Review The Museum of Forgotten Memories- Anstey Harris

The Museum of Forgotten Memories

Anstey Harris

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471194610

RRP $29.99

Description:

*** The wonderful new novel from the acclaimed author of The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton ***

 

One summer.

One house.

One family learning to love again.

Cate Morris and her son, Leo, are homeless, adrift. They’ve packed up the boxes from their London home, said goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now they are on their way to ‘Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World – to stay just for the summer. Cate doesn’t want to be there, in Richard’s family home without Richard to guide her any more. And she knows for sure that Araminta, the retainer of the collection of dusty objects and stuffed animals, has taken against them. But they have nowhere else to go. They have to make the best of it.

But Richard hasn’t told Cate the truth about his family’s history. And something about the house starts to work its way under her skin.

Can she really walk away, once she knows the truth?

 

Praise for Anstey Harris

‘Glorious on so many levels’ A J Pearce, author of Dear Mrs Bird

‘Full of hope and charm’ Libby Page, author of The Lido

‘A hymn to friendship, to getting back up and finding happiness where none seemed possible’ Katie Fforde

‘An indulgently emotional and beautifully written story about new starts’ Daily Mail

‘Brilliantly and movingly written’ Dorothy Koomson

‘A beautifully tender portrait of the complexity of love, the depths of loneliness and the healing power of friendship’ heat

‘A gorgeously written, heartfelt tale about love and loss’ Good Housekeeping

‘Impressively powerful’ Claire Frost, Fabulous Magazine

‘As elegant and uplifting as a classical sonata, with added kick from its unforgettably quirky characters. I was both engrossed in and moved by this fabulous debut’ Catherine Isaac, author of R&J Book Club pick You Me Everything

‘A moving, beautifully written, uplifting debut about mending broken hearts through friendship. The twists and turns make it impossible to put down’ Sarah J. Harris

 ‘What a total joy!’ Fanny Blake

‘This book was so different from anything I’ve read before… it was beautiful, uplifting and really taught me a thing or two … The characters are diverse, the setting beautiful and the subject matter unique’ Fabulous Book Fiend

‘An absolutely beautiful read’ Heidi Swain

‘I adored this book! Exquisitely crafted, it’s a compassionate, heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting tale. An absolute triumph’ Fionnuala Kearney

 

My View:

Delightful!

 

I don’t know which element of this book I enjoyed the most; the characters are written with charm, eloquence and humanity, the settings are superb –  I could see the crockery shining on the table, the silverware polished, gleaming, the stately home in all its run down glory, the gardens, the statues, the exhibits, the clothes Leo wears…the towns people, the village….what an incredible story teller Anstey Harris is.

 

Then there is the narrative- complex yet simple to digest, heart-warming yet not saccharine, love stories, enduring and new and wrong and so right   – I inhaled this read in one sitting.

Brilliant.

Review: Please See Us – Caitlin Mullen

Please See Us

Caitlin Mullen

Gallery Books

Simon and Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781982152581

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

 In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.

 

Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.

 

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?

 

Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.

 

My View:

 “I shuffled the deck and the cards stuck together in the humidity…

 The card I drew was the Moon. The card for women. The card meant mystery, confusion, even insanity. But it could also mean knowing, intuition, or a sign that you needed to face what scared you the most…I also needed to believe that magic and meaning sometimes reached into our world. Or else there was just my life – the high school diploma I would never get, the shop, the mangy feral cats, the mother who never wrote anymore, Des coming home from a shift at the club with her pupils huge and glassy, rubbing at her nose.” (p35)

 

This is such a powerful bittersweet read that in its guise of a powerful, suspenseful, murder mystery sheds light on the insidious power of  addiction, of the role of women in society – the  judgement and expectations of “good” women and the “the other kind”,  the business of selling women’s’ bodies…using women bodies for self-gratification, a throw away commodity;

“There’s this flier someone was passing around at the club. One of the other girls gave it to me. A business opportunity.”

   “Okay…”

“Well, it’s this service, right? Where rich men are looking for to…take care of young, attractive women.”

“What do you mean, take care of?”

“Pay you to let them take them out on dates. Buy you nice things, take you out to good dinners”.

“They pay you to let them buy you stuff? Come on Des, that’s not all they’re paying for.” I had lived here my whole life; I’d seen how this kind of thing worked. Young women, in short dresses, getting into the back seats of strangers’ cars, disappearing into the night. In this town of people who wanted to win and drink and take? No way an opportunity for generosity was what they were paying for.” (p30,31)

 

This is such a powerful read and an outstanding murder/mystery.  Aside from the potent discussion about women’s role in society, the male gaze, addiction, women in poverty, mental health and post -natal depression, this is an intoxicating narrative that gives voice to the victims, to the dead. I loved how we got to know the victims before the path they trod led to their death.  The victims were seen for the potential they briefly held, for the innocents they once were, for the daughters, mothers, school kids, friends, family they had been before they became victims.

 

And this is Caitlin Mullen’s debut novel!!! What an exhilarating read. I cannot wait to read more from this author. I predict awards, lots of awards.

 

Review: The Janes – Louisa Luna

The Janes
An Alice Vega Novel
Text Publishing
ISBN:
9781922268495
RRP $29.99

Description:
The electric follow-up to Louisa Luna’s acclaimed thriller Two Girls Down, featuring private investigators Alice Vega and Max Caplan.

On the outskirts of San Diego, the bodies of two young women are discovered. They have no names, no IDs, and no family looking for them. Fearing the possibility of a human trafficking ring, the police and FBI reach out to Alice Vega, a private investigator known for finding the missing, for help in finding out who the Janes were–and finding the others who are missing.
Alice Vega is a powerful woman whose determination is matched only by her intellect, and, along with her partner Cap, she will stop at nothing to find the Janes before it is too late.
Louisa Luna is writing new classics of crime fiction, and her partnership of Vega and Cap is rightfully joining the pantheon of the most memorable in crime fiction.

My View:
I absolutely loved Two Girls Down, the first booking the Alice Vega series and then I read The Janes! What a fabulous sequel, another to add to my “Best of 2020 Crime Fiction Reads” list. Suspend your disbelief before you board this bone rattling, earth shaking, mind blowing, action packed read, destination, SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.

In the Alice Vega titles, Louisa Luna has created a memorable, heroic, female protagonist, Alice Vega – Vega is everything (and more) than the average, male, crime fiction good guy. I love this element of Luna’s work – her hero plays by the same rules as her villains – she is tough, smart, assertive with an aggressive bent. She is not held back by the rules that apply to law enforcement officers, she does as she needs to get results. Fast thinking and fast acting, she is compelled to help those who need her the most and she is not averse to breaking an arm, leg, nose or any other body part to achieve her end result.

Her counterpart is the likable and knowledgeable ex detective Max Caplan aka Cap. He is older, thoughtful, calm, and determined. Vega and Caplan are the perfect team – both compassionate and resolute in their endeavours to solve the most heinous crimes.

Luna has crafted a well written crime fiction narrative to subtly discuss contemporary social and political issues; human trafficking, forced prostitution, drug trafficking and the detention of “illegal immigrants”, corruption…to name a few. Luna tackles all the hard issues, deftly weaving them into this action-packed mystery.

If you are looking for your next exciting, page turning, stay up all night, read, look no further than this thrilling new series, the duo of Vega and Cap will keep you entertained until the very last word.

Review: The Good Turn – Dervla McTiernan

The Good Turn
Cormac Reilly #3
Dervla McTiernan
HarperCollins Australia
ISBN: 9781460756799

Description:
The unputdownable new novel from the bestselling author of The Ruin and The Scholar. Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected events that will prove to be linked by one small town.

While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.

For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

 

My View:
Faultless, brilliant, tense, complex…this book lives up to all the hype!

This, the third book in the Cormac Reilly series, is an outstanding, read in one sitting type of read!

I don’t know what else I can add to this review that you wouldn’t have already seen/read/heard somewhere else before. This is intricate story of corruption, of love and of vice and fortitude.

This book has definitely secured a place on my “Best reads of 2020” list. Do yourself a favour and immerse yourself in this series, you won’t regret it.

Review: Devestation Road – Joanna Baker

Devastation Road: (Beechworth Trilogy #1)
Joanna Baker
Soren Press
ISBN: 9781925786026

Description:
“An outstanding first novel” The Age

“Intelligent and sensitive.” Sisters in Crime

Winner of the Sisters in Crime Davitt Award

They should have seen who killed Debbie. The clues were in front of them the whole time. But sometimes the biggest mystery lies in the hearts of those closest to you.

Yackandandah, Victoria. A small and close-knit town where everyone knows their neighbour. Life here is dull, and safe. But eight years ago, out along Station Road, things started catching fire. Then a girl was killed, and someone got smart with the name.

Now it’s happening again. There’s a fire. Matt Tingle and Chess Febey find a friend, drowned in a pond.

Chess isn’t Matt’s friend. She’s one of those people you get stuck with – well meaning, total liability. But she knows how to answer questions, and there are plenty of those: Why are Tara and Wando afraid? What is the meaning of the amber necklace? How can a car be blue and white at the same time?

Before they can find the truth, Matt and Chess have to put themselves in danger, they have to look deep into themselves, and they have to reveal things about the past …

Other people’s secrets …
… and the truth about what happened all those years ago, on Devastation Road.

My View:
This New Year has brought forth a swag of excellent crime fiction/mystery, suspense reads and this read belongs in that swag!

What I Loved:
√  Interesting well-developed characters and settings.

  Great plotting and outcomes I didn’t expect.

   A build of tension and drama.

   Exciting introduction

Left me wanting more!!

Review: Long Bright River – Liz Moore

Long Bright River
Liz Moore
Penguin Random House Australia
Hutchinson London
ISBN:9781786331632

Description:
KENSINGTON AVE, PHILADELPHIA:

THE FIRST PLACE YOU GO FOR DRUGS OR SEX.
THE LAST PLACE YOU WANT TO LOOK FOR YOUR SISTER.

Mickey Fitzpatrick has been patrolling the 24th District for years. She knows most of the working women by name. She knows what desperation looks like and what people will do when they need a fix. She’s become used to finding overdose victims: their numbers are growing every year. But every time she sees someone sprawled out, slumped over, cold to the touch, she has to pray it’s not her sister, Kacey.

When the bodies of murdered sex workers start turning up on the Ave, the Chief of Police is keen to bury the news. They’re not the kind of victims that generate a whole lot of press anyway. But Mickey is obsessed, dangerously so, with finding the perpetrator – before Kacey becomes the next victim.
_____________________________________
‘A remarkable, profoundly moving novel about the ties that bind and the irrevocable wounds of childhood. It’s also a riveting mystery, perfectly paced. I loved every page of it.’ DENNIS LEHANE

My View:
I predict awards, awards, awards for this book! This is an amazing read, this is what you discover when literary fiction collides with crime fiction – a full on, unstoppable narrative that is poignant, simultaneously heartbreaking yet uplifting, engaging; writing that is brilliantly constructed, complex not complicated, AND then there is the slow building tension of the unsolved crimes that escalates into a teeth clenching, heart racing conclusion. What a read!

I have been reviewing books/blogging my reviews since 2013 and I cannot think of any other read that comes close to this. This book is already in my “best of 2020 reads”, possibly my BEST read, ever.

I think you should read this book.

Review – Alphaprints Australian Animals: Mothers and Babies – Roger Priddy

ALPHAPRINTS AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS MOTHERS AND BABIES

BOARD BOOK

 Roger Priddy

Priddy Books

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781783419418

RRP $12.99

 

Description:

The much-loved Alphaprints animals, created using painter fingerprints and photographs of everyday images, are back with some hilarious results!

 

Alphaprints Australian Animals: Mothers & Babies introduces young children to Australian animals and their cute little babies, using fun rhyming text and engaging artwork to make the reading experience bright, impactful and colourful.

 

With embossing on every page, this delightful board book is filled with adorable Australian animals that children will love to look at again and again.

 

 

My View:

This is a beautifully crafted book with embossing that begs you to touch each illustration. With its colourful cheeky designs you and your toddler will enjoy sharing this read. A book created just for the Australian and New Zealand market, so relevant – I love it! This book is engaging, cheerful, tactile and fun and I love that this is a board book – so easy for little finger to hold and turn pages.