April 2014 book reviews

These book reviews are part of an annual series where I read a book a month and then report on what they were like. It’s all part of achieving my goal of reading one book a week in 2014. You can check out my list of goals for the year here.

April has been our busiest month this year, that’s for sure! We spent most of it working hard at our new business Red Platypus – but not after spending a beautiful 10 days in the Galapagos.

I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done in the Galapagos… mostly while lying on the sunbed on the roof of the luxury yacht we were cruising on. (Hard life, yes, I’m aware.)

As soon as we locked ourself up in our Airbnb apartment in Quito though, I’ve been collapsing into bed at the end of each day so knackered that I’ve hardly had time to read. So this is why this post is a little late. Still, I did manage to read four books in April (just).

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The particular sadness of lemon cake aimee bender Double-Barrelled Travel


A girl can tell what someone is feeling and thinking by eating the food that they’ve cooked. By doing this she discovers hidden secrets about her family that she’d rather not know – like, for example, that her mother is having an affair.

All her family members seem to have their own separate issues – many of which certainly aren’t ‘normal’. And as you read the book the more you learn about their strangest and the dark secrets they are keeping from one another.


A bit of a silly book really. Kind of like The Time Traveler’s Wife in that you have to get your head around the ‘fantasy’ elements of the book – the fact the characters have supernatural powers in this case – to truely enjoy it.

A light and easy read but certainly not the best book I’ve read this year, by a long shot.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty Double-Barrelled Travel


At first I thought this book was a chick-lit read (certainly not to my taste) but it’s actually a bit more in-depth than that. It shows you how the secrets you hold can destroy not only you but your loved ones too, and it goes into the lives of a number of characters who are all holding secrets of their own.

Set in Australia, it’s quite a realistic tale and I found I could relate to all of the characters at some point.


I thought the ending was a little bit twee. (I always struggle with the endings of most books, and yet I could probably never suggest a better one.) I did like the book though, it was quite a page turner and I had a couple of late nights reading because I wanted to find out what happened next – always the sign of a good book!

Rating: 4 / 5

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

We need new name Noviolet bulawayo Double-Barrelled Travel


A heart-breakingly sad book about Zimbabwe and how the country has fallen apart thanks to Mugabe’s rule. Although this sounds like a million books out there, the difference with this book is that it’s told through the eyes of a black child. All the other books I’ve read have been told from a white person’s point of view and there’s no doubting a black person’s view is vastly different in this context.


I found this book extremely sad. It was even more touching considering my parents are from Zimbabwe so this country has a prominent place among my heritage. Bulawayo did a brilliant job with the characters in the book and they are extremely believable, which only adds to the heartache – because I’m sure people have gone through what her characters have in real life.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

How to Write a Non Fiction e-Book in 21 Days that Readers Love by Steve Scott

How to write a non fiction e book in 21 days Steve Scott Double-Barrelled Travel


This short non fiction e-book is a super helpful guide if you’re thinking of writing an e-book for the first time. It shows you that it doesn’t have to be a difficult process to get your work published and if you follow Scott’s steps by the letter I’m sure you wouldn’t have a hard time publishing a great e-book.


I read this because Dave and I are actually thinking of publishing an e-book soon. This e-book was a great guide to start with because it really pointed out the steps we need to take to get a good published work out there. We’ve come up with a rough draft and outline and we are aiming for it to be super useful for our readers. We’re hoping to get it published in the next three months, so stay tuned!

Rating: 4 / 5

What should I read in May? Suggestions welcome!

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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