The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The Stolen Girls (Detective Lottie Parker #2)The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These mysteries grow on me, and I can’t help but like them despite the characters all being so over-the-top stereotypical. I liked the first of this series enough to give the second book a go, and I wasn’t disappointed.

It picks up almost where it left off, and I admire the author’s ability to not shy away from the emotional trauma the characters have faced. None have had a proper recovery in such a short space of time – and I like that the busy life of a working, single, mum is shown realistically.

The theme of the series so far, seems to hinge on not knowing what our children are really up to. It has clever use of social media and other online apps that children use, that parents are often not aware of the uses for. And unlike a lot of novels that try to use technology as part of the story, this is actually a realistic use of technology for the older teens portrayed.

This instalment was quite graphic in it’s descriptions of the girls being held, and sometimes that was uncomfortable, but never too much. I thought the tie-in to organ harvesting was really well thought out, and was written really well.

The author grappled with the asylum seeker issue, and did it surprisingly well. The overcrowding and corruption within private companies that are allowed to hold asylum seekers in appalling conditions, was an excellent backdrop for this novel and added a rich layer for the readers.

I really enjoy the way the author puts almost all the characters out there from about a quarter of the way through, so you really are with the detectives as they go through the process of eliminating each suspect, and I didn’t really have a clue who the killer was until the author wanted me to.

I’ll definitely be reading the next instalment when it is released later this year.

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Jane Eyre


It is almost an obsession how much I love this book. As you can see, I even bought gloves from Storiart ( with the text of Jane Eyre on them because I love it so much.

Every year or two I will read this amazing novel, and with each new read I find something else to love about it. This year, I treated myself to a beautiful hard-copy edition of this glorious book to read from – and it was worth every cent! The pages were weighted so nicely, the font was just to my liking, it made my Jane experience that much more fulfilling than any other year.

Why do I love this story so much? My partner asked me this as he viewed my new copy (I have about four other copies, as I said – it’s an obsession). Where to even begin!

Jane Eyre is a character who I feel connected with to my very soul, I feel like her character was written precisely to speak to me as a kindred spirit. Her fierce independence and want to be herself. Her adamant stance that she would rather be happy with herself and lonely, than to be someone else, is a trait that I live by.

“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” – Jane Eyre

Many women reading this from the time it was written, would have read those words and felt them. How amazing it is to be whole in ourselves and not give parts of ourselves away just for acceptance.


I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” – Jane Eyre

I love this quote, because we must be able to love ourselves most. We cannot be happy with others if we are unable to be content with who we are. It is a trait that I wish to uphold, and Jane always inspires me to keep to my course in this.

Mr Rochester steals my heart with his love of Jane, his clumsy ideas at how to make her love him are delightful – and his despair at his life’s choices are heartbreaking. Obviously, being a modern day reader, I need to cast my mind back to the idea that once married you are in it forever. That notion is hard for me to accept, but it creates such a conflict for the characters that it is a wonderful plot device.

There is little credit for Mr Rochester in him taking Adele as a ward and having her educated, but to me it is a lovely added trait to his caring nature that he wants to explore further with Jane.

I really dislike St John Rivers, I find him too harsh and stern. However, the description of his controlling nature over Jane is fascinating to read. Charlotte Bronte captures the essence of a relationship in which a woman feels she cannot say no to anything asked of her, for fear of the disappointment or anger at her doing so. There are only a few paragraphs, but they are very poignant, and if Jane weren’t so strong in herself, then her outcome would have been very different.

“As for me, I daily wished more to please him; but to do so, I felt daily more and more that I must disown half my nature, stifle half my faculties, wrest my tastes from their original bent, force myself to the adoption of pursuits for which I had no natural vocation. He wanted to train me to an elevation I could never reach; it racked me hourly to aspire to the standard he uplifted. The thing was as impossible as to mould my irregular features to his correct and classic pattern, to give to my changeable green eyes the sea-blue tint and solemn lustre of his own.” – Jane Eyre

In this way, the reader can see that Jane has had other options for love and prospects – which makes her choice of Mr Rochester all the more pleasing. It’s pleasing because she chooses him for his matching of mind to hers, and that she does so from the position of an experienced place. She has experienced love where it is not enough to be herself, compared to the love she knows from Mr Rochester where he wants her to be nothing more that who she is.

I admire Jane, and I adore Charlotte Bronte for bringing this amazing character to life for me.


Goodwood by Holly Throsby

GoodwoodGoodwood by Holly Throsby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I was caught up in the mystery and even though I had an idea the ending would be as it was, it wasn’t a definitive guess until the end.
The characters were fantastic in their depth and mannerisms, each one of them bringing more and more to the little town of Goodwood. A few characters were so stereotypical in their portrayal I was starting to get annoyed and wonder why only a few were so overdone – but it actually served a plot purpose and so I was surprisingly happy with that nice little tie-in.
It was a well thought-out and delivered story, I even laughed out loud (which is rare for me).
The one area that bothered me was the author really, really seemed caught on the idea of a town sliding into mourning and sadness as a whole. Which is a great visual idea, but it was like the author couldn’t articulate it just right for herself – so just kept trying and trying for the first half of the book. Whenever the story lulled there would be this inevitable paragraph or two on the town being sad when it never had been. Overall though, it wasn’t annoying enough for me to start skimming – so I’m being pretty picky!
The emerging love of 17yr old Jean was a slow and lovely sub-plot that unfurled and offset the sadness around the town. I thought it was great that there were older teens doing things actual older teens do in this book!
The writing style was so easy-to-read and Australian in a way I could absolutely relate to. I found it to be a small town, country version of a Moriarty story – how could I not love that!

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Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Our Souls at NightOur Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’d give this 3.5 if I could.
It was hard getting used to the writing style, I find it incredibly pretentious to decide to not use quotation marks when characters are speaking. It’s also really annoying over a whole paragraph – so that in itself was enough to make me feel not as kindly towards this book as I could have.

However, the story was told so simply and beautifully that I managed to forget about the punctuation and enjoy the tale. It had a lovely pace, and was told in such a way that I felt those characters – like I knew them, because they were so close to how my grandparents behaved.

Having said that, the incredibly old-fashioned views asserted in the book really grated on me. Even for a small town, I couldn’t imagine that much gossip in a bad way. Also, Gene’s attitude was astounding and horrible to read. I ended up feeling for Jamie, and in a way understand Addie’s decision.

Louis was a wonderful character, and his role so underplayed by Gene, and even by Addie.

That’s what made this hard for me to like, the ending was so unsatisfactory on so many different levels. And I couldn’t really make sense of the rush at the end to have it that way – there was no build up for it and I just couldn’t get beyond that.

Beautifully written, but let down by a terrible story-arc in my opinion.

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Release by Patrick Ness

ReleaseRelease by Patrick Ness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first Patrick Ness I’ve read where I’m a little torn over the ending.
I literally loved the story-arc of Adam’s day, it contained a wealth of emotion and experience. That a lot of it was unresolved leads me a little to my overall feelings – but the point was not to resolve these experiences, but to highlight them. I understand that, and I now get to think about the resolutions I would like to have had, and what they probably would have been.
I love the realness, the ideas of sex, the weight of first-love, and the ways in which we find ourselves alone – or at least feel that way – and how we deal with that.
I’m torn over the second story that was told, that definitely had a place, but I think that place wasn’t as firmly linked to Adam’s as it could have been. Drug abuse in small towns is something that needs talking about, and this was a really clever way of showing the two-sides of the town we were in. But the story of the rose and where it ends up would have been a lot more powerful had there been even one small coming together of the two stories at some point before that. For me, there needed a bit of a stronger connection between the two stories.
I’ll certainly be putting this on the ‘must-read’ shelf for my children when they hit the YA reading level, and would encourage anyone with a 15-16+ child to consider giving it to them to read.

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