March 2020

General Fiction

The Deceptions by Suzanne Leal

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Suzanne Leal’s earlier book The Teacher’s Secret dealt with the search for dignity amid rumour, scandal and other forces generated by a specific individual. In The Deceptions Leal is back with a similar book on the theme of deceit, this time at both individual and collective levels. She has used her

Read More »
Crime/Mystery

Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke A very clever idea guides the momentum of Peter Swanson’s Rules for Perfect Murders. Create a series of unsolved murders that share an eerie resemblance to crimes that have appeared in well-regarded mystery novels. Toss in FBI agent Gwen Mulvey who shares a resemblance to Clarice M. Starling, a fictional character

Read More »
Crime/Mystery

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Reviews of David Baldacci’s novels are usually positive, almost exclusively American, and often focus on the story details that Baldacci produces in large numbers. Reviews that analyse the success or otherwise of this author’s books in terms of defined criteria are rare. When I reviewed One Minute to Midnight in November

Read More »
General Fiction

Call of the Raven by Wilbur Smith with Corban Addison

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The Call of the Raven tells the story of a wicked neighbour cheating a man, named Mungo St John, out of his property, and in so doing, taking away his birthright, thereby rendering him moneyless. Now without the money he was expecting, and finding in addition that his childhood sweetheart has

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Budgerigar by Sarah Harris and Don Baker

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Loved by the Queen, Winston Churchill and millions of others, and key to Richard Branson’s first money making venture, the little Australian native bird’s story is a tapestry of historical and social detail as well as a celebration of the value of the budgerigar as a pet. Highly entertaining, unexpectedly full

Read More »
Non-Fiction

The Ghost and the Bounty Hunter by Adam Courtenay

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Early colonial history is rich in stories that are as varied as they are fascinating. The people from the 18th/19th century, who arrived from Britain to begin their lives anew in this foreign land, provide countless stories of what it took to survive. Many left the poverty of Industrial England but

Read More »
General Fiction

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry

Reviewed by Rod McLary A sequel to the critically-acclaimed Days Without End, this novel continues the story of Winona – a Lakota survivor of the Indian wars in Tennessee in the 1860s and 1870s.  Winona was adopted by two soldiers – Thomas McNulty and John Cole – as their mode of reparation for the killings

Read More »
Crime/Mystery

Stop at Nothing by Michael Ledwidge

Reviewed by Gerard Healy This thriller by Michael Ledwidge is a great holiday read, perhaps best done at the beach. It’s fast-paced, full of action and has the obligatory nasty baddies and a one-man-army hero to boot. Character development is not its forte, but most readers of this genre are probably not concerned about this.

Read More »

Winners of the 2020 Indie Book Awards

The Awards recognise and celebrate the indie booksellers as the number one supporters of Australian authors. What makes our Indies uniquely placed to judge and recommend the best Aussie books of the past year to their customers and readers, is their incredible passion and knowledge, their contribution to the cultural diversity of the Australian reading

Read More »
General Fiction

The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The Salt Madonna is the debut novel by Catherine Noske, a writer and academic at the University of Western Australia. It is also a novel where the title is closely linked to the story between its covers both literally and figuratively. The story is set on an island and therefore it

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

Reviewed by Ian Lipke I’m not sure if I can review this book. I find myself soaking up the words on the pages, reading and re-reading and thinking – about the ideas, the emotions Julia Baird’s words evoke, about the woman herself. In ‘Lessons from a Cuttlefish’ the author writes about awe. That is what

Read More »
General Fiction

Where Fortune Lies by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It is important to realise that this story was written for an audience that requires an exciting story not too troubled by authenticity. It is not for the serious reader. Given the book’s limitations and accepting that the genre is romance literature, readers can be comfortable that what they’re about to

Read More »
General Fiction

The Nightwatchman by Louise Erdrich

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Towards the end of this book, rather symbolically, a fragile and joyous hope emerges. This takes the form of two of the characters drinking the sap of the birch tree. The first people of the U.S. believed that, in Spring, the rising sap from these trees in the woods, gave them

Read More »
Non-Fiction

Rust by Eliese Colette Goldbach

Reviewed by Rod McLary The title of this book, part memoir and part social commentary, references the colloquial name ‘Rust Belt’ which was given to the north-eastern states in America where a major decline in the steel industry occurred from the 1980s.  The Rust Belt was so-called because of the consequent economic and social decline

Read More »