This book won’t shock readers familiar with erotic fiction, but may provide an edge for those who aren’t. Despite parallels with Twilight, this novelThis book won’t shock readers familiar with erotic fiction, but may provide an edge for those who aren’t. Despite parallels with Twilight, this novel is darker and its conclusion isn’t as simple--nor as satisfying.
Note: The star rating here is different from the rating I gave in the magazine. This is because I selected the magazine rating based on the rating criteria provided by the editor. For Goodreads, I use my personal criteria, based on where I think the book sits according to my personal reading preferences....more
This is the book I have dubbed The Vomit Book. In summary: They fight, they drink, they puke, they save the farm. If you’re thinking of trying this auThis is the book I have dubbed The Vomit Book. In summary: They fight, they drink, they puke, they save the farm. If you’re thinking of trying this author, start with a different book.
I really, really wanted to like this book. The Family Farm’s blurb shows promise, but a slow plot and lacklustre romance make for a rather dull read.
II really, really wanted to like this book. The Family Farm’s blurb shows promise, but a slow plot and lacklustre romance make for a rather dull read.
I’m not sure what to say about this book, except that I was just so bored by the story and the characters. I think it’s partly Fiona Palmer’s writing style, which is a little more traditional than I prefer. If you like authors such as Anna Jacobs, this novel may certainly work for you; unfortunately, I don’t.
There’s something to Palmer’s story that could have turned out to be a great book, but I felt that lots of elements--character, plot, setting, dialogue--just didn’t come together tightly enough. There’s a lot of faff that don’t really go anywhere. I was disappointed by the romance, and the description of outback life left me underwhelmed.
If there’s one thing Red Dust does well, it’s capturing the beauty and roughness of outback Australia.
The premise is interesting, it’s set up well inIf there’s one thing Red Dust does well, it’s capturing the beauty and roughness of outback Australia.
The premise is interesting, it’s set up well in the beginning, and the procedural aspects seemed plausible. I love to read about how crime is investigated in the outback, and it’s particularly interesting in Red Dust because Billbinya is so huge -- no CSI-esque toenails-in-the-bathroom-rugclues here! Despite this, McDonald struggles to sustain the mystery throughout the book. There are too many hints along the way that a reader with some familiarity with crime fiction can easily decipher.
The romance is underdeveloped. Although I felt the sparks between Gemma and her love interest, McDonald doesn’t really show how their feelings progress, and how they come to be significant in each other’s lives. To be fair, the book is marketed as popular fiction, so perhaps my expectations around the love story was higher than it should’ve been.
Although there may not be enough romance or mystery to sustain genre readers, I’d recommend Red Dust for its faithfulness to the outback setting, seen through the eyes of a strong, pragmatic protagonist. I’m a city girl through and through, but I felt the heat and the grit and the roughness and, yes, the romance of the land as I read this book, and I’m looking forward to seeing how McDonald’s style develops in future books.
Yeldham's writing is often dull or didactic, and Kate’s internal narrative feels shallow. The moralising when it comes to the politics of the late 90sYeldham's writing is often dull or didactic, and Kate’s internal narrative feels shallow. The moralising when it comes to the politics of the late 90s and early 00s lacks any sort of subtlety, which is a shame because Kate only actually becomes interesting to me when she struggles to help the disadvantaged without alienating the local community. Some aspects of the plot didn’t ring true to me. Although I felt that Kate’s story was mildly interesting I didn’t see why I ought to care about any of it.
Not a terrible book, but the first part bored me. Woods’s writing is a little too old-fashioned for me and often the plot development didn’t mesh withNot a terrible book, but the first part bored me. Woods’s writing is a little too old-fashioned for me and often the plot development didn’t mesh with the changes in the characters. The switches in perspective aren’t always smooth, and the main characters can be irritating (the men especially so). I also noticed some typos, which is never a good.
The growth of Sarette's relationship with Magnus and her friendship with his friend and rival, Gerald, is sometimes unrealistic or inexplicable, but I could overlook these flaws and enjoy what Woods tries to do in the story. I just wish she had a more deft hand.
My biggest problem with this book is that I didn’t believe the characters knew they were in Victorian England. Gerald and Magnus don’t seem to take proper care of Sarette’s reputation, and for me that’s a massive no-no for a historical romance.
If you like gentler romances with a more old-fashioned writing style, it’s worth slogging through the first 40 or so pages when the story really gets cracking--as long as you’re not a stickler for historical accuracy and you can stomach the hardback price tag.
So begins the story of Grace, a woman with a peculiar problem: She counts -- everything. But when Grace meets Seamus, to her surprise'It all counts.'
So begins the story of Grace, a woman with a peculiar problem: She counts -- everything. But when Grace meets Seamus, to her surprise she suddenly finds herself forgetting to count.
Seamus sees past Grace’s condition and that in itself is beautiful, but it’s Grace’s responses that continually surprised and delighted me. There’s a part of Grace that welcomes her compulsion, and she faces detractors and sympathisers with defiance. Her enjoyment of numerical trivia is infectious and infused with humour at unexpected moments, making her internal monologues a treat to read. She takes offence, for example, at being likened to 'those crazy handwashers'.
It soon becomes apparent that Grace’s obsession with numbers stems from a childhood trauma. This unrelenting sense of discomfort in the narrative allows Jordan to layer the text and introduce currents of tension between Grace, Seamus, and Grace’s family.
Addition features a relatively strong romance. The love story is woven so subtly into Grace’s story that, without her realising it, Seamus becomes the catalyst for a series of events that cause Grace to question whether or not she’s happy with the life she’s living and to confront some very personal issues that underlie her condition.
My main issue with the story is the way Jordan chooses to portray Grace’s treatment. Watching Grace negotiate a completely new way of thinking and living and being is almost heartbreaking, as we see her slowly losing her connection with her world. It’s not the conflicts that I find disturbing but the either-or position that Grace takes. For me, the outcome was bittersweet.
And yet I loved this book. While the romance doesn’t dominate, it drives the story. Grace and Seamus are at times lovely, sad, thrilling, devastating and always unpredictable. It was an absolute pleasure to be in their company.
Months after I first picked up this book I was still thinking about it and digesting the story. It’s a much more accessibleFull review at Book Thingo.
Months after I first picked up this book I was still thinking about it and digesting the story. It’s a much more accessible book than On The Jellicoe Road, but no less complex, exploring dark emotions and relationships and situations that are not easily unravelled. The story is very much character-driven, with internal and external issues colliding and creating friction and opportunities for self-destruction or healing.
But what I love most about this book—indeed all of Marchetta’s work—is that the progress towards mending broken relationships happens in almost unnoticeable increments that aren’t fully recognisable until after multiple rereads. This, more than anything else, speaks to the richness and depth of Marchetta’s prose.
I was crying before I got to the end of chapter one, right through to the end, and I loved every minute of it....more