library.SCOTCH

Year

Kate Flowers

Waiting for release

Currently Reading

Previous Reads

My Review - Nemesis Games

I was highly stressed reading Nemesis Games because for the first time in the series the crew temporarily splits up to see to some personal issues whilst the Rocinante is docked at Tycho station for months of extensive repairs following the voyage to Ilus. Holden remains with the ship while Naomi heads to Ceres to help a family member, Alex decides to visit Mars and try to make amends with his ex-wife and Amos travels to Earth following the death of a friend. During their separation the OPA, who until now have been involved in relatively small-scale conflicts, unleashes chaos throughout the solar system and this novel ends with a great sense of foreboding as we are given a brief hint of something happening beyond the ring gates. While all of the novels in the series have had plot links, this book is the first part of a major story arc which is likely to span at least a couple of books. Thankfully, the sixth book is already out and I can continue reading straight away.

My Review - Force of Nature

This is the second crime novel featuring Federal Agent Aaron Falk. Falk and his partner are investigating the suspect finances of a family-owned accounting firm when their contact goes missing whilst on a three-day teambuilding hike with colleagues from her workplace. The stories of the hike and of the search and investigation are told in tandem, which adds to the momentum of the story, particularly over the last 100-150 pages as the hikers start to panic and despair. Once again, Harper has written a highly atmospheric novel - the claustrophobic feel of the dense Australian bush is undeniable, as is the sense of unease that is generated by references to a fictional serial killer who had operated in the area 20 years earlier, one reminiscent of Ivan Milat. Recommended for older teens and adults who enjoy crime stories and Australian stories.

My Review - The Shepherd's Hut

I have to admit that aside from Lockie Leonard, I don't enjoy Tim Winton's books. The excessive use of Australian slang in The Shepherd's Hut was unrealistic and would limit the novel's appeal in other countries where at least 80% of the book wouldn't be understood. I grew up in the country and we use a lot of slang but I've never heard anything to the extent of that used by Jaxie - it's just playing on an Australian stereotype. The internal monologue for the first third of the book as Jaxie runs from Monkton felt tedious and it's not until he crosses paths with Irishman Fintan MacGinnis out in the remote wilderness that the story started to get interesting for me. The harshness and vastness of the Australian outback was very well rendered but the conclusion of the story felt rushed. Recommended for senior students and adults as it was quite a dark, brutal book that contained domestic violence, an unconventional relationship, the hunting and slaughtering of animals (although it was for survival), violence, and frequent coarse language.

My Review - Tempests and Slaughter

I have been waiting for years for the release of The Numair Chronicles, which are about the early years of the mage Arram Draper before he takes on the name of Numair Salmalin. Numair first appeared in Tamora Pierce's The Immortals series in the early to mid-nineties. I was a bit disappointed in this book, I think because he was such a great adult character and this is pretty much just the story of him as a young boy going to mage school-university and learning his craft whilst fending off the usual school bullies who are jealous of his talents. There are interesting little pockets in the story when his teachers take him outside the university and put his magical skills to the test in real-world scenarios instead of just practising them in the classroom, and we see signs of his friend Prince Ozorne's instability and cruelty, but the climax of the story seemed a bit odd. I felt the story should have continued following the Faziy/lightning snakes mystery (which we get the impression will happen in the next book) rather than switching to the brief gladiator escape attempt, which felt anticlimactic. It definitely felt like the book was heavily focused on establishing the background for the trilogy. Recommended for students aged 10-12 who enjoy the fantasy genre.

My Review - Cibola Burn

Book four of The Expanse dealt with the political issues around interplanetary colonisation. The discovery that the Ring is a gateway to thousands of planets that may be habitable excites humanity, leading to a clash between Belter refugees from Ganymede and a UN-sanctioned scientific exploration company, Royal Charter Energy (RCE). The main characters have been so well created that I was feeling their frustrations myself. The bickering between the refugees and the RCE security forces was excruciating and I was dying for Holden to take a lesson from Amos and shoot a few specific people so that they could start making progress. We saw the return of Miller's former partner from Ceres Station, Havelock, as part of the RCE security team and the introduction of Basia as one of the refugees who resorts to terrorist tactics. Once again we discover that there are bigger things going on in the universe but that humanity is too consumed by its petty selfishness to learn. I felt that there were too many interludes with The Investigator and they were very repetitive - I would have been happy with just two or maybe three. I was also very disappointed that we only got the briefest of appearances from former Martian marine Bobbie Draper, however, it does appear that she'll have a major role in book five.

My Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz

This was an intriguing book to read, especially as it was based on the true stories of the two central characters, Lale and Gita. I hadn't really thought about who tattooed the numbers on the prisoners at Auschwitz before and had assumed it was the Germans who worked there. To discover that it was the job of several Jewish prisoners was shocking, despite already knowing that some prisoners took on jobs in the camps that would have been abhorrent under normal circumstances, but were a means of survival for many (such as the Sonderkommando). Mengele's appearances were chilling, especially as I had the background knowledge of the experiments he'd conducted, and the scene of the prisoners being forced to play a 'friendly' game of soccer with the SS guards whilst the ash from the crematoria rained down on them was haunting. The inclusion of factual information about several of the people who were featured in the story was interesting but I felt Cilka's fate was unjustified, unless there was additional information that was left out of the story. The book was easy to read and I finished it in about six hours, but I felt the ending was rather rushed following the abandonment of Auschwitz and Birkenau as the Russian troops advanced. Recommended for older teens and adults who are interested in war and survival stories. Morris is also writing Cilka's Story, which is due out in July 2019 and I will certainly be reading that too.

My Review - Abaddon's Gate

Book 3 of The Expanse was a little bit of a slog in places. The Rocinante's four-month-long trip out to the ring with a news crew almost felt like it was taking place in real time, and the presence of the news crew meant the group dynamic felt strained, whilst the major battle on the OPA ship Behemoth felt like it went on forever as we rotated through the four points-of-view of Holden, 'Bull', Anna and Clarissa. Clarissa Mao/Melba Koh was an irritating new character who had become obsessed with discrediting and killing James Holden in retaliation for his part in imprisoning her father. She conveniently ignores the fact that her father committed heinous crimes and killed thousands, behaviour which she herself engages in as well; she simply wants to be 'daddy's favourite' now that her sister Julie is gone, and therefore comes across as quite immature. The introduction of Pastor Anna, on the other hand, provided an interesting perspective on the durability and place of religion in a world that has expanded beyond earth and humans have learned that they are not alone in the universe. By heading through the ring to avoid being destroyed by the UN, Mars and OPA forces, Holden and the crew of Rocinante unintentionally initiate a new wave of interstellar exploration. Still my favourite space opera - bring on book 4!

My Review - Caliban's War

Full of political intrigue and manoeuvring, book two of The Expanse continues to follow the crew of the Rocinante ('Roci') as well as Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration of the United Nations Chrisjen Avasarala and Martian marine Bobbie Draper. Holden and the crew of the Roci head to Ganymede where they join forces with chief botanist, Praxideke Meng, in the search for his daughter who was kidnapped by the doctors behind an alien hybrid experiment. Chrisjen Avasarala engages in a political power play in an attempt to expose corrupt UN government officials who were involved in the protomolecule experiment, while Bobbie Draper ends up becoming her assistant after she earns the wrath of the Martian Congressional Republic (MCR) for her outburst at the UN/MCR hearing into the 'incident' on Ganymede. Bobbie Draper is one of the main reasons I love this book - she's fierce, gutsy and honest and I hope she appears again in the series. Recommended for teenagers and adults who enjoy science fiction and space operas - a lot of swearing, vague descriptions of sex scenes, and violence.

My Review - Leviathan Wakes

I watched the first two series of The Expanse on TV first and loved it - it's one of my favourite science fiction shows. This is the first science fiction eBook I've listened to and at first I wasn't sure how it was going to go, especially with all of the tech-talk. However, it was fantastic! The TV series was really close to the book so it was like watching the TV series all over again - I was able to picture it all happening while I was listening, which was a great recap as Season 3 starts screening soon. The story is divided between the perspectives of Holden, the Executive Officer of the ice hauler Canterbury who becomes Captain of the Rocinante after a series of mysterious ship attacks by an unknown 'cloaked' fleet, and Miller, a detective on Ceres station who is tasked with tracking down missing person Julie Mao. The fates of the characters become interlinked after they meet on Eros Station and unearth a terrible, deadly secret. A rollicking space adventure that I highly recommend for science fiction/space opera fans.

My Review - The Piper's Son

Saving Francesca is one of my favourite books, however, I never got around to reading the sequel, The Piper's Son, which follows the character Thomas several years later. Thomas's life has been spiralling out of control since his uncle died and he retreated from his group of friends out of a misguided sense of self-preservation. Close to hitting rock-bottom, he reconnects with "The Girls" (Francesca, Justine, Siobhan and Tara) whose friendship gives him the support he needs to confront his inner demons. Marchetta really knows how to evoke emotion with her characters and I spent a lot of time wiping away the tears in response to Tom's anguish and despair at being abandoned by his parents, and losing both his uncle and the girl he loved. Recommended for teenagers who enjoy contemporary/realistic Australian fiction.

My Review - Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

This is Marchetta's first foray into adult crime fiction and it was fantastic. A cross-channel investigation of a school bus bombing involving British and French authorities reveals that one of the teenagers on the bus was Violette LeBrac, the granddaughter of a notorious British suicide bomber. The blame game begins - was she the target or was she the bomber? The situation is further complicated when Violette goes on the run with another boy from the bus, Eddie, for reasons that Chief Inspector Ortley must uncover as he tries to track them down and keep them safe from volatile members of the British public. The gradual revelation of clues and truths relating to the current bombing, and the former bombing by Violette's grandfather, are totally intriguing and I couldn't put this book down. Recommended for older teens and adults who enjoy the crime genre.

My Review - The Dry

Set in a small, drought stricken outback town that is battling to survive, Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his childhood home for the funeral of his former best friend and his family who were the victims of a shooting incident. Whilst there, questions are raised about whether the investigation actually uncovered the truth, and the death of one of Aaron's childhood friends comes back to haunt him. Highly atmospheric - you can almost feel the heat sucking the life out of you and the animosity from the townsfolk towards Aaron. A fantastic Australian crime novel! I believe there are meant to be more Aaron Falk books planned so I will definitely be looking out for them. I would recommend it for older teens and adults who enjoy crime stories and Australian stories.

My Review - One of Us is Lying

My first thought when I saw the cover of this book was of the movie The Breakfast Club, which one of the characters acknowledges when they all arrive for detention (and which the author has admitted was inspiration for the book as she is interested by what happens when different types of people are brought together). It was an entertaining YA crime read with some decent character development throughout the individual chapters. Against the backdrop of the murder investigation, the novel explored each of the characters identities, and the secrets they each kept to preserve their public personas which, of course, become public knowledge via the gossip app the victim runs. I did think the police investigation was lacking in authenticity though, as they ignored some pretty obvious aspects that warranted looking into. Recommended for Year 8 and up as it touches on mental health and sexuality.

My Review - The Desert Spear

Book two in the Demon Cycle series begins with the story of Ahmann Jardir, whose betrayal of Arlen in The Painted Man had alienated me. Whilst his story adds depth his character and makes him more relatable, particularly learning of the harsh experiences he suffered during warrior training as a child, the treatment of women in his society was really unsettling. I did like the return to the stories of Leesha, Arlen and Rojer, who had returned to Cutters' Hollow and taught the villagers how to fight the demons with battle wards, an activity they wholeheartedly embraced with great success. Content is definitely suitable for mature readers.

My Review - The Hero of Ages

This final part of the Mistborn trilogy was just filled with revelation after amazing revelation, which Sanderson had clearly well-planned and worked towards from the start. The characters embraced their roles and responsibilities in the fight for survival, battled for power, questioned their decisions, learned of deception and betrayal, and made sacrifices for the greater good. I liked that Sanderson developed some of the supporting characters further, especially TenSoon, which added different perspectives and depth to the story. It was absolutely brilliant and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys reading epic fantasy series.

My Review - The Painted Man

This audiobook was a bit of a shock after listening to two Mistborn books, as the narrator spoke a lot faster, however, it was a brilliant start to the Demon Cycle series. The story follows the journeys of three central characters (Arlen, Leesha and Rojer) from childhood through to adulthood as they discover their purposes/vocations in the fight against the demons that rise from the ground and attack every night. In sections where the characters are engaged in a certain activity for some time (ie. apprenticeships) the author jumps forward several years in the storytelling to avoid getting bogged down in what is already a long tale, and this helps keep the story interesting. I found all three characters intriguing and can't wait to read the next book. Recommended for older teenagers and adults who enjoy epic fantasy series, as the content is quite graphic in places.

My Review - The Well of Ascension

Following the death of the Lord Ruler, the process of establishing new leadership is destabilised as Luthedel is besieged by the armies of Straff Venture and Cett. Whilst Elend deals with the politics of the situation, Vin begins to search for the Well of Ascension in an effort to release its power and heal the world. A new mistborn, Zane, also turns up in Luthedel and engages in a game of cat-and-mouse with Vin, toying with her emotions. The interactions between Zane and Vin really frustrated me because Vin kept listening to him despite his manipulations being obvious, however, the fact that their interactions generated that response in me goes to show how well Sanderson writes. Sanderson really knows how to build the intensity in his plots and I always find myself binge-listening to the last three or so hours of each book.

My Review - The Final Empire

Following a harsh life spent living on the streets and working for mercenary thieving crews, teenaged Vin is recruited by Kelsier to be a part of the crew of allomancers he has put together to overthrow the tyrannical Lord Ruler. With Kelsier's help, Vin discovers that she is also an allomancer, quite a powerful one, and that she may have finally found a group of people that she can trust. This was the first audiobook I have listened to and I initially found the experience frustrating because I can read faster than the narrator was talking and his tone made everyone, including the slaves, sound 'posh'. It seemed to take him a while to adapt to the story and once he did I became completely engrossed. Recommended for people who enjoy epic fantasy series.

My Review - Divided

In the sequel to Dualed, West Grayer's actions come back to haunt her when the Board makes her an offer she can't refuse in return for a series of assassinations. Whilst Divided provides a lot more context for the world the story is set in, and the story has a faster pace, I didn't enjoy it as much because I felt West's character didn't grow enough. Whilst she works on coming to terms with the conflict of the assassinations she had previously carried out, she continues to exhibit secretive behaviours with Chord that she knew were detrimental to her survival from Dualed. The story is open-ended enough to hint at a third novel in the series and I would recommend it to people who are interested in dystopian science fiction.

My Review - Into the Water

After enjoying The Girl on the Train so much, I definitely wanted to read Paula Hawkins' new book and once again she had me intrigued with her tale of a series of deaths of women and teenaged girls in the local river in a small English town. Like her first book, the author chose to tell her story from multiple perspectives, but I felt there were too many to keep track of this time, although they did all provide insight into the events that had taken place in the town and raised the theme of perspective. This also prevented you from strongly connecting with any particular character. Additionally, some of the chapters were really short, especially at the start, which was a little frustrating when you are trying to immerse yourself in the story. Recommended for people who enjoy the mystery/crime genre, especially domestic thrillers.

My Review - The Butterfly Garden

A disturbing, yet fascinating, story about a group of young women between the ages of 16 and 21 who are kidnapped for their beauty, held hostage, and eventually murdered. The story begins following the rescue of a group of girls from captivity and is told in a series of interviews between detectives and one of the survivors whom they suspect may have been more than just a victim, a technique which constantly leaves you wanting to know more. Recommended for older teens and adults (graphic content) who are interested in the crime/thriller genre.

My Review - Schizo

Schizo was an easy read that dealt realistically with the complex topic of Schizophrenia. I liked that the main character was fairly well accepted by his peers despite his mental illness. There are moments when they think he's behaving weirdly or is thought of as the 'boy who snapped' but he is not treated maliciously by them. It shows the difficulty sufferers experience when trying to manage their illness, examples of triggers, and how important medication and counselling are to the process. The relationships that Miles has with his family and friends, the people who stand by him, are also noteworthy. Recommended for people who enjoy reading realistic fiction with teenage characters and people who have enjoyed other books with a mental health theme such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Mature content warning for one scene.

My Review - Truth

I loved Peter Temple's The Broken Shore (a brilliant, Australian crime story with so many interwoven secrets) so when I heard there was a sequel that focused on one of the minor characters I had to read it. However, I found this book frustrating to read: there were a multitude of characters to try and keep track of, there was a large amount of cop slang/banter that was difficult to follow in places, and a lot of time was spent on the personal life and troubles of the main character, whom I didn't really care about, instead of solving the crimes. The last 100 pages did focus on solving the crimes and they were fast-paced and riveting - it was a pity the rest of the book wasn't the same. Truth does contain explicit violence and language which could be disturbing to some readers.

My Review - The Leaving

The Leaving started in an intriguing manner with the memory-wiped teens being dropped off in the middle of nowhere with maps to their houses. However, the switching point-of-view between three of the characters made the story slow and it was hard to connect with any of them. The ending also felt quite unsatisfying because, after expecting some big reveal, the author suddenly wraps everything up within a matter of a few pages.

My Review - The Red Queen

After waiting 29 years for a conclusion to the Obernewtyn Chronicles, this was the most disappointing end to a series that I've ever read. A ridiculous amount of time was wasted in the habitat (essentially an entirely separate story in itself), the book spends a ridiculous amount of time developing minor characters at the expense of central characters (particularly the two main villains), the amount of exposition was mind-numbing, and the book was clearly unedited. After a journey spanning seven books, Elspeth sleeps through the major event that the entire series has been leading towards, and her apparent 'reward' for undertaking the journey was ridiculous.

My Review - The Sending

The second last book in the series, this novel focused heavily on Elspeth's journey to fulfil the prophecy. The journeying also included a lot of conversations between Elspeth and her companions as she revealed all the details of the prophecy and her journey so far - this was a little frustrating as it's already known to the reader. I'm glad I didn't read this volume until the final book in the series had been released because it ends on a cliffhanger.

My Review - Carousel

I remember that when I was growing up I thought it would be pretty cool to be locked in a shopping centre overnight because of all the things you would have access to, so when I discovered that this novel was about fourpeople being trapped in Carousel Shopping Centre here in Perth I was intrigued. Nox, Taylor, Lizzie and Rocky are delivered to the open yet abandoned shopping centre, seemingly by the same taxi. When the employees fail to appear, they go to leave the centre only to discover they're locked in. So begins the fight for survival and escape, an experience which affects each character in a unique way and reveals their strengths and weaknesses. I found it frustrating that the genre wasn't identifiable and the story was left open-ended - throughout the story I was guessing that it was either a social experiment similar to The Truman Show or dystopian fiction and the world outside had been destroyed by some kind of apocalyptic event.

My Review - Go Set a Watchman

Purported to have been written by Harper Lee prior to To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman was poorly marketed. Rather than being advertised as a great summer read, the book should have been presented as a literary curiousity through which one could study the development of an author's writing ability. It is also possibly a revelation of the impact an editor can have on a final product. I believe there is enough similarity in the writing style to confirm it was written by Harper Lee but the writing feels quite juvenile. Additionally, very little happens in the first 100 pages or so, rather it is a collection of childhood anecdotes. It is no wonder that the editor asked Ms Lee to focus on telling the story of young Scout instead.

My Review - The Girl on the Train

The story was a little slow to start with as the main character, Rachel, was difficult to connect with due to her pathetic, alcoholic behaviour. However, following the suspected murder of a person Rachel regularly observes on her daily commute into London, I became intrigued by the multiple perspectives that were introduced to build a complete picture of both current and past events, and the characters who were shaped by them. Recommended for people who enjoy crime and mystery stories.

My Review - Red Rising

Set in a future Mars colony, class continues to determine people's place in society. Everyone's place is determined by their colour, from the Golds who rule to the Reds who mine deep beneath the surface, ignorant of the fact that Mars was colonised hundreds of years before and that they are being used as a slave labour force. After witnessing a family tragedy at the hands of a Gold, Darrow is smuggled out of the mines and endures great pain as he is physically transformed into a Gold in order to infiltrate the ranks of the ruling class and lead an uprising from within. Recommended for fans of science fiction, particularly those interested in space exploration and colonising new planets, and also for people who enjoyed movies such as Total Recall.

My Review - Time and Time Again

This was one of the best books I have read for some time and I would consider one of my top three reads. I chose this book because it sounded similar to Stephen King's 11-22-63, however the plot is much quicker as Hugh Stanton arrives two weeks before the event he must prevent. Elton also provides fantastic descriptions of early 20th century life and travel in Europe. While reading the book you will make one major assumption that will be completely blown out of the water and once you reach the last 50-odd pages you won't be able to put the book down until you've finished it. Recommended for people who enjoy science fiction (time travel), historical fiction, and war stories.

Rated 5 stars

My Review - Firefight

An enjoyable continuation of the battle with 'epic' evil. A little angst-ridden as the Reckoners of Babylon Restored cope with the death of one of their own but it has action-packed battle scenes when the forces of good and evil collide. A great choice for people who enjoy Marvel/DC graphic novels and who are looking for something similar in a novel format whilst remaining in the science fiction genre.

My Review - Holy Cow

Another book club book, this was the most bizarre book I've ever read. In serious need of editing, clearly the publishers are relying on Duchovny's celebrity status to sell this book. Inconsistencies abound (one minute the cow is watching movies and the next it doesn't understand what a television is) in this mixture of excessive pop culture references, asides to the reader, and constant 'gangsta'/'hip' language. Duchovny has no idea who the target audience is; the illustrations, length and slang indicate it's for children yet the profanities and descriptions of abattoir practices, high density farming and circumcision suggest an adult audience. I would not recommend this to anyone.

My Review - I Am Juliet

I was disappointed when I read this book. I was hoping that in retelling the story from Juliet's perspective the author would present a more rebellious, feisty character. However, Juliet is very timid and simply accepts her position in the patriarchal society, longing merely to follow in her mother's footsteps, become a mother and manage her own household. The characters of both Romeo and Juliet are quite bland and their relationship does not feel like "the greatest love story ever told".

My Review - Tabula Rasa

An enjoyable, slightly futuristic thriller that has a similar beginning to Slated by Teri Terry in which the main character is hospitalised and treated to make her forget who she is. The plot is action packed, beginning with a military invasion during a snow storm and continuing with a deadly hunt through a hospital which hosts small number of uniquely dangerous patients. Whilst there is a reasonably satisfying conclusion, the story is left open-ended enough for a potential sequel.

My Review - Day 21

This series is quite a unique experience for me as it's the first time I've liked the development of the television series instead of the books. The entire first book is covered in the first episode of the television series and then the plot of the series was developed independent of the books. The premise for this series was great, however, the author spends too much time on unnecessary teen angst and hormone-driven behaviour. The weakest, most hopeless character, Glass, has thankfully been left out of the television show. The scenario I liked most in this book was the discovery Clarke and Bellamy made about a particular event that happened before their arrival, and more focus should have been given to this.

My Review - Big Little Lies

This book was chosen by a friend for book club and it was a highly entertaining expose on parental relationships, and parent-child relationships, in an Australian private school setting. The plot revolves around the death of a parent at a school function and is told as a series of flashbacks, interviews and gossip, providing insights into the situation from multiple perspectives. Conflict, secrets and betrayals abound as the novel satirises working mothers who think they can easily juggle family and careers, and affluent mothers who lord their 'status' over others.

My Review - Reboot

A unique take on zombies whereby a virus kills and reanimates children and teenagers; the only way you can tell they are dead is that they have iridescent eyes. The longer a person is dead, the less human emotion they experience upon reanimation. As a result of their emotional state they become the perfect soldiers for a totalitarian government that is only concerned with retaining its power and control. The one thing that would have made the plot stronger is if Wren 178 had remained devoid of emotion, similar to the T-800 in Terminator 2 who could learn but could never feel. As a result of trying to humanise Wren 178, the description of the character's thoughts and actions becomes inconsistent. Recommended to people who enjoy dystopian, science fiction novels.