Category: Uncategorized


The Ghosts of Kali Oka Road

by M.L. Bullock

I read this book for Popsugar prompt 36 A ghost story
The prompt is the only reason I would read a ghost story and I am not unhappy that I did

A team of paranormal investigators solve a crime and add Cassidy to their group. Cassidy is a woman who has dreams (or are they visions?) and needs to paint what she sees. These paintings are clues to crimes past and present.

All very paranormal and spooky.

The story bounces along but it possibly a bit thin for the sake of brevity. So too are the characters.
But this is the first in a series so perhaps character development is still to come.

If this kind of thing is your kind of thing, this book is worth adding to your TBR pile. For me it was probably a once-off just because it is not my style and not because of anything being wrong with the book.
Although that being said I do have the second one available and it may be an in-between read for me, for when my brain is tired and needs an easy experience.

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Ghost Wall

by Sarah Moss

I read this for Popsugar Book 37: A book with a two word title

This is quite an odd little book that takes you on a lovely little walk down a country road.
It then starts throwing things at you making you uncomfortable, but still happy to be going on the walk because it is lovely
And then it punches you in the face and walks away, leaving you reeling and shocked

In a Lord of the Flies way, this book suggests that when separated from the rules of society, even if only barely, people become the most concentrated version of themselves. And that’s not a version people need to see really.

The brow beaten become weaker, the possibly confused face their options, and the mean become horrible bullies, encouraging others to release that part of themselves.

There are all sorts of interesting feminist themes in this book. Sylvie and her parents spend part of their summer holiday with a group of students reenacting life in the Iron Ages. Or rather, the men’s view of that in which women do all the work and they, the men, play at soldiers in the woods. Sylvie and the only female student get less and less okay with the way things are going and start to question how they are being treated.
This all culminates in some very weird, abusive behaviour by the men, with Sylvie being forced to consent because, as is so often the case, she doesn’t want to make a fuss.

A pretty messed up story that is dark and haunting, and very well written

Moss strokes you with her words, lulling you into a sense of dappled forests and cool streams, when really rabbit skulls and beatings are going on.
I am deliciously disturbed by this book – I like how my brain feels after reading it.
I may read this again actually – the writing will be worth enjoying without having to focus on the narrative

by Bunmi Laditan

I read this book for the #ReadHarder prompt of a humour book.
And it was humourous – even had my snorking once or twice.

I am not a parent but spent my 20s being a nanny for the spawn of others so a lot of this made sense to me. Laditan is exactly the kind of mother I would have been friends with as we all sat, bored out of our brains, watching little kids throw sand at each other in the park.

She hams it up quite a bit in this book, but that’s the point really. This is not a memoir of raising a toddler – it is a funny look at what complete shits they can be sometimes.

Funny, relatable and easy to read, this book will have you smiling and possibly even giggling.

by Willow Rose

This is my book for Book 23 – A book set in Scandinavia

A journalist and a photographer get involved with the tracking of a serial killer when she (the journalist) starts to suspect that a series of murders have been committed by the same person.

Rebekka Franck has returned to her hometown to stay with her dad after she and her daughter had to escape her crazy husband. Working for the local, tiny, newspaper puts her in contact with Sune, the odd, punk photographer. They form an unlikely but solid team as they accidentally get involved in the solving of these rather gruesome murders.

This is a pretty twisted story that will keep you engaged until the killer is revealed.

Will to Live

by Rachel Amphlett

No challenge prompt, I read this because I have, one one book become a drooling addict, devouring Amphlett’s words when I should be working/playing/sleeping

Another cracker from Amphlett

I read (well, listened to) this book immediately upon finishing the first in the series, and it did not disappoint.
This time DC Kay Hunter links and then solves what appears to be suicides but are they really?

As the reader you are with Hunter, up and down avenues of inquiry, even the wrong ones. It’s like real life!
The great reveal at the end had me unsure of who the baddie was right up until we are explicitly told. Amphlett’s misdirects are so casual and understated that I was not sure if it was a misdirect – you can usually tell when a writer wants you to believe something, and so you obviously don’t (in crime fiction, obviously). But Amphlett has a perfect poker face –
I am always asking ‘was that a clue? was i supposed to think it was a clue? does she think i will think its a clue? reverse psychology? aaaaargh!!! I don’t know!!!’

I gobbled this book up in 36 hours, while working and running my life. I drove the long way home so I had more time to listen, I did way more quiet housework, squeezing a few minute of listening between meetings and deadlines.
And like an addict I have the next two lined up, ready to press play. I am trying to resist, terrified I will over indulge and stop enjoying the books as much – but I am also so eager to dive in again.

Damn you Amphlett – I may just gorge myself on all seven and then feel bereft

Scared to Death

by Rachel Amphlett
I am counting this for Book 4 of Popsugar – a book I think should be made into a movie.
I am bending this rule a little because it is a bit vague – I think this book, and i suspect the series, would make amazing television.
 
A good, tight, gripping crime story, this books is disturbing and gruesome, and will have you hanging on for every word.
I couldn’t stop consuming it
I experienced this book as a audiobook and literally rewarded myself with a chapter if I did two hours of work! I could so easily have just ignored the world and gobbled it up in one sitting.
 
I liked the main character – DS Kay Hunter, and am so glad she is a functional human being and in a solid relationship. Enough with the hard boiled, drunk divorced coppers! Hunter is human but don’t be mistaken into thinking that makes her weak. She is a dedicated cop and detective who faces the horror of the crime she solves without flinching.
 
I also really liked the way Amphlett let us know enough of the back story of Hunter and her team without that becoming the focus. Just like when you meet a person in real life, things are slowly revealed. This gives Hunter and this series a chance to grow and develop.
 
The story in this book is about a school girl who is kidnapped and discovered dead. This is no spoiler – it happens at the start. Hunter is not happy with the idea that this was a kidnapping gone wrong, and so begins her investigation. What is finally revealed is horrifying and possible – a combination that will make your hair stand on end.
 
I think this book, and the series, would make really good television. The BBC needs to get onto this – 4/6 episodes per book – I’d watch that!!
 
I finished this book and went immediately and bought the second one. I have worked for 2 hours so I am now off to listen to another chapter of that book – Will To Live.

by Rachel Amphlett

I am counting this for Book 4 – a book I think should be made into a movie.
I am bending this rule a little because it is a bit vague – I think this book, and i suspect the series, would make amazing television.
 
A good, tight, gripping crime story, this books is disturbing and gruesome, and will have you hanging on for every word.
I couldn’t stop consuming it
I experienced this book as a audiobook and literally rewarded myself with a chapter if I did two hours of work! I could so easily have just ignored the world and gobbled it up in one sitting.
 
I liked the main character – DS Kay Hunter, and am so glad she is a functional human being and in a solid relationship. Enough with the hard boiled, drunk divorced coppers! Hunter is human but don’t be mistaken into thinking that makes her weak. She is a dedicated cop and detective who faces the horror of the crime she solves without flinching.
 
I also really liked the way Amphlett let us know enough of the back story of Hunter and her team without that becoming the focus. Just like when you meet a person in real life, things are slowly revealed. This gives Hunter and this series a chance to grow and develop.
 
The story in this book is about a school girl who is kidnapped and discovered dead. This is no spoiler – it happens at the start. Hunter is not happy with the idea that this was a kidnapping gone wrong, and so begins her investigation. What is finally revealed is horrifying and possible – a combination that will make your hair stand on end.
 
I think this book, and the series, would make really good television. The BBC needs to get onto this – 4/6 episodes per book – I’d watch that!!
 
I finished this book and went immediately and bought the second one. I have worked for 2 hours so I am now off to listen to another chapter of that book – Will To Live.
by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui
I read this book for Popsugar prompt 21 – a book by two female authors
 
This is the awful but also inspiring story of a ten year old who demanded a divorce from her 30-something abusing rapist of a husband.
The fact that 9 and 10-year olds are sold to much older husbands by their fathers in the 21st century is too ghastly to contemplate. But it happens. Every single day.
 
Nujood was not an unusual Yemen girl in that respect, but where she was unusual was in having the opportunity and strength to fight against it. This little girl got herself to the court, demanded to see a judge and explained that she wanted a divorce.
 
How this little girl was brave enough to even try this is beyond me. That she found a sympathetic judge and a feminist lawyer changed, and actually saved, her life.
 
This is not a very detailed account of what happened and Delphine Minoui (the co-author)’s voice is a little too loud but it is still very readable and important. I do wonder if it would have been possible for Minoui not to take over the telling of the story seeing as Nujood was an uneducated unworldly 10-year old. I am not sure but would have liked more of a sense of the child in all of what was going on.
 
It amaze me that that such terribly violently patriarchal societies can produce little girls like Nujood. An astounding child!

By Skylar Kergil

This is my book for #readharder prompt 18

An interesting, personal and readable account of one trans man’s journey.
Skylar is very clear through that this is his journey and his alone. I think his point that trans folk are not a homogenous group is so relevant and important.
There is a tendency among cis folk to assume all trans experiences are the same, all lives similar and all sensibilities identical. What a ridiculous thing to think! No other group is assume to have identical members, not even identical twins!
I found Skylar’s telling of his experiences to be open, honest and revealing. He talks about how he experienced and processed life both before and after transition. I felt particularly moved by his slow realization of what he was feeling, and of what it actually meant. It must be so scary and confusing to not have the words or concepts for how you are feeling, and not know you are not alone. Both Skylar and I hope that that is now different for trans kids, or at least some of them.

I also really loved the fact that he knows that just because he is okay with discussing some aspects of his life does not mean all trans folk are, or that even he, as a fellow trans person, has the right to ask questions. Cis people need to learn that respect.

Interesting book That taught me a thing or two. Amazing young man is this Skylar.

by Justin Torres

My book for Book 46 of Popsugar – this book has no chapter numbers, just names. It is also a debut novel and about family

I really liked this book.

The animals of the title are three brothers, all very close in age. Through snippets of their life, we are exposed to the joys and difficulties they lived.
This book is an interesting mix of quite vague and very specific writing.
As the reader we gather so much information obliquely. The snippets are not linear narratives, but really just moments, often remembered in pieces and ideas, rather than as sequential stories. Like real memory really.
But within these moments shared are very detailed tiny jewels, descriptive phrases that put you right there, in the moment, possibly as untethered as the young boy telling the story. Creaking of floors, slamming of doors, sucking of bleeding fingers, all so visceral I felt like I was hearing the same sounds, tasting the same blood.

As the reader we learn of this family, a Puerto Rican father and his wife, who is described as lighter but not given a nationality, and their three sons. We learn of jobs lost and broken down cars, we experience the parents frustration at being poor and the boys’ joy in simple things. We see the gap between how kids see the world and how adults do, especially when things are hard. And we empathize with all the characters – each is doing what they can with what they have, and screwing up along the way, as people do.

A book well worth reading with characters that linger.

The Break

by Katherena Vermette

I read this for 19. A book told from multiple POVs

A interesting and very engaging book about family and support, about who we turn to in times of trouble, and about about how people are treated by the system.

When Stella sees an assault outside her window one bleak winter’s night, a chain of events and reactions are set off that draws a family together and sorts the wheat from the chaff, emotionally speaking.

Each chapter in the book is told from a different point of view, mostly the women of the multi-generational family. Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, best friends – they are all entwined with each other; the result of each other and part of the reason for each other. At the start, the entanglement is not even obvious but as we read more of the story, so how these women are connected becomes clearer, and tighter for them.

But this is no gentle bonding experience – this book tells of lives which are hard and harsh and violent as much as they are filled with laughter and love.

The fact that this is a First Nations author writing about First Nation people gives it a unique setting and tone for readers who have not experienced this before. And for me that was wonderful. Too often the setting and past experiences of characters are so familiar to me, as a white western reader, as to be quite uninspiring. It was refreshing, but not always pleasant, to be reminded that my version of life is just that – a version. It is not the life everyone leads. That being said, this book does not seek to educate or anything- it is simply a story told authentically from a frame of reference not shared often enough.

The otherness of the reader is their business, not that of the author or the characters. The reader is other, not them.

I really enjoyed this book with only a slight drop in my wonder of it at the very end. I wasn’t the greatest fan of the end but that didn’t detract at all – and had I known when I started what I know now about the end, I would still have read the book.

Worth reading, worth thinking about and worth watching for other books by Vermette. I am interested in what she does next.

5 stars!!!