honest, thoughtful and impactful memoir that educates and informs.

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Available from Allen & Unwin

Or help support* Book’d Out

*Purchase from Booktopia*

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2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #7

 

Welcome to the Monthly Spotlight for the

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge!

Each month I’m highlighting some of the reviews shared for the challenge in the linky

Don’t forget to link each book you read as you read during the year!

I encourage you to support all participants who have shared what they are reading for the challenge. Give them a like, leave them a comment, share their posts on Facebook, twitter, or instagram #ReadNonFicChal

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IN JULY…

 


[PUBLISHED IN 2022]

Of The Power of Regret by Daniel H Pink, Bibliographic-Manifestations has this to say, “Pink conducted the World Regret Survey (which is still going on) and used the stories he collected there as a data set to analyze the role of regret in our lives. He identified correlations among the various regrets and addresses each type as well as talking about the implications of regret more generally. This was a thought-provoking book and Pink is an excellent writer. Mixing in people’s personal stories with the social-science make this a very readable book.”

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Janette, of the Wicked Witch’s Blog, was disappointed with I Belong Here by Anita Sethi, she writes, “…the actual journey formed a much smaller part of the book than I expected…. descriptions of her walking were constantly interrupted with other thoughts and the chapters seemed to meander between describing her journey, musings on society in general and racism in particular and even to include parts of a dictionary….. I really loved many parts of this book but others just didn’t hold my interest which is a shame as this was a book that I really wanted to like.”

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Over at Maphead’s Book Blog states that Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History by Lea Ypi, “…is definitely worth the hype and should easily make my year-end list of Favorite Nonfiction.” He writes, “What sets Free apart from other memoirs of life under communist rule is you see all this monumental history unfold through the eyes of an innocent child. Over the course of the memoir you learn just how oppressive life was under Albania’s communist overlords…”

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[CELEBRITY]

Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors by Tom Bower has cemented Laura’s, of Reading Books Again, dislike of the ‘Harkles’. She felt the book offered several surprises that contradicted media coverage and was impressed that, “the last 100 pages of the book are a list of references from where [the author] obtained his information.”

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[MEDICAL MEMOIR]

Katherine Clark was visiting her son’s school, playing tag with some children on the playground. One boy climbed up on the jungle gym and jumped off onto Kate’s head. They both fell to the ground. The boy’s arm was fractured, but Kate’s neck was broken, and she was instantly paralyzed from the neck down. In Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark, the author, “…intersperses the details of what happened to her on that fateful day and the aftermath of surgery and physical therapy with reflections of the effects of her injury on her children, the inevitable “why” question, coming to terms with the label “quadriplegic,” wrestling with God’s will and His mysteries, and so on.” BarbaraLee of Stray Thoughts, who recognised some parallels between her own and Kate’s experience“…appreciated Kate’s testimony of God’s grace in hard circumstances.”

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What will you be reading in August?

 

Need some inspiration? Check out these posts

SOCIAL HISTORY and POPULAR SCIENCE

LANGUAGE and MEDICAL MEMOIR

CLIMATE/WEATHER and CELEBRITY

REFERENCE and GEOGRAPHY

LINKED TO A PODCAST and WILD ANIMALS

ECONOMICS and PUBLISHED IN 2022

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #1

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #2

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #3

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #4

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #5

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #6

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge Monthly Spotlight #ReadNonFicChal Check out some of the latest #Nonfiction book reviews shared last month #readingchallenge at Book’d Out

Title: Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

 

Title: Wrong Place Wrong Time

Author: Gillian McAllister

Published: 12th May 2022, Michael Joseph

Status: Read June 2022 courtesy Penguin UK/Netgalley

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My Thoughts:

 

Jen’s relief at her teenage son’s return home late one October Friday night, turns to horror as she witnesses him stab a man just meters from their front door. Todd is promptly arrested, and Jen, along with her husband, Kelly, are left stunned, unable to speak with him until the next morning when they can return with a solicitor. The last thing Jen remembers of that night is dozing on the sofa, but when she wakes she is in bed, Todd is in his bedroom, Kelly is at work, and it’s Friday morning …again.

Jen is confused, her son and husband are bemused by her story, and Jen allows herself to be convinced she dreamed the whole thing, but nevertheless insists Todd stays home, and as she’s falling asleep she is confident she’s avoided a nightmare scenario. So why, when she next wakes, is it the day before the day before?

Every time Jen wakes, she finds herself further back in the past, sometimes days, weeks and even years, eventually realising that to change the future, and save her son, she has to determine where everything went wrong. I felt sympathy for Jen as her whole life slowly began to unravel, her past revealing crushing secrets, and admired her determination to find the answers.

The plot is intricate, though not unfathomably so, once you become comfortable with the time slips. While I’m not a fan of time travel generally, I found I was quickly absorbed in this high concept story. The novel unfolds at a compelling pace, despite moving backwards from the crime to its cause, and offers plenty of surprising twists. The epilogue too is quite the stunner.

Intriguing and clever, Gillian McAllister presents an original premise executed with impressive skill in Wrong Place Wrong Time.

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Available from Penguin Books UK

Or help support* Book’d Out

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Review: The Emma Project by Somali Dev

 

Title: The Emma Project {The Rajes #4}

Author: Sonali Dev

Published: 17th May 2022, Avon Books

Status: Read June 2022 courtesy Avon Books/Edelweiss

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My Thoughts:

 

The Emma Project is the fourth (and last) book in Sonali Dev’s popular Jane Austen inspired rom com series, The Rajes, though if, like me, you haven’t read any of the earlier books it is a successful stand-alone read.

The story’s connections to the original ‘Emma’ are generally quite subtle, but still recognisable. Vansh Raje is the youngest of the Raje’s siblings. Handsome, successful and single, he is effortlessly charming, and somewhat spoilt. Knightlina (Naina) Kohli is the aloof ‘Knightly’ to Vansh’s ‘Emma’, a long term, close friend of the family, who had previously been involved in a fake relationship with Vansh’s older brother, Yash.

I liked both characters, who are portrayed with a complexity I wasn’t expecting from a romcom. Naina and Vansh both have rich back stories that are coherent motivator’s for their attitudes and actions.

The pair’s history is an obvious impediment to their relationship, with Naina having been Yash’s (fake) girlfriend for nearly a decade, both have trouble seeing each other as a potential romantic partner, as does the entire Raje family. Vansh is also twelve years younger than Naina, and her (horrible) father, clearly the root cause of her distrust of love and marriage, in particular is disparaging of the age difference.

Much of the couple’s conflict however stems from Naina being forced to share a multimillion-dollar endowment from Jignesh Mehta, the sixth-richest entrepreneur in the world, to her charitable foundation that supports sustainable economic security for women in remote and neglected regions. Naina has a plan for every dollar, so she is appalled when Mehta insists she share his largess with Vansh on the basis of a cocktail conversation.

I liked the development of their romance, it’s not quite an enemies-to-lovers trope but  fairly close. There are the inevitable misunderstandings and miscommunications, tantrums and tears. I liked the heat level of the romance, but I was a bit surprised to find it here.

A secondary romance plot involves another Raje family member, cousin Esha who has an unusual story of her own, and Sid, a photojournalist. To be honest, I felt this thread was shoehorned in, and elements of it, out of place, though there is a loose parallel to the romance in ‘Emma’ between Jane Fairfax and Churchill.

Dev also touches on a number of surprisingly serious issues including domestic violence, homelessness, dyslexia, and (what I thought was) an odd reference to to the BLM movement.

Others will be better judges than I on how satisfying The Emma Project was as a series finale. I was entertained by the story and its characters, though I don’t feel compelled to read the earlier instalments.

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Available from HarperCollins 

Or help support* Book’d Out

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Review: The Change by Kirsten Miller

 

Title: The Change

Author: Kirsten Miller

Published: 3rd May 2022, William Morrow

Status: Read May 2022 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss

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My Thoughts:

 

“Why do you think women are designed to outlive men? Why do we keep going for thirty years after our bodies can no longer reproduce? Do you think nature meant for those years to be useless? No, of course not. Our lives our designed to have three parts. The first is education. The second, creation. And in part three, we put our experience to use to protect those who are weaker. This third stage, which you have entered, can be one of incredible power.”

The Change is a wildly entertaining modern feminist revenge thriller with a supernatural edge from Kirsten Miller.

In the Long Island oceanfront community of Mattauk, three women embrace their destiny to avenge a murdered teenage girl discarded in a garbage bag amongst the dunes. It’s the recently widowed nurse Nessa who hears her ghostly cries, a talent inherited from her grandmother; gym owner Jo, who identifies the targets for their rage, while Harriet, whose stunning transformation from successful advertising executive to ‘wild’ woman, leads and inspires them.

As a woman very close to turning 50, suffering from the chaotic symptoms of peri menopause, uncomfortably close to becoming an empty nester, and angered by renewed attempts to subjugate women, I found something to relate to in all three of these characters. I enjoyed the fantasy of gaining power that defies western society’s general expectations for ageing women, particularly admiring Harriet’s metamorphosis and her new affinity for nature.

I was engaged by the mystery and its twists. With the Mattauk law enforcement seemingly dismissive of the victim found near the beach, the three women unite to determine the identity of her killer, eventually learning of more victims, and a shocking conspiracy perpetrated by the towns’ richest residents. I was fairly cheering as Nessa, Jo and Harriet wreaked their vengeance on the guilty.

With plenty of action and suspense, I thought the pacing was very good, and despite its length (480 pages) read the book almost in one sitting. I enjoyed the writer’s use of dark humour, and insightful, often blunt, commentary.

Compelling, witty and provocative, I found The Change to be a captivating, and even cathartic read, and recommend it without reservation.

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Available from HarperCollins US

Or help support* Book’d Out

*Purchase from Booktopia*

*As an affiliate of Booktopia I may earn a small commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you.*

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

 

Linking to: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at BookDate; Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer; and the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

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Life…

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I am currently 21 reviews behind schedule, but I’m working on it!

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

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Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby

The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander

Do As I Say by Sarah Steel

Yours Mine Ours by Sinead Moriarty

Criminals by James O’Loughlin

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New Posts…

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Review: One of Us by Kylie Kaden

Review: The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley

Review: Overboard by Sara Paretsky

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What I’m Reading This Week…

 

The tiny outback town of Dead Tree Creek is a rough place – and the locals are even rougher – but they’ve never seen anything like this . . .

When a man is found gruesomely murdered in the local pub, all fingers point to the backpackers working behind the bar that night – two American girls who skipped town before the body was discovered.

Despite all the evidence against them, rookie cop Tara Harrison knows there must be more to this case than a pair of sorority sisters who couldn’t take a joke. She’s determined to uncover the truth, and is soon on the trail of a devastating secret that could tear her hometown apart.

But sorority sisters Lauren and Beth have their own dark secrets and they’ve made an oath to take them to the grave – which they will, all too soon, unless Tara can stop it .

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This is not a romance, but it is about love

Two kids meet in a hospital gaming room in 1987. One is visiting her sister, the other is recovering from a car crash. The days and months are long there. Their love of video games becomes a shared world — of joy, escape and fierce competition. But all too soon that time is over, fades from view.

When the pair spot each other eight years later in a crowded train station, they are catapulted back to that moment. The spark is immediate, and together they get to work on what they love – making games to delight, challenge and immerse players, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives. Their collaborations make them superstars.

This is the story of the perfect worlds Sadie and Sam build, the imperfect world they live in, and of everything that comes after success: Money. Fame. Duplicity. Tragedy.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow takes us on a dazzling imaginative quest as it examines the nature of identity, creativity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play and, above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love.

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The unforgettable memoir that redefines ‘she’ll be right’.

What’s it like to grow up in an Aussie family that has a man of every flavour? A bank robber, an infamous sports umpire, several different breeds of drug addict (collect the whole set!), a roster of crafty swindlers, an attempted murderer and the local town drunk. And what if you had a secret so ghastly that you feared it made you more disgraceful than all of your roguish ancestors combined?

Seven years ago, Ben was a millennial with a death wish. He was loveless, overweight, crashing in his parents’ rumpus room and blinking his life away in a haze of marijuana vape. Then one day Ben decided to change everything – starting with the Ben bit. Becoming Cadance was more than a gender transition: it was a transition in every way, fear to acceptance, from self-loathing to love, anger to kindness. She was determined to experience the all of it.

Written with dazzling creativity and exuberance, The All of It is a wild coming-of-gender memoir like no other. Tender, tragic, hilarious and life-affirming, it will leave you understanding a little more about trans people, rural Australia, family, millennials and the beautiful contradictions of our kaleidoscopic world.

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‘So you believed the alleged rapists over the alleged victim?’ Jane’s voice took on an indignant pitch. ‘Girls lie sometimes.’ I nodded. ‘And rapists lie all the time.’

When Senior Detective Antigone Pollard moves to the coastal town of Deception Bay, she is still in shock and grief. Back in Melbourne, one of her cases had gone catastrophically wrong, and to escape the guilt and the haunting memories, she’d requested a transfer to the quiet town she’d grown up in.

But there are some things you can’t run from. A month into her new life, she is targeted by a would-be rapist at the pub, and realises why there have been no convictions following a spate of similar sexual attacks in the surrounding district. The male witnesses in the pub back her attacker and even her boss doesn’t believe her.

Hers is the first reported case in Deception Bay, but soon there are more. As Antigone searches for answers, she encounters a wall of silence in the town built of secrets and denial and fear. The women of Deception Bay are scared and the law is not on their side. The nightmare has followed her home.

Chilling, timely and gripping, The Unbelieved takes us behind the headlines to a small-town world that is all too real – and introduces us to a brilliant new voice in crime fiction.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR @thebookdate #SundayPost @Kimbacaffeinate #SundaySalon @debnance #BloodSisters #TomorrowandTomorrowandTomorrow #AllofIt #TheUnbelieved

Review: Overboard by Sara Paretsky

 

Title: Overboard {V.I. Warshawski #21}

Author: Sara Paretsky

Published: 10th May 2022, William Morrow

Status: Read June 2022 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss

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My Thoughts:

 

Overboard is the 21st novel featuring iconic Chicago private detective, V.I. (Vic) Warshawski. The series, credited with transforming the role and image of women in crime fiction, written by award winning author Sara Paretsky made its debut 40 years ago, in 1982.

Vic is focused on three cases in this novel. The first involves a favour for her long term friend, Dr Lottie, who has asked her to investigate the harassment of a local synagogue. The second Vic stumbles into when, while walking her dogs along the foreshore, she discovers a badly beaten girl hidden amongst its rocky banks, who later vanishes from her hospital room under suspicious circumstances, and the third, a plea for help from a teenage boy who suspects his mother, whom Vic knew in highschool, is having an affair.

Readers who are familiar with series will know what to expect from Overboard. Vic is a methodical and dogged investigator who never backs down and is willing to take risks to defend the vulnerable and innocent. As adept at sifting through paperwork and databases, as she is committing the odd break-in, and fighting off attackers, Vic employs all her skills to resolve the mysteries she is faced with. I enjoy the complexity of concurrent cases, and the entertaining mix of tense action and intelligent investigation. Somewhat improbably, though not troublesomely so, VIc’s three cases also spawn loose links to, and between, a mobbed up developer, a corrupt cop, and elder care abuse.

I like that Paretsky references contemporary events within her storylines to ground them in time and place, and in Overboard she highlights several issues of the post-pandemic lockdown period, namely police violence and corruption, the rise of hate groups, and the societal changes wrought by CoVid, like the challenges of financial recovery and the use of masks.

Though Overboard can be read as a stand-alone as the plot is self contained, the story is definitely enhanced by familiarity with the characters and their world. I’d expect long time fans, like me, will enjoy and be satisfied with this new instalment.

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