I’ll Keep you Safe

How lovely to read a book set in the Outer Hebrides and find mention of places with which you are familiar. . . .Stornaway, The Digby Chicks, the library, the Lion Hotel and many of the place names on the island of Harris, it was like a revisit of our recent holiday there.

The book is I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May, renowned for the Lewis Trilogy among others.

I had this book on my reserve list at the library and finally it became available.  I read it in a couple of days.  Terrific book.  His descriptive writing brings the island of Harris to life.

From the book cover:

“Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.”

This Peter May book did not disappoint.  There is a particularly good review on Goodreads by Jeffrey Keeten

About my 2019 Reading Challenge

This year I have decided to reduce the number of books on my challenge and instead of 104 my challenge is 80.  For part of my challenge I would like to read as many books as I can from the previous winners of the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

In 1957, the first winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award was announced: Patrick White, for his novel Voss. Over the years, the prize has been awarded to novels describing life in suburbia, compulsive gamblers, Australians abroad – but always true to the terms of Miles Franklin’s will: ‘[the] prize shall be awarded for the Novel for the year which is of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian Life in any of its phases …’.

I have read a few of them already but I will now endeavour to read some of the remaining books on the list.  Those I have read are:

All that I am by Anna Funder

Truth by Peter Temple

The ballad of Desmond Kale by Roger Mcdonald

Dark Palace by Frank Moorhouse

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey

The Well by Elizabeth Jolley

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

Bring Larks and Heroes by Thomas Keneally

There are 47 books on the list so I still have a few I can choose from.  I think I will start with Voss by Patrick White as I have a copy here at home.

My last books of 2018


A few books to add to the Reading Challenge I set for 2018.  I aimed to read 104 books during the year but only managed 75.  It is still a few more books than the previous year.  I am not sure what my Reading Challenge will be for 2019.  I will need to get some inspiration from some other blogs.

I enjoyed all of these books except The Hypnotist’s Love Story and my favourite was Breaking Cover by Stella Rimington.

“A new cold war is coming, and Liz Carlyle is about to find herself on very thin ice. Still reeling from the loss of the man she loved in a botched antiterrorist operation in Paris, Carlyle has been posted to MI5’s counter-espionage desk, where her bosses hope the relative quiet might give her the chance to find her feet again.

However, they hadn’t counted on the aftershocks of Russia’s incursions into Crimea and President Putin’s determination to silence those who would oppose him, wherever they may be living in the world. As a result, Liz soon finds herself on the hunt for a Russian spy on British soil–a spy whose intentions are unknown, and whose presence is a threat not only to Russian dissidents living in England but also to the security of the nation itself. And with MI5 and MI6 coming under painful public scrutiny in the post-Edward Snowden world, for Liz and her team, security is something that is beginning to feel increasingly remote.”

Plenty of action and twists to the plot.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story was just not my cup of tea.  I read the first five chapters and then skipped to the last two chapters as the book seemed to be going nowhere fast.  I have enjoyed the other Moriarty books but not this one.

One of my reads for June

I have not read as many books this month.  I just don’t seem to have been in the mood for reading but one of the books I have read is here.  I had feelings of incredible anger while I read this book.

Offshore by Madeline Gleeson.

From the book jacket:

“What has happened on Manus and Nauru since Australia began its most recent offshore processing regime for asylum seekers in 2012?

This essential book is uncompromising in its overview of the first three years of offshore processing.  It explains why offshore processing was re-established, what life is like for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru, what asylum seekers, refugees and staff in the offshore detention centers have to say about what goes on there, and why the truth has been so hard to find.

Madeline Gleeson goes behind the rumour and allegations to reveal what is known and what remains unknown – about Australia’s off shore detention centres.”

This book is incredibly sad, it is about the Australian government’s  ill treatment of asylum seekers looking for a better life, away from war & violence.  I knew some of this, but not all of it and this book brings it all together based on thorough research.  This book is about our shameful treatment of fellow humans who seek basic shelter and a home where they are not living in fear.  We are breaking international law and receiving countless sanctions by the United Nations. 

The book will make you angry, sad and ashamed to be Australian. I recommend you read it.

My book titles for May.

A bit of variety this month.  I have managed a few as my other activities have been somewhat curtailed.  I am slowly building up my Reading Challenge total.

This House of Grief by Helen Garner :This book is about the death of children.  The death by drowning of three young boys at the hand of their father was truly tragic and created much speculation when the event occurred here in Australia. Helen Garner describes the court scene vividly and you can feel the anguish of all those present. A sobering read.

12th of Never by James Patterson : A really easy read but what my dad would have called “a penny dreadful”.

15th Affair by James Patterson :  Another really easy read, certainly not mentally challenging but enjoyable nonetheless.

Vanish by Tess Gerritsen : A thriller with 7 girls on a free “Mexican Tour”. They don’t know it’s going to a whorehouse to “Vanish”.
A nameless, beautiful woman appears to be just another corpse in the morgue. An apparent suicide, she lies on a gurney, awaiting dissection but the corpse opens its eyes.
Very much alive, the woman is rushed to the hospital, where she murders a security guard and seizes hostages . . . one of them a pregnant patient, Jane Rizzoli.
I really enjoyed the fast pace of this thriller.

Cross Country by James Patterson: “When the home of Alex Cross’s longtime friend Ellie Cox is turned into the worst murder scene Alex has ever seen, he is devastated. The destruction leads him to believe that he’s chasing a horrible new breed of killer. As Alex and his girlfriend Brianna Stone begin the hunt for the villain responsible for the killings, they quickly find themselves entangled in the deadly Nigerian underworld of Washington, D.C. What they discover is shocking: a strongly organized gang of teenage thugs headed by a powerful, diabolical man—The Tiger.” from the cover.

Empire State by Henry Porter : “In a world that inspires paranoia on a grand scale, where international agencies show no scruple in hunting down terrorists, Robert Harland must find the link between a sequence of apparently random worldwide events, including the assasination of the head of the US National Security Agency.”

I have read a few books by Henry Porter and thoroughly enjoyed each one.

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou : “This is a personal account told in the voice of a child. Through the observations of Maya, the child, comes a coming-of-age story – a social record of a young black female growing up in the 1930s. As an historical document ‘Caged Bird’ covers the bigotry, cruelty, oppression and the constant threat of death that constituted daily life in the South.”

A must read.

Jack Maggs by Peter Carey : “An enthralling old-fashioned story about a stranger with a mysterious past arriving in London in the 1800s. Jack Maggs, a foundling trained as a thief, betrayed and deported to a penal colony in Australia, has reversed his fortunes. Under threat of execution he returns to London after twenty years of exile to try to fulfill his well-concealed heart’s desire. Masquerading as a footman, Maggs places himself in the rather eccentric household of Percy Buckle, Esquire. But when the unlikely footman comes under the scrutiny of the brilliant and unscrupulous young novelist Tobias Oates, an enthusiastic dabbler in mesmerism, Maggs’s secrets are revealed and he is forced to take desperate, sometimes violent action. A powerful and unusual homage to Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, Jack Maggs displays all of Peter Carey’s broad historical and artistic knowledge, his masterful command of character, and his powerful moral vision.”  Absolutely loved this book.   

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz : “In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?”

A fast paced thriller but unbelievable in parts.

Almost Moon by Alice Sebold : “A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable.

For years Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined. Unfolding over the next twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, the meaning of devotion, and the line between love and hate.” book jacket

It is a challenging, moving, gripping story.  Confronting.

Whispers of Betrayal by Michael Dobbs : I have read a few of his books and have enjoyed each one. In this one “Colonel Peter Amadeus is an old soldier with a grievance. He wants an apology from the Prime Minister. But this Prime Minister does not believe in apologizing for anything.

For Amadeus it becomes a matter of honour – and retribution. Soon London is a city under siege, its lifelines cut. Then comes his ultimatum: the Prime Minister must resign – or London will be destroyed.

Only one man stands between the capital and disaster – Tom Goodfellowe, a backbench MP who can’t even sort out his own life, let alone save the lives of others. He is a man torn between ambition, honour and love – with the fate of London slipping swiftly through his fingers.”

A fast moving thriller.



Two recent reads

I have finished reading Rod Laver a memoir and Parky my autobiography.  One book borrowed from my sister and the other from my older brother.

Rod Laver was given to me after I finished reading the Andre Agassi biography.  My sister thought that I would like to read the life story of another tennis great, this one Australian.

Rod LaverI enjoyed the book and learned a great deal about Rod Laver.  We have a tennis arena in Melbourne called the Rod Laver Arena,

Rod Laver Arenait is in the tennis complex used for the Australian Open Tennis Competition. I haven’t been to the Australian Open but my sister and my grandson have both been lucky enough to attend.  I am not as keen on watching tennis as I used to be and my sport watching now is devoted to rugby union, cycling and cricket.  I occasionally watch other sports but those are the main three.

Rod Laver’s memoir was interesting and he had a bit to say about the conduct of some of our modern day tennis players.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  I think Roger Federer is the modern tennis player most like Laver.  Laver was playing tennis in an era where Australia had many great tennis players, alas that era is long gone.

Parky, my autobiography was the second non-fiction read.

img_5660I have enjoyed watching a few of his television shows over the years and was interested to find out a bit about his life.  I had no idea that he was a good cricketer as well as being a sports writer. There were certainly details about his early years and the death of his mother later in the book but the book is mainly a chronology of the shows he did and the people he interviewed.  I guess if that is what he has done for most of his life that is what the biography will entail.  It was a very easy read.