October 2019

Act of Grace by Anna Krien

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Act of Grace is a brilliant novel, where the characters’ stories intertwine with breath-taking ease, but without relying heavily on coincidence. In one case, Toohey goes into a little café where Nasim is working. She is the mother of the baby he unintentionally shot dead in Iraq. Considering the numerous cafés

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Escape from Rome by Walter Scheidel

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Walter Scheidel’s Escape from Rome is one of those books that should be measured by the kilogram rather than the number of pages were it not for the academic brilliance of his arguments, his central thesis and the support he provides to affirm his bizarre thesis. Bizarre was the view I

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The Best Kind of Beautiful by Frances Whiting

Reviewed by Ian Lipke For an opener to the day I was served a treat, care of an early courier and author Frances Whiting. The Best Kind of Beautiful is the story of a young woman who prefers ‘loner’ status and a man who has a very busy social life. The attraction between them lies

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The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Reviewed by Angela Marie “I believe that a person can become possessed by someone else – at least in part. That one life can slip inside another, giving it shape. . It was how I could anticipate what she would do before she did it, because I believed I understood how she thought, and the

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The Last Paradise by Di Morrissey

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke It has been said that Di Morrissey is one of the most successful Australian authors. She now has over 25 best-selling novels and five children’s books to her credit.  Each spring, she produces a novel which hits the stores in time for Christmas. Over the past ten years her books have

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William Blake by Martin Myrone and Amy Concannon [Eds]

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The tome that arrived on my desk was very attractively presented in hard cover and, in combination with its muted tones, breathed academia. It was meant to tell all who came in contact that it was not a frivolous document and would be treated on its own terms. Affixed to the

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The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

Reviewed by Ian Lipke I’m pretty sure that Michael Connelly has never written a book that has failed the stringent standards he sets. If he has, it has never passed through the publisher’s gate. I remember The Poet and Trunk Music from many years ago. I suspect the good writers are those who have found

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The Gruffalo's Child 15th Anniversary Edition by Julie Donaldson

Reviewed by Angela Marie What do Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Shirley Henderson, John Hurt, James Corden, Tom Wilkinson and Rob Brydon have in common? Yes, they are all actors and this prominent cast voice the characters of the wonderful The Gruffalo’s Child film which first aired Christmas Day, 2011. This is the star-pulling power of

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How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Terry Eagleton published How to Read Literature in 2013 in the United States and 2014 in Australia…and I missed it. It was only in recent weeks that I managed to lay hands on a copy. It was worth the wait. Eagleton examines literature with the mind-set of a lawyer. He pays

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Many Rivers to Cross by Peter Robinson

Reviewed by Gerard Healy In this, the 26th installment of the DCI Banks series, author Peter Robinson displays his usual deft touch with the police procedural. The novel has two stories, seemingly unrelated, running side by side. In the main one, Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are trying to solve a murder in

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Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Reviewed by Angela Marie “Sucking hard on the filter, I hold the smoke inside my chest, picturing the toxic chemicals and black tar clogging my lungs, causing cancer or emphysema or rotting my teeth. A slow death, I know, but that’s life, isn’t it – a long, drawn-out suicide.” Welcome to Langford Hall, a children’s

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Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Reviewed by Rod McLary It is difficult to categorise this latest book by Stephen Chbosky written some twenty years after his first – The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  On one level, it is a straightforward horror story primarily involving a group of eight-year-old children but, on another, it seems to be a battle between

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Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Unfollow chronicles Megan Phelps-Roper’s difficult struggle to leave the extremist Westboro Baptist Church, Kansas, in order to live in the world beyond. In the process, she provides a starkly honest, uncompromising examination of life in the confines of the small community. From the age of five, she joined the family of

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Almost Human: A Biography of Julius the Chimpanzee by Alfred Fidjestøl

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend I have just swung, Tarzan style, through the gamut of emotions from delight to sadness and anger.  Alfred Fidjestøl’s biography of Julius and his struggle to live a happy life reaffirms the importance of a safe and stimulating environment and a stable social system that provides calm justice.  Julius was lucky

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