Reviews

Children

Little Ash by Ash Barty and Jasmin McGaughey

Reviewed by Gail McDonald Ash Barty, after her successful tennis career, joined forces with Jasmin McGaughey in writing a series of books for young readers which were each illustrated by Jade Goodwin. The books focus on Ash’s love of sports trying karate, softball, netball and gymnastics, but none of them gives her that tingly feeling

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Children

Dancing with Memories by Sally Yule

Reviewed by Gail McDonald Dancing with Memories was written by Sally Yule with this being her inaugural book. Sally is Managing Director of Humble Access an organisation focussed on Executive Coaching, governance and consultancy in Health and Aged Care. The book was written in consultation with Professor Ralph Martins and Maggie Beer with a portion

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General Fiction

Maror by Lavie Tidhar

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve From its arresting title Maror – bitter herbs – to its final pages, this is an unforgettably powerful saga of life in Israel in the last four decades of the twentieth century. It is a sweeping portrayal of violence, corruption and chaos threaded through by veins of humanity. Lavie Tidhar has

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Children

Neon’s Secret Universe by Sibéal Pounder

Reviewed by Gail McDonald Sibéal Pounder is the author of two previous much-loved and seriously stylish children’s fiction series, Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she worked for the Financial Times. Sibéal is also a talented illustrator and lives in England. Neon’s Secret Universe takes the reader on a journey

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General Fiction

Electric and Mad and Brave by Tom Pitts

Reviewed by Rod McLary The debut novel by Tom Pitts has its origin in two songs he wrote [Tom is a musician as well as a writer] which is reflected in the lyricism which imbues the novel.  Narrated in the first person by twenty-eight-year-old Matt Lacey while recovering in a mental health facility from a

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philosophy

The Great Experiment by Yascha Mounk

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Democracies have been around for a long time. Community members gathering to express their views and make decisions that affect their life and future goes back in one form or another to ancient times. While we often think that ancient Athens was the first to order its life in this way,

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Thriller

Gone to Ground by Bronwyn Hall

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This is an adventure story told in the traditional way with each event nicely dealt with in isolation from the next – a cracking good yarn from which the tension never eases until the last page. Gone to Ground’s totally apt, dual-level title works immediately. A clever choice of words suggesting

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General Fiction

The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke For a novel of this type, the beginning of the book has to be chapters which for a while seem totally unconnected. At first what begins to connect the characters and their stories, is the location, a small country town in New South Wales not far from Tamworth. But even so,

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Biology

Little Species, Big Mystery by Debbie Argue

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Little Species, Big Mystery is the story of Homo Floresiensis – in other words, the hominid. 2004 was a special year for mankind for until then we remained in ignorance of the knowledge that our little cousin, the hominid, lived, until 52500 years ago, in our backyard. Specifically, he flourished on

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Non-Fiction

The Witness by Tom Gilling

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This is the nonfictional account of the precarious lives led by Australian prisoners of war at the infamous Sandakan POW camp in Borneo in WW2. It purports to tell the story through the eyes of Warrant Officer Bill Sticpewich’s, whom some see as a hero, others as a collaborator. The story

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Environment

A Guide to the Creatures in Your Neighbourhood

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke This 273-page book, The Urban Field Naturalist Project, was produced through the collaboration of experts in the life and environmental sciences, design and digital technology who wish to help people notice and appreciate the wildlife in their urban environment. At the heart of the book is an effort to describe and

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Art/Architecture

Masked Histories by Leah Lui-Chivizhe

Reviewed by Ian Lipke People find any number of ways to release meaning from within artifacts that are held to conceal secrets. Not least among these have been the turtle shell masks that were at one time found in their hundreds on the beaches of the islands of the Torres Strait. For many years traders

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Children

Backyard Buddies by Andy Geppert

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve This book of backyard buddies, delightfully depicted in just twenty pages, could soon be regarded as an historic document, as grandparents are known to bemoan the changes that have occurred in their lifetimes when their yards were once visited by a great variety of creatures, including grasshoppers, beetles, butterflies and lizards.

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Crime/Mystery

The Wrong Woman by J. P. Pomare

Reviewed by Rod McLary J P Pomare has had – and continues to have – an interesting writing career.  His first novel – Call Me Evie – was published in 2018 and was awarded the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel.  Three more books followed and now The Wrong Woman has now been published. 

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Crime/Mystery

The Accomplice by Steve Cavanagh

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Steve Cavanagh’s The Accomplice is a smorgasbord of crime fiction in which leading characters are killed primarily for effect and in which the reader can be taught the intricacies of conducting a criminal trial. There is little laying out of preliminary events. The author introduces his story with an American female

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