Category Archives: Ireland

No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride -a review

no less the devilNo Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride

Introducing an original and intriguing new lead character, Stuart MacBride’s new novel showcases a crime-writing master at the top of his game.

‘We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.’

It’s been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.

Now isn’t the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn’t have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one’s ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he’s back on the streets again – battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy ‘They’ are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.

It sounds like paranoia, but what if he’s right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy’s ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn’t the only monster out there? And what’s going to happen when Lucy goes after them?

Published 3 May 2022|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

I was excited to receive this book in the mail since I was totally in the mood for a crime read. While I’ve heard of this author, I’ve yet to read any of his books so while I can’t tell his fans if this new book is as good as his other books, I can tell you that I’m keen to explore his backlist now.

Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh appears to be the standard protagonist of a police procedural novel in that she’s like a dog with a bone when presented with a case and she is broken. There’s something in her past which we learnt of later on in the novel. She mostly gets along with her team and has a loyal partner though he seems a lot younger and immature in comparison to her. Herein lies the humour which breaks the bleakness of the novel and I really enjoyed the dynamics between these two.

I was caught by surprise by some of the language and maybe that’s because I’ve never read his books before or maybe I don’t read enough Scottish books but I don’t think I’ve ever heard some of these words before: hurple (I love the sound of this word! Say it out loud to yourself and see what I mean), clarted (only cuz it rhymes with farted – I’ve been hanging out too much with my boys), dunt, sook (as in ‘sucking a cigarette’ and not ‘being a sook’), etc. This may be a reason in itself to read more of MacBride’s!

What started as a pretty solid police procedural changed in a somewhat unpredictable way approximately 3/4 through the novel. At first, I wasn’t sure if I like this change because it turned into a psychological thriller which I’m not a fan of… I didn’t mind the ending but I’m still not sure whether I like it or not; maybe that’s TBD after I read the sequel 🤣

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  | facebook  |  website  |  twitter

Review: With All My Love

With All My Love by Patricia Scanlan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected proof provided by Simon and Schuster via The Reading Room.

I read over 200+ books in a year and I’m in my early thirties so really by now, I should know that when someone told me that it’s a heart-warming novel that it will be a gut-wrenching, tear-ducts-squeezing, and heart-lightening sort of tale. I wasn’t feeling the best this week and mid-reading, I was questioning myself why I’m reading a book that tightened the feelings in my heart but of course, in the end, it works wonders as a balm to my blue week.

An old letter, forgotten and shoved away, fell out of a photo album and tore open the past. Valerie thought she had put the past behind and closed all the doors but this discovery of a letter addressed to her daughter, Briony, has brought all the memories back vividly and is a threat to their relationship as a family. A decision of the past, made in anger, with long reaching consequences has haunted her and now she may lose the most precious thing in her life. To save her family, and herself, Valerie needed to confront the past and resolve this enmity between herself and Briony’s grandmother, Tessa.

Valerie and Tessa never truly got on. Tessa loved her youngest son, Jeff, and wished him all the best things in the world but she just wasn’t sure if Valerie was the best thing for him. Valerie loved Jeff like no other before or after and she felt keenly of Tessa’s dislike of her. She also thought that Tessa was interfering in their lives a little too much. Whilst a truce was called after the birth of Briony, Jeff’s death brought both women to say unforgivable things to each other. A rift, larger than before, was formed with neither party willing to negotiate.

The story was mostly told from the perspective of Valerie with tonnes of flashbacks as to what had happened to bring her to her current predicament. There are two sides to every story though and we, as readers, are also given bits and pieces of Tessa’s perspective to allow understanding. Whilst her perspective told me enough to understand her side of the story, I did wish for more, for a flashback to Tessa’s younger self and what she went through.

A novel which tells the strength of women in all kinds of trials and the power of forgiveness with stories that will resonate with all women in all stages of life. Whether you are young and in love, a young mother, a single mother, a mother with grown children, a grandmother, etc, this novel will speak to each part of your life. I am a young mother myself and yet I found myself nodding, chuckling & tutting, sympathising with all the women (3 generations worth) in this novel. This is not a novel you’d read for the surprising or shocking revelations, but to enjoy every aspects of womanhood with all that entails.

Thank you, Simon and Schuster and The Reading Room for providing copy of book in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews

Above the Starry Frame by Helen Townsend

Above the Starry Frame3.5 Stars

A beautiful story of life – the lives of the migrant and those left behind.  Helen Townsend found a collection of letters belonging to her great grandfather, William Irwin – an Irishman who escaped from poverty and made something of himself in his new home.  These letters inspired the author to write an imaginative story of how her great grandfather’s life was starting from his migration to Australia.

William Irwin was just eighteen years old when his family sent him away to what they hoped would be a better life.  Well educated by his village’s standard but otherwise quite naïve.  He found life in the colony fascinating, hard-going, yet better than what it was at home.  Of course, he missed home, his parents, and siblings especially his little sister, Eliza.

As life did not go the way he wants, he and a friend decided to risk all and join the goldrush.  In time, he became a successful businessman (a ‘hotelier’) in Ballarat.  He never returned to Ireland and he rarely wrote – although he still pines for the Ireland that was.  I found this quite saddening yet true to the feelings of migrants in general (being one myself).

William Irwin lived through the times of change – having to learnt some changes himself.  He was involved in the goldrush, saw the Eureka Stockade, debated on democracy, and was torn between religions (Protestants vs. Catholics).  This last bit I found fascinating, being not Irish myself and set in my faith yet being brought up in today’s supposedly tolerant society, here they (Irish migrants) are in a new world away from home yet it was still a very big issued; it was a balancing act for William -torn between family and religion.

The story was told from two perspectives: William Irwin and that of his sister, Eliza Irwin.  William led a life full of love, laughter and children yet his cup was also full of trouble, loss, and sadness.  Eliza led a life of firstly dissatisfaction and then learnt contentment.  All in all, this story is about life, real life.

I felt let down with the ending and again I’ll remind my readers that I’m just an emotional rating but I will just note that it is what it is and that’s life…