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Book Reviews


Winter Traffic by Stephen Greenall

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Big man, Detective Michael Rawson, known variously as The Big Ship, The Blue Movie and The Incremental to give you just a few of his nicknames is at the centre of this sprawling story. He has been a hero, he has big gambling debts, he worries about his daughter and ex-wife and although he is s... (continued)

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

When Count Alexander Rostov appears before the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs in post-revolutionary Moscow he is declared to be a non-person and condemned to live the rest of his life in the Metropol Hotel - "set foot outside the Metropol again and you will be shot".&n... (continued)

The Turners by Mick Elliott

Reviewed by 10 year old Zac Martin

My Book Review (on Turners) The book Turners was VERY good in my opinion. The description was amazing along with the details of everything that was happening.  Excitement was something else that hooked me into Turners. He turned into a KOMODO DRAGON!!!AT SCHOOL!!!!!!Just heaps of... (continued)

The Boy Behind the Curtain by Tim Winton

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books Mona Vale

Helen Garner's recent collection of writing is called Everywhere I Look, and in Garner's work it seems to me, it is what she chooses to notice, the things she looks at, that create a  particular view of the world, delivered to the reader through her transcendent writing.  I t... (continued)

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books Mona Vale

Annie Proulx' s novel tells the story of the European colonisation of North America through the exploitation of its vast forests, and the history of the Sel and Duquet family who arrive in Kebec in 1693.With the destruction of the forest comes the marginalisation of the indigenous people w... (continued)

All the Light We Cannot See

Reviewed by Jade Brown-Zwar

'All the light we cannot see'  is a beautiful and enchanting novel which presents a different perspective to the highly sensitive and horrific time of World War II. Following the live of a German boy and a blind French girl, Anthony Doerr not only siezes the power of language to p... (continued)

The Crossing by Andrew Miller

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Maud and Tim meet at the end of their university studies brought together by their shared interest in sailing. Maud is a scientist ready to embark on a career in  R&D. Her parents are both school teachers - she remembers her home always smelling of laminating. She is intelligent and p... (continued)

Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

The life story of renowned beauty (and prostitute) Dewi Ayu, takes us through the tumultuous history of modern Indonesia from  independence, through Japanese occupation and the rise of Indonesian strong men. Dewi Ayu's village, Halimunda, is subject to the upheaval affecting the w... (continued)

The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski

Reviewed by Jamie, Balgowlah

Think Roman Empire meets Victorian England, with a main character who is Elizabeth Bennet cross Katniss Everdeen.    When Kestrel, the privileged daughter of a General, impulsively purchases Arin, a slave, at the market she sets the whole city talking. After being surrounded ... (continued)

The Shepherd's Life- James Rebanks

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah

The English Lakes are famous for their beauty, but less famous for their farmers. James Rebanks, proud inheritor of a tradition that spans millennia, is a tenth-generation shepherd – that rarest of beasts, a working small hold farmer. This book is an account of his life on a land enshrin... (continued)

Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? - Katrine Marcal

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah

When Adam Smith theorised modern economics in the 18th Century, he based it on the individual. The workings of the market were driven by this individual pursuing their rational self-interest, as natural to humans as eating or breathing. In this hilarious, breezy, and sharp book, Katrine Mar&cc... (continued)

Landfalls- Naomi J.Williams

Reviewed by Lee, Balgowlah

One voyage, many voices.  Leaving France in 1785 with the grand purpose of scientific and geographic discovery, Laperouse commands La Boussole and Astrolabe, and the fate of 114 men. This novel captures that ill-fated expedition with meticulous research and terrific characterisation. ... (continued)

Forests Of Silence. Deltora Quest Book 1

Reviewed by Tobias Age 8

Please enjoy this wonderful review by our youngest reviewer, Tobias Age 8   "Deltora Quest was written by the great author Emily Rodda, The first book in the series is The Forest of Silence. In the quest for the first jem, the Topaz which has the power to calm, show spiri... (continued)

The Other Side of the World- Stephanie Bishop

Reviewed by Jamie, Balgowlah

  Charlotte belongs in her little cottage, which always leaks and is far too small and far too cold, in England. Her husband however has had enough, and begs her to move to Australia. Run down by two children, Charlotte throws her hands in the air and says “Fine, I’ll go&r... (continued)

One True Thing- Nicole Hayes

Reviewed by Jaimee, Balgowlah

A nice alternative to dystopian fantasy. Following in the tradition of Looking For Alibrandi, this is a “real life” fiction about Frankie. Frankie, whose mother is the current Victorian Premier, who is in the middle of election season, and is being trotted out as part of the &lsquo... (continued)

So You've Been Publicly Shamed- Jon Ronson

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah

When Jon Ronson discovers a fake account on Twitter bearing his name and picture, posting fatuous updates about imaginary food, he is, naturally, annoyed. Being an investigative journalist, he soon tracks down those responsible – a group of young academics running a dubious experiment &n... (continued)

Spark- Rachael Craw

Reviewed by Imogen, Balgowlah

This is a great book for teens. A girl named Evie is a normal teenager one day, and the next she is a Shield, a protector for her friend Kitty. Evie doesn't know who she is protecting Kitty from- all they know is that someone is out to get her. I really enjoyed this book- it's a gr... (continued)

The Paying Guests- Sarah Waters

Reviewed by Lee, Balgowlah

A beautifully written, entirely engaging novel set in 1920s London. This is a London recovering from WWI, its inhabitatnts negotiating subtle (and not so subtle) soicial and economic change. A widow and her daughter, whose circumstances are slowly shrinking, live in a large fraying house. Taki... (continued)

Lost and Found- Brooke Davis

Reviewed by Jaimee, Balgowlah

This is undeniably the best debut novel I have ever read. Lost and Found is a beautifully human tale about how a little girl, an old lady, and an old man, learn to grieve and to laugh, to cry and to smile, to fear and be thrilled. While a story about death and loss wouldn't always be c... (continued)

The Lies of Locke Lamora- Scott Lynch

Reviewed by Jeremy, Balgowlah

Stranded and starving orphans are not meant to survive for long in Camorr, a city of dark alleys, rancid canals and sprawling slums. Locke Lamora, blessed with a quick wit and a certain moral flexibility, is one of the lucky few. When he is taken under the wing of a priest of the Crooked Warde... (continued)