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Book Reviews


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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, by Holly Ringland

Reviewed by Lilia, Berkelouw Paddington

I love this book from its first page to its final sentence. Ringland submerges readers into the Australian landscape and Alice Hart’s story from the very beginning. You feel the red earth beneath your feet, the sea breeze across your face and the soft petals of wildflowers between your f... (continued)
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Nevermoor, by Jessica Townsend

Reviewed by Lilia, Berkelouw Paddington

This book is better than Harry Potter!  Now that I have you're attention, if you pick one book today, make sure it's this one! Morrigan Crow was born on Eventide, the unluckiest day of the year, and is doomed to die on her twelfth birthday. Blamed for the misfortunes befa... (continued)
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If Cats Disappeared from the World, by Genki Kawamura

Reviewed by Lilia, Berkelouw Paddington

Kawamura expertly captures the fragility of life and the significance of relationships with friends and family in this page turning read. As Kawamura's character questions what he truly values, you will be left asking yourself the same. It is a book that will leave you thinking long after ... (continued)
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Little, by Edward Carey

Reviewed by Lilia, Berkelouw Paddington

I turned the final page of this novel and immediately wanted to begin it again. Carey immerses readers in 18th Century France with clarity and detail. With its obscure characters, organic illustrations and historical significance, Carey has created a novel that does justice to the life and sto... (continued)
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Pages & Co. Tilly and the Bookwanderers, by Anna James

Reviewed by Lilia, Berkelouw Paddington

Imagine that you could walk into you favourite book, meet the characters and explore their world... What book would you choose to visit?   Living in with her grandparents who own a bookshop, Tilly Pages is stunned to find her favourite book characters wandering through the... (continued)
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To Obama: With Love, Joy, Hate and Despair, by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Reviewed by Lilia, Berkelouw Paddington

With an overflowing amount of letters sent to the White House, each night Obama asked for 10 which he would read before bed. Each one would tell an entirely different story of American life, some would write to tell their families story, others just to say hello. The letter from a young boy wa... (continued)
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The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

Reviewed by Sarah, Mona Vale

Stepping aside from crime, I picked up The Last Romantics and found myself immersed in the lives of the Skinner siblings Renee, Joe, Caroline and Fiona. Spanning five decades, The Last Romantics opens in the year 2079. Fiona Skinner, the narrator, is a famous poet, aged 102, and is in the mids... (continued)
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The Binding by Bridget Collins

Reviewed by Jo, Mona Vale

Bridget Collins’s first adult novel is so good when I finished it I went hunting for a signed hardback first edition because this is going to be a classic. In a Victorian-esque England, young Emmett Farmer is forced to become an apprentice bookbinder instead of taking over the family far... (continued)
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Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Reviewed by James, Mona Vale

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is a modern masterpiece. Very little I have ever read has stayed with me like this book has.  Spanning the course of decades and generations, this epic of modern Chinese history tracks the lives and loves of a musical family, who live for their art, as they ... (continued)
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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Reviewed by James, Mona Vale

There is simply no book like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. It has something for everyone; a fan of Jane Austen? This is the book for you. How about Raymond E Feist or Tolkien? This is the book for you. Set in a Britain prior to the Napoleonic Wars where practical magic has long since fade... (continued)
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The Expanse Series by James S.A. Corey

Reviewed by James, Mona Vale

The Expanse is a truly masterful SF series of epic proportions. Two hundred years from now, Earth and Mars are opposing military superpowers with their boots firmly on the throats of the solar system's 'Belter' population - the teeming blue collar inhabitants of asteroids and space... (continued)
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The Three Body Trilogy by Cixin Liu

Reviewed by James, Mona Vale

The Three Body trilogy is without a doubt one of the best and most imaginative series I have ever read. Liu's work encompasses the math and philosophy of our world, technology and space in a story of truly epic proportions that begins during China's cultural revolution and finishes at ... (continued)
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No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani

Reviewed by Bru

No Friend But the Mountains was written entirely on a mobile phone by Behrouz Boochani, an Kurdish journalist detained on Manus Island.  When the book won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the author, still incarcerated, was unable to collect his award. This lyrical, brave mem... (continued)
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My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Reviewed by Michela

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh charts the journey of a young nameless narrator who enters a drug-induced hibernation to escape the societal demands placed on her by being a white, wealthy, and  beautiful inhabitant of New York City in the early 2000s. Moshfegh’s ... (continued)
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You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

Reviewed by Bru

Kristen Roupenian shot to fame with her viral short story in the New Yorker Cat Person. Her new collection You Know You Want This follows in the famed story’s tradition, ruthlessly examining the dark underbelly of modern relationships and love. Perfect for fans of Sally Rooney and Elena ... (continued)
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The Arsonist

Reviewed by Rebecca Milne

  The Arsonist is a fascinating and incredibly compelling account of the Churchill Fire, one of 400 in Victoria on Black Saturday in 2009, and the subsequent investigation and arrest and trial of Brendan Sokaluk. The horrifying descriptions of the heat and ferocity of the fire... (continued)
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Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

Reviewed by Claudia Ashton

Through her compelling transcript of her observations as Judges associate, Bri Lee candidly reveals the ineffectual and bias treatment of women in our legal system. What she’s relaying is unbearable and unthinkable. And what is remarkable is that she has the courage and conviction to do ... (continued)
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Out of the Forest by Gregory P. Smith

Reviewed by Natalie, Cronulla

A fascinating, devastating and uplifting meditation on the impacts of childhood abuse, the restorative power of nature and how we connect with society. If you like 'Lost Connections', you'll love this. (continued)
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Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby

Reviewed by Shelly, Book Buyer

The most endearing thing about Goodwood was the way Holly lovingly captured the small town community spirit, and Cedar Valley is another beautifully crafted novel set in a small town (near Goodwood, there are a couple of easter eggs for the fans!). While the mystery in Goodwood was a very pers... (continued)
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Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

Reviewed by Natalie, Cronulla

A fiercely articulate, well-constructed, courageous reckoning of one woman's past meeting the limitations and inadequacies of the judicial court system. A brave personal journey coupled with a relentless professional pilgrimmage. A 2018 must read. (continued)