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Book Reviews


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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Civilizations: How Do We Look & Eye of Faith by Mary Beard

Reviewed by Natalie, Cronulla

Accompanying the BBC television series this book is both an accessible and completely fascinating account of early faith in history. (continued)

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Reviewed by Natalie, Cronulla

5 stars! I just loved everything about this book - it made me laugh, cry and sometimes both. This is a beautiful coming of age story that had me from the start. Defintely keep in place for it by Tim Winton and Jasper Jones. (continued)

The Wonderling

Reviewed by Harley Crebert (aged 9)

Arthur, the one eared fox ("Wonderling") and Trinket (a small wingless bird) are the unlikely heroes who embark on heroic adventures and daring escapades through the fantastical world of Lumentown, Gloomintown and The Home (for wayward and misbegotten creatures). On a quest ... (continued)

Dork Diaries: Frenemies Forever

Reviewed by Olivia

A young customer of ours has kindly reviewed one of our new young fictions! (continued)

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Reviewed by Jo Riccioni, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Fantasy lovers, meet Mia Corvere, 17-year-old dispossessed noble of Godsgrave, on the run from her father’s killers and out for revenge. Mia is tough and smart, determined to become a student at the esoteric Red Church. But the Red Church is no ordinary school. There the most deadly assa... (continued)