Monday 16 May 2022

Spotlight on books I've read over the last few months

 I've become so far behind in my reviews that I'm going to do a quick post with some short reviews of books I have recently read. I hope you find something here that takes your fancy.
Doom Creek (Nick Chester #2)
by Alan Carter

Published by Fremantle Press 
My review
I have previously enjoyed Alan Carter’s writing in his Cato Kwong series and Doom Creek, the second book in the Nick Chester series, didn’t let me down.

I was pulled into the story from the first few pages. The action never stops in this gritty crime novel and just when you think Carter has thrown everything at his main character he throws in another murder and a couple of personal tragedies for Nick to cope with.

Doom Creek is a must read for crime fans. Real characters, dark humour and the beautiful scenery of Havelock in the Marlborough district of New Zealand make this an entertaining read. 
With thanks to Beauty & Lace and the publisher for my copy to read.
This review first appeared on Beauty & lace website
The Weekend
by Charlotte Wood
Published by Allen & Unwin
My review
The Weekend has been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I don’t know why it seemed to get pushed to the bottom of the pile, it is an extraordinary read.
Four older women with a lifelong friendship. Each of them very different from each other but something drew them together all those years ago. But when one of the group dies the remaining three are left to face their failing bodies and their own mortality. Sylvie was the one to hold the group together. Can they survive without her?
The Weekend is a sharply observed look at friendship and ageing. Charlotte Wood’s nuanced characters and lyrical prose combine to deliver a heart-felt story that explores the changing dynamics of a decades long friendship group when one of the group passes away.
As the story develops the women’s thoughts were mainly on each other, their likes and dislikes but it soon changes to musings on their own lives, lost opportunities, lost loves and regrets.
The Weekend is a thought provoking read, confronting and clever, primarily highlighting the bond of friendship.  
Thank you to the publisher for my copy to read

Till Daph Do Us Part (Daphne Jones Mysteries #1)
By Phillipa Nefri Clark

Published by Self Published  

My review

Till Daph Do Us Part is the first book in a series starring Daphne Jones, a travelling celebrant who likes to do a bit of sleuthing on the side.

When someone is found dead at a wedding Daphne is officiating at she can't help but become involved in the investigation.

Daphne reminded me of Miss Marple, she has an eye for things out of place and people tend to open up to her.

This was a fun cosy mystery and I enjoyed Daphne's investigative process. The story had a couple of good twists that I didn't see coming.

If you enjoy light, fun, Miss Marple type reads, Till Daph Do Us Part will appeal.

With thanks to the author for my copy to read.

The Understudy
by Julie Bennett

Published by Simon & Schuster

My review

I found I was drawn into this story right from the beginning. Two opera singers; one at the top of her game the other, young and ambitious.

It’s 1973 and Margaret is the lead in Madama Butterfly to open at the newly built Sydney Opera House. Sophie is her understudy. She has her eye on the top and she has a plan and is prepared to do anything to succeed!
Told in a dual narrative by Margaret and Sophie, with both women having an air of mystery about them.
Living in Sydney myself I enjoyed all the mentions of the city landmarks and the headlines of the time. I can vividly remember the opening of the Opera House, the controversy over the design and going to see a performance with my school.
Julie Bennett has brought 1970’s Sydney to life through her meticulous attention to detail. 
The story travels back to 1953 and Margaret’s early years in a bohemian Wooloomooloo which was both poignant and fascinating.
There is an intriguing mystery at the centre of the story and it’s final reveal took me completely by surprise.
Lies, deception, jealousy and vengeance….. The Understudy is an intriguing read!
With thanks to Beauty & Lace and the publisher for my copy to read.
This review first appeared on Beauty & Lace website 


  1. I love Alan Carter's books but haven't read this one yet. Thansk for your review and can't wait to read it.

    1. I've enjoyed his books I've read and still have a couple on my shelf.

  2. Yes! I'm so glad you got to reading The Weekend - it's an incredible read.

  3. I have read Doom Creek and then I passed it on to my Dad. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Alan Carter.

    1. His Cato Kwong series is very good if you can get hold of them.