April 2018

King of Ashes: the Firemaine Saga Volume 1 by Raymond E. Feist

Reviewed by Ian Lipke One has to resist the temptation to gush with superlatives when laying down this latest Feist feast. King of Ashes is the sort of book that Caligula and Nero would have welcomed as an affirmation of their world. In this world the bizarre is normal, and murder, deception, theft, kidnapping and

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Anzac Biscuits by Allison Reynolds

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Who would have thought that this humble sweet biscuit would mean so much to so many. These words at the beginning of the preface were exactly what I thought when first reading this book. Allison Reynolds, a culinary historian and gastronomer in residence in several South Australian establishments has provided the

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On Borrowed Time by Robert Manne

Reviewed by Dr Kathleen Huxley The poignant title of this new collection of essays by Robert Manne, Australia’s acclaimed intellectual, emeritus professor of politics and well-known journalist, refers to the very touching and personal first chapter of the book. Diagnosed in 2016 with throat cancer that necessitated extensive surgery and a laryngectomy, Manne conveys a

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The Passage of Love by Alex Miller

Reviewed by Rod McLary Alex Miller is one of Australia’s finest writers – although like Patrick White before him, Alex Miller was born in England.  He came to Australia as a teenager and worked on a property in North Queensland.  His experiences there inform much of his writing as it is from working on the

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Draw Yourself Happy by Alex Beeching

Reviewed by Angela Marie What does United Nations Resolution 66/281 have in common with artist and author,  Alex Beeching? Both are on a mission to create and foster something amazing. A state of happiness. Curiously, I first thumbed through Draw Yourself Happy on March 20. Unbeknownst to me at the time, but discovered later on during that day,

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Over is Out by Lachlan and Sarah Creagh

Reviewed by Angela Marie What do you get when you cross a speech pathologist with a freelance illustrator? You get Over is Out. Australian authors, Sarah and Lachlan Creagh, have delivered an appealing and beautifully-illustrated picture story book in their first literary collaboration. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Together the authors have harnessed the

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The Presidency of Barack Obama by Julian E. Zelizer (ed.)

Reviewed by Ian Lipke If anyone reads this book hoping to find a page-turner then they will quickly discover that this is not it. Edited by Julian E. Zelizer with articles supplied by people with deep knowledge of American politics, the book could have been a great book. The former President’s policies are ‘diced and

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The Pastor and the Painter by Cindy Wockner

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Many Australian readers will be well aware of the Bali Nine would- be drug smugglers and the controversy surrounding the execution, after ten years in Kerobokan Prison, of the masterminds Australian Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Cindy Wockner’s book, The Pastor and the Painter, is not about the smuggling of drugs,

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The Lebs by Michael Mohammed Ahmad

Reviewed by Rod McLary In 2000, Australia was outraged by a number of rapes in Sydney perpetrated by young members of the Lebanese community.  The perpetrators were later convicted and sentenced to lengthy terms in prison.  There were consequent changes to the sentencing laws in New South Wales. On 11 September 2001, two planes were

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Dogs with Jobs by Laura Greaves

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Hairy humans, best known as dogs, are such pleasant people.   In her new book, Dogs with Jobs, Laura introduces the reader to some outstandingly clever dogs so typical of their species.   Without indulging in a finger-wagging lecture, Laura gently suggests that dogs are a gift that humans may not deserve.   It

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A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

Reviewed by Ian Lipke A.B. Facey’s book A Fortunate Life is a classic piece of Australian literature. It was first published by Fremantle Press in 1981 and promoted under the Penguin name for thirty years. It has now returned to its native roots, Western Australia, to be cared for by Fremantle Press once more. A.B.

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Plants that Kill by Elizabeth A. Dauncey and Sonny Larsson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Elizabeth Dauncey and Sonny Larsson have provided the world with a book that is detailed and comprehensive in the information it supplies while, at the same time, is a model of simplicity in its outlay and in allowing the reader to find quickly the particular piece of information being sought. It

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Hangman by Daniel Cole

Reviewed by Rod McLary There is a fine tradition of crime novels written by English and Scottish authors – consider the novels of Ruth Rendell, PD James, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Colin Dexter just to name a few.  Each of these authors created a police officer as his/her protagonist – respectively Chief Inspector Wexford,

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Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Charlie Donlea is beginning to get a name for first class crime fiction. His book The Girl Who Was Taken was a tightly written and enjoyable work; however, it is overshadowed by his latest book Don’t Believe It. This will be a short review. When there is a book as good

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